About 75% of women who apply to work with me because they feel burnt out, have lost their periods, and have slowed down metabolisms, have been on a low carb diet.
In today's video, I'm sharing with you why eating adequate amount of carbs is necessary for optimal hormonal health and for your fertility.
Some women have been on a low carb diet for about 3 months and then started getting serious issues with their health: Loss of period (or Hypothalamic Amenorrhea), hair loss, extreme fatigue, feeling cold, being really irritable…
Others have been on a low carb diet for 1-2 years!
A lot of times, these low carb diet plans have been put together by men. But men and women are different. I am not saying that a low carb diet doesn't work for any women, but I have seen that it has negatively affected so many women's fertility and caused them multiple metabolic issues, so there's a reason to say that these low carb diet plans that may work well for men, don't work that well for most women.
Being on this low carb diet may have caused multiple other issues besides losing your period. You can get the full idea of what's going on, and how you can recover from these issues, here: https://kerstenkimura.lpages.co/burnout-recovery-spectrum-later/
Why Are Carbs So Important for Your Fertility?
Just the other day, I was on a call with another woman who told me that she had been on a low carb diet for about 3 months before the negative effects started showing up. She had later learned that not eating enough carbs (she had been eating about 20-30 grams of carbs a day which is very low for most women, especially active women) can cause Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and other metabolic issues, but she didn't know why tis is the case.
Why is it that low carb causes all that? was her question.
Carbs are our first source of energy
Carbs are the most essential macronutrient that our body is designed to turn to for fuel. We want to have carbs available when our bodies need energy. Especially if we are active and work out, we want to have enough carbs in our system to fuel our workouts, and we want to replenish our storages after we've finished our workout.
Don't buy into the “stop eating carbs and become a fat burning machine” talk. There's a good chance that your recovery and energy levels in general suffer if you restrict carbs heavily.
Carbs help to boost our immune system
This is especially important when it comes to post workout nutrition. Eating carbs helps to maintain blood sugar levels, and replenish the glycogen storages after a workout. I that doesn't happen, lack of carbs leads to lack of energy, which takes a toll on our immunity as well.
Carbs prevent cortisol spikes
Cortisol, as you know, is a stress hormone that is released by our adrenal glands in response to stress. When we're under eating, and that includes under eating carbs, this causes stress as well. And this has a lot to do with our fertility. Our sex hormones, that are needed for a healthy libido and periods, and our stress hormone cortisol, are all made of the same mother hormone pregnenolone. When the body has to make a choice which hormones to make, and we're stressed out, then it makes cortisol and does not have any resources to make sex hormones.
Besides, it also sees that when we're stressed out, we should not get pregnant — basically, we're not able to take care of ourselves, let alone another human — it doesn't want us to ovulate. No egg, no babies!
Carbs keep our thyroid healthy
This is a BIG reason why we should eat carbs!
When we're under eating carbs, we're not getting the energy we need. Our thyroid slows down and stops making enough thyroid hormones. Under active thyroid is one huge reason why many women end up with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea!
We need to eat carbs to keep our thyroid healthy because if we don't, we end up with no period, hair loss, feeling cold, not sweating anymore, insomnia…
Carbs help us poop better
Sometimes I see women's food logs and notice that they are eating only fats and proteins. Butter, oil, ghee, egg yolks, chicken, beef, pork…. And no vegetables, because they're afraid of carbs.
And they are terribly constipated or gassy… There's a good chance that this is because they are not getting any fiber with their diet.
Fruits, vegetables, oats, brown rice and other healthy carbohydrates give us the fiber we need to keep our gut healthy and poop regular. Remember, it's important to have bowel movement at least once a day!
Carbs help to avoid estrogen dominance
Estrogen dominance is a condition in which there is abnormally more estrogen than progesterone in the body. That can lead to several issues, such as breast soreness, fibroids, cysts, irritability, insomnia, low sex drive…
You don't want that.
One way to avoid developing estrogen dominance is to make sure to clear the excess estrogen from the body. Cooked cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and broccoli can be very helpful.
How Many Carbs Do You Need?
I'm excited to share that I am in a training right now to become a certified macro coach. I find that it's very important to work with someone who can figure out the right macronutrients for you. No, you are not supposed to track your macros forever, and you're not supposed to get stressed out about them, but tracking your macros for some time may be really eye opening and healthy.
If you've been eating 20-30 grams of carbs per day and have lost your period, this is very low number is probably one, if not the main reason why this happened. You have to start eating better and I am happy to help you out with this. As you know, I have had Hypothalamic Amenorrhea myself too in the past, and I know how important nutrition is to help and fix it.
I think that most women should eat at least 100 grams of carbs per day (and even this is on the low side!), and to be really healthy, especially if you have Hypothalamic Amenorrhea or other metabolic issues, this number has to be much higher! Work with me if you need individualized help: https://urbanjane.co/work-with-me/