Enjoying a couple extra slices of pizza or another helping of pasta might satisfy our taste buds, but we may also experience some less fun side effects later on. We aren’t just talking about the discomfort of an overly full tummy (and possible weight gain). According to new research, eating too many carbs on a regular basis can make us more likely to experience insomnia and chronic fatigue.
A recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high intakes of added sugars, starches, and refined grains were linked to a greater risk of sleep deprivation in postmenopausal women. The researchers believe that this is due to carb-rich foods causing blood sugar imbalances and triggering stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to keep us up at night.
Similar research published in Advances in Nutrition highlighted how a shift in blood sugar levels from a high-carb diet can make it harder to get an uninterrupted night of rest. Because insomnia is so common (affecting about one in four US women), a simple diet tweak like eating less carbs each day is one step to lowering the risk. However, it isn’t limited to only cutting back on refined carbs, such as white bread or rice, but also healthier options.
“If someone has too many carbohydrates in one sitting — even if it’s healthy carbs, like brown rice, beans, sweet potato, whole grain pasta, or quinoa — for some, too many can raise blood sugar, and high blood sugar makes us feel tired and lethargic,” Elizabeth DeRobertis, RD, explained to CNN.
Basically, we should remember to spread out the amount of carbs we eat with each meal instead of enjoying them all at once. Not going over the recommended amount of 300 grams of carbs a day for a 2,000 calorie diet is important, too. Every person is different, though, especially if you’re on a low-carb diet to lose weight or improve your overall health, so it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before making any changes.
Hopefully, a simple adjustment to your daily carb intake can help you get a good night’s sleep and avoid constant sluggishness during the day!