Women 35+: Confused About Low Carb Dieting? Here's What You Need to Know!
If you're over 35 like myself, you've likely experienced carbohydrate confusion! It seems everyone has an opinion about the amount of carbs it takes to achieve health, fitness & performance goals with a few poorly informed individuals STILL recommending low carb diets.
Even as an award-winning Physiologist with a masters in health, I can be overwhelmed with the good, bad & ugly of the carb recommendations world! But, it's really not that complicated.
In the video above I break down what you need to know about carbs, specific to female physiology age 35 & beyond.
- While we need carbs to support hormonal health, energy & achieving our fitness & running goals, the timing of WHEN we eat them, HOW MUCH & WHAT TYPES matters now more than ever!
- It's important to eat carbs prior to morning exercise, even if you're a 5AM runner. Learn more about why we shouldn't train fasted here + what to do instead.
- It's important to have carbs with breakfast & lunch to fuel your body's ability to make hormones & energy throughout your day. A 3PM energy crash is nearly always due to what you eat prior to it, so this simple strategy changes the game for nearly every woman I coach!
- Type of carbs matter, as it's harder for a woman's body age 35+ to process refined carbs like pasta, breads & grains. Yes, it's time to say goodbye to pre-race pasta dinners to maximize our running! You'll likely notice more energy crashes after eating these foods & increased bloating.
- To maximize health & fitness choose nutrient dense, complex & low glycemic carbs to fuel your daily nutrition needs. This means outside of when you’re training hard or running long, select veggies, fruits & nutrient dense starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, quinoa, rice, oatmeal, beans & pasta made from lentils, chickpeas or beans.
- While a low carb diet is not recommended when you’re active & want vibrant energy, hormones, health & performance, your body has an overall decreased need for carbs compared to pre-age 35. The type (or quality) of carbs & the timing when you eat them is what needs to change. In general, the recommendation is usually to aim to eat ~40% of your diet from carbs, but this can also depend on your specific health history, activity level, etc.
- If you’re coming off of a low carb diet, your body may have a small period of time where it needs to adjust to eating them again. It may need to re-learn how to digest carbs & temporarily gain weight. This is NOT fat, but rather your body storing more water than usual because carbs help our body store water. Example: For every g of carb you eat, your body can store 3-4 g water. This is a good thing to support health, energy & performance. While initial bloating may result, your body will adjust & start feeling much better over time. Patience goes far to get your body back to feeling & performing its best!
- Eating a variety of carbs via veggies, at least 5 different types & colors of veggies each day, is ideal to support your health, prevent disease, increase energy & so much more! If not, consider a high-quality multivitamin or greens powder to meet your daily micronutrient needs.
The women I coach in my Badass Breakthrough Academy program also learn 2 other keys to optimizing health & fitness age 35 & beyond: 1. Aiming to eat from our Breaking Through Wellness anti-inflammatory & hormone-friendly food list most of the time & 2. Simple blood sugar hacks to prevent insulin resistance. For example, move at least 2 minutes after every meal or snack so your body better processes the food you ate. This simple strategy prevents belly fat, energy spikes & crashes, bloating & more!
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