This Is What Happens To Your Body When You’re Not Getting Enough Carbs

cutting out carbs


Everyone seems to be in the business of cutting carbohydrates these days. Whether they’ve read up on how low-fat diets aren’t actually the enemy, decided to give the keto fad a try or just want to tone up a little for summer beach season, all signs point toward leaving the grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza pies and creamy ice cream behind. However, unless you’re intentionally aiming for full-blown ketosis, there is such a thing as eating too few carbs, and your body won’t hesitate to tell you when you’ve hit this point. Here’s what happens when you aren’t getting enough carbohydrates in your daily diet.

Your energy levels suck.

Carbohydrates are the easiest nutrient from which you derive energy. They break down quickly into glucose, which your muscles use for fuel. So when you’re constantly leaving the tank at empty, expecting proteins and fats to pick up the slack, your energy levels plummet. Your workout endurance suffers, your muscles feel weaker and you lose your ability to focus on even the most basic tasks at work. You might even feel dizzy at times.

If you’re just getting started on the keto diet, this is a major symptom of the keto flu, AKA your body attempting to adjust to using ketones as its primary energy source rather than glucose. If you don’t know what keto is, you are restricting your carbs way too much and need to add some back in. Think healthy, complex options like oats and sweet potatoes.

cutting out carbs


You’re probably pretty constipated.

Apologies in advance for getting a little graphic here, but your digestive system can’t do its duties unless you provide enough roughage in your diet to keep things moving along at the desired pace. And the best sources of roughage are carbs, from whole grains to vegetables. (That’s right — veggies are carbs.) Too much fat and protein can leave you, ahem, backed up. So if this is causing some serious discomfort, get some of that dietary fiber action going again, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you bounce back to your normal self.

You could suffer from a nutrient deficiency or two.

As we just mentioned, veggies are carbohydrate-based, as are the healthy whole grain options like quinoa and farro. So if you’re skipping over these categories entirely to save face in the carb department, you’re missing out on a lot of key vitamins and minerals that you can’t always get from the protein and fat sources in your diet. So if you’ve been at the seriously low-carb thing for a while now and things feel off, see your doctor and get a blood test or two to check for nutrient deficiencies.