Do Carbs Cause Inflammation?

Not all carbs are created equally. "Unrefined" carbs can be found in whole grains and vegetables – like spinach and tomatoes – and contain all their original nutrients. 

If you enjoy a modern Western diet, you probably eat a lot of refined carbs. And there’s also a good chance you feel pretty lousy a lot of the time- fatigue, nausea, and headache. You might ask yourself: do carbs cause inflammation?

There’s a connection here. Fatigue, nausea, and headache could all be a result of inflammation. And inflammation, in turn, can come from the refined carbs in the modern diet.

So do all carbs cause inflammation? Well, it’s not so simple. Refined carbs, like white bread and french fries, can cause inflammation. With traditional, unrefined carbs like whole wheat and seeds, there is a smaller chance of inflammation.

Either way, reducing the amount of carbs you eat could reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. On the other hand, plenty of other foods, especially fats, can also cause inflammation.

What are refined carbs, and how do they cause inflammation?

Refined carbs are what you get when you remove all the nutrients, bran, and fiber from regular carbs. They digest quickly, and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. For this reason, they are discouraged for people with diabetes.

Examples of refined carbs include:

  • White bread
  • Bagels
  • Croissants
  • Pastries
  • Cookies
  • Sugar
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • Candy and chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • French fries and potato chips

Rapid blood sugar spikes cause inflammation. That’s how refined carbs cause inflammation in your body. This, in turn, can disrupt your hormone levels and cause you to overeat.

What are unrefined carbs, and why are they better?

Unrefined carbs are just ordinary, natural carbs. They are minimally processed and contain all of their original nutrients. They also do not cause large blood sugar spikes when eaten, meaning they are safer to eat if you have diabetes.

Examples of unrefined carbs include:

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Seeds
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes

Unrefined carbs are also higher in fiber, allowing them to pass through your intestines easier.

Avoiding carbs altogether can help to reduce inflammation.

The modern Western diet incorporates a lot of refined, inflammatory carbohydrates. These carbs, in addition to being low in nutrition, can also cause inflammation inside your body.

One way to reduce inflammation would be to switch from refined carbs to unrefined carbs. If you are currently experiencing headaches, fatigue, and nausea, you might benefit from trying this out. If your symptoms improve when you eat unrefined carbs, then the refined carbs were likely causing inflammation.

This approach requires that you be vigilant about what you eat. Even apparently “whole wheat” bread often contains lots of refined white flour.

Alternatively, you can simply cut out carbs altogether. This is what people do on a keto diet. Instead of eating carbs, they load up on fats and proteins instead. This shifts their body into a fat burning state called ketosis.

Note that carbs are only one possible source of inflammation. If you are currently experiencing symptoms that could be due to inflammation, it might help to speak to a doctor about it. Inflammation can come from a variety of sources, including adverse reactions to medication, immune system disorders, and stress.

A good way to test out the keto diet is to make some simple dishes yourself. And there’s no easier way to do that than to make a pizza out of one of our keto pizza crusts. Our products contain absolutely no refined carbs!