Keto fans hate them and those watching what they eat often avoid them, too.

But tasty carb-based foods like bread and pasta don’t have to be bad news for your waistline.

Carbs — the simple plant based foods including bread, rice, cereals, pasta, starchy veggies and fruits — fuel the muscles and the brain.

They’re very easily over consumed when we choose carb heavy foods like white bread, cakes and biscuits.

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But while we often hear a lot about cutting out carbs, we rarely hear about the need to eat more of them, especially if your intake has been chronically low.

So, if you are an active carb restrictor but find yourself feeling constantly tired, run-down and still carrying extra body fat, here are some of the reasons you may need to put pasta back on the menu.

Unless you are strictly following a keto diet, in which you actively restrict your carbohydrate to 50g or less, your body will be running on carbs or glucose to fuel the muscles, liver and the brain.

Whenever we eat a food that contains carbs, insulin is secreted by the pancreas, and glucose is used as energy.

While many of us eat far too many carbs and find ourselves gradually gaining weight — think pizza on Friday nights and regular chocolate binges — there are also some people who simply consume too little carb for their body’s needs.

Not eating enough carbs

Here they may not be in ketosis but simply not eating enough carbohydrate to fuel their body for their level of activity and energy output.

Chronically low carbohydrate intakes can equate to a carb intake anywhere between 50-120g per day, striking a middle ground where intake is too high for ketosis but too low to keep the metabolism pumping.

One of the first signs your carb intake may be a little on the low side is when your weight loss plateaus but you know you are not eating much.

While you may have lost weight initially by cutting carbs, as you have become fitter and exercised more, chances are your metabolism has too increased, which basically means you now need more carbs.

While this does not translate into the need to eat a packet of biscuits, an extra serve or two of high carb food, such as an extra slice of bread at breakfast or a little pasta or sweet potato at night, may be what you need to adequately fuel the body and become more efficient at burning body fat.

Another key indicator you may need a little more carbs is your energy levels, such as when you wake up feeling as if you have not slept or the feeling of heading to the gym again makes you tired even thinking about it.

This is when you may need to question if you are adequately fuelling yourself.

How many carbs do I need

Anyone who trains for an hour or more each day will need at least 100-150g of carbs each day, unless they are eating keto. And the best time to eat these carbs is around the time that you train.

In food terms, this may translate into an extra piece of fruit before your session or some toast or fruit after a session rather than opting for plain eggs or a protein shake minus any carbs.

Finally, if the only thing you can think about is eating sugar or seeking out sweet foods, especially in the afternoon and evening, it could be suggestive that your carb intake has been too low throughout the day.

So, if you avoid carbs all morning and even at lunch, opting for a plain tuna salad, simply adding a little more good quality carbs such as sweet potato, legumes or some fruit to your first two meals of the day will do wonders for your energy, concentration and appetite management.

This will mean you are less likely to binge eat throughout the afternoon and evening.

Carbs are not the enemy

Carbs are not bad for us, rather we are often eating too much of them at the wrong time.

Or there are those of us who also restrict them far too much. While you may not need a massive bowl of pasta at night, adding a little, or ½ — 1 cup of cooked pasta, sweet potato or quinoa to your evening meal may be all that you need to actually get your body better at burning, supporting fat loss and a drop on the scales.

Susie Burrell is a dietitian and nutritionist. Continue the conversation on Twitter @SusieBDiet.