top of page
  • Writer's pictureVanessa Bostock

Are carbs the source of your cankles?

Now before we start I want to make sure we are all talking about the same thing here, ‘cankles’ is a made-up word that describes the ankle being the same size as the calf. Many women suffer from this problem and it can bring great unhappiness. But there maybe something that you can do to help combat your cankles, and that is reducing your carbohydrate intake and in turn reducing your sugar intake and balancing your electrolytes.

I am not saying carbs cause cankles. And I am also not saying you should cut the carbs out completely to have beautiful ankles. However, I am suggesting that to get to the root cause of the oedema you should seek out the root cause of the problem... and this could be in part carbohydrates.

Some highly refined carbohydrates such as white breads and pasta contain more refined sugar than others and can be high in sodium. High processed foods also contain a lot more sodium than the body really needs. And the problem with this is that there becomes an imbalance of sodium and potassium which need to work in harmony if the body is to regulate blood pressure properly.

Sodium is retained on the outside of the body’s cells, whilst potassium in within the cell itself. Something called a sodium/potassium pump is required to maintain this balance. Too much sodium on the outside can cause water retention particularly around the legs and ankles. Potassium helps to get rid of excess sodium - So, this is a first check – too much sodium. Good carbohydrates to consider would be wholegrains, fruits and vegetables and grains such as quinoa as alternatives.

Diuretic properties of some foods that are high in potassium can also be sought out to balance out the sodium these include:




Sweet potatoes


Lima beans and other pulses

Banana – we all know that one!

½ a cantaloupe melon



Salmon, cod, haddock

2. If you have a job sitting all day this could cause inflammation and swelling. You need to move around to circulate blood and electrolytes

3. Do you have a food intolerance? If you swell up after eating carbs and sugar – you could be sensitive to these foods. Make a note of when you feel the swelling is most prominent and try some alternative foods to check.

4. Are you dehydrated? We can experience loss of water through breathing and sweating but also I’ve noticed through continued online working. Perhaps it’s the loss of water through concentration or staring the screen but ensure you drink enough (1.5L daily) as the body will hold on to water, again causing swelling.


Natural history of medicine

Harvard T.H. Chan

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page