I recently got asked:
“Do carbohydrates make you fat?”
The short answer to that is YES. If too many carbohydrates are consumed they can make you fat.
So let’s take a look at carbohydrates more closely.
Simple and Complex Carbohydrates
You’ve probably heard of both simple and complex carbohyrdates.
Simple carbs are things like sugar, honey, fruit, juice, sugar in milk, and refined sugar found in soft drinks, cereals, and many other processed foods.
Complex carbs are things like whole grains, rice, potatoes, and legumes.
They all have varying levels of carbohydrate content. Veggies are also carbohydrates but have a much lower overall carb content and contain high fibre as well as essential vitamins and minerals essential for health.
All carbohydrates are made up of different chains of molecules of sugars. So essentially it doesn’t matter what state they come in, they are all sugar. The simple carbs are made up of 1 or 2 chains, the complex carbs 3 to 8 chains. When the body digests and processes carbohydrates, all forms of carbs are broken down into one chain.
That’s why simple carbs create a more instant spike in insulin/blood sugar because there is not alot of processing involved. While complex carbs take longer to digest and process. So in theory they won’t spike your blood sugars as quickly however they are still sugar once broken down in the body and will contribute to the problem none the less. You’ve probably heard about this kind of thing before.
Carbohydrate is an energy source for the body but there is only so much carb the body can effectively use and store. We use what our cells need for energy then we store the glucose as glycogen in the liver and muscles so we can utilise the energy later when we need it. But once the muscles and liver are fully loaded, the excess carbs get stored as fat.
When you eat your blood sugars rise, this stimulates the pancreas to release insulin and it’s the insulin that pushes the carbs into the cells or into storage in the liver, muscles or to fat stores. Every time you are eating carbs and sugars your blood sugar levels are going up and down, up and down. That’s the short run down anyway.
So yes, excess consumption of carbohydrates will make you fat!
If your carb consumption is too high, you will also be prevented from burning fat as well.
The Typical Diet
A typical day in most people’s lives might look something like this:
Breakfast: cereal or toast with fruit juice – all carb
Snack: muffin and coffe – carb
Lunch: 2 ham, tomato and cheese sandwiches – a tiny bit of protein and more carbs
Snack: apple or banana – carbs
Dinner: big bowl of pasta with a sauce – sauce may contain some protein but the rest is all carbs again
Dessert: icecream or cake – carbs
This is a typical day I hear many people talk about. And my diet used to look something like that too! But you can see that with all of those carbohydrates your body is not going to have room to store them as glycogen so it is going to start converting it to fat. Eat like this day and day out and you’ve soon got a serious fat storage problem and that waist line will just keep on increasing! Not to mention the possible health problems that may come along with it.
Eat Less Carbs And Lose Weight Easier
Surprisingly though, this is considered a ‘normal’ diet in the eyes of many but it really is very far from normal. Our bodies aren’t made to consume so many carbs. Now that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate carbs altogether. But in order to stimulate weight loss you have to normalise blood sugar levels over the long term.
The way to do this is to eat less carbs. Cut out the sugar, junk and processed foods and especially sugary beverages. And if you follow a grain free diet the majority of the time and focus on getting more variety in nutrients into your body in the way of proteins, healthy fats, and veggies, you’ll be much better off! You can take a look at some of the recipes on this site for some inspiration.
Eating this way is going to bring everything back into balance and ignite the fat burning process.
So I hope that answered the question and brought a simple explanation on how carbohydrates act in the body.
Your health is your wealth,
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