Have you ever wondered exactly how carbohydrates cause you to gain weight? The simple answer is that when you eat carbs they are broken down to glucose which ends up in your blood stream. It can then be used as energy or stored as fat. If more is stored as fat than is used for energy then you will put on weight. It’s as simple as that!
What are Carbohydrates?
Not sure what carbohydrates are? They are the sugars and starches found in fruits, grains, legumes vegetables and dairy products. You have probably heard them described as complex and simple carbohydrates. The difference between them is how quickly they are digested and absorbed, as well as their chemical make up.
Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables while simple carbs are foods such as milk, fruit, juice, table sugar, and syrup. Some simple carbohydrates like fruit are healthy but processed or refined carbs like juice, table sugar, syrup and white flour products like white bread, cakes and cookies are not.
Low Carbs and Weight Loss
If carbohydrates are consumed in the right amount they can help with weight loss. Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy, but when your carb sources are depleted as in a low carb diet, your body will begin to use fats as energy.
This will only be possible if you go on a low carb diet. This has the effect of making your body burn lots of stored fats, which will result in a significant loss of weight. Moderate loss of weight should be possible to achieve if you avoid consuming foods that are loaded with carbs.
Related reading: Does Low Carb Dieting Result In Successful Weight Loss?
Carbohydrates contribute to weight gain, not fats!
One of the most common misconceptions about fats is that they make you gain weight. The truth is, as we have seen, carbs are the main culprit.
The biggest difference between fats and carbs is that carbs could trigger an increase in your blood sugar and insulin level while fat simply does not have any effects on your body.
This is very important since the hormone insulin is actually the main culprit behind the storage of fats in your body. Since fats will not trigger a release of insulin, they will not be stored in the body as fats.
Related reading: Best Fats To Eat On A Low Carb Diet
Effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar
When you choose to eat lots of carbs, your blood glucose goes up but could drop way before your insulin decreases. As a result, you’ll most likely end up gaining weight since you’ll feel hungry when your glucose level drops below the normal level.
At this stage before your insulin level has decreased it will have the effect of storing glucose in your cells in the form of fats. This also explains why you’ll feel hungry only after two hours of eating a meal loaded with carbohydrates.
And, if you end up snacking on carbs, this can become a vicious cycle that’s definitely not good for your weight. You’re going to feel hungry more often all throughout the day and you’ll end up gaining lots of weight.
Carbs end up becoming glucose in your bloodstream and will be used by your body for energy but any not used will be stored as fat.
Related reading: How Does a Keto Diet Balance Blood Sugar?
Low Carb Diets Best For Weight Loss
If you decide to shed some weight through dieting people will most likely tell you to follow a low carb diet since it has helped a lot of people to lose weight in only a short period of time.
How does this happen?
We have previously talked about carbohydrates getting converted to glucose that the body will utilize for energy. Any of the unused carbohydrates will end up becoming becomes a polysaccharide carb, which is known as the glycogen. Both your liver and muscles are able to store glycogen and they can quickly convert it to glucose if you need energy.
But there’s also a downside when it comes to this. Glycogen could make your muscles hold on to more water and this will significantly cause you to gain weight. However, when you cut back on carbs your muscles end up releasing the water and you’ll eventually lose a lot of weight fast!
Not All Carbohydrates Are the Same
But not all carbohydrates are the same. A person who is overweight could eat the same amount of carbs as someone with normal weight yet gain more weight.
The reason for this is because the type of carbs you eat will greatly matter. When it comes to this, white bread and pasta are some of the worst types of carbohydrates one can consume. These foods contain an excess amount of refined carbs.
Processed carbs must also be avoided. These are those types of carbs found in various snacks, desserts, and sugary drinks. They are known to have a high GI (Glycemic Index) and could trigger a rapid increase in your blood sugar. If they are consumed, they will be converted into fat quickly, and eventually, you will gain a good amount of weight.
You can still eat carbs if you want to. But make sure you choose the right ones and eat them in moderation. If you’re following the low carb ketogenic diet, it’s highly recommended that you consume only 20 grams of carbs daily and they must come from non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and full-fat dairy. That way, you will ultimately lose weight.
Related reading: How Many Carbs Do You Need To Eat To Lose Weight?