I Eat A Lot Of Carbs But Dont Gain Weight Do Carbohydrates Make You Fat?

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Do Carbohydrates Make You Fat?

Well, there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation about carbohydrates. Thanks to Atkins, people have the wrong idea that they will get fat if they eat carbs. Here are some carb myths exploded, plus a few facts about carbs you might not know!

First of all, it is important to know that there are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Another way to describe them are Starches or Sugars. The Starches are things like pasta, potatoes, bread etc while the sugars are sweet consist of sugar (the kind you buy in packets, and find in sweets, chocolates, cakes etc) honey and fruit.

The difference is in the way they are absorbed by the body. Complex (or Starch) carbohydrates must pass through our system and be digested before they can be absorbed by the body and used as fuel. They therefore have a high ‘satiety’ value – in other words, they make us feel full longer, and give us a nice slow energy release.

Simple (or sugar) carbohydrates are the opposite – they take practically no digestion and are almost immediately absorbed by the body as fuel – so they give us an immediate, short energy rush.

The problem with carbohydrates comes when people eat too much of the Simple kind. It’s easy to eat too much sugary carbohydrate, partly because the energy boost it gives us doesn’t last long, leaving us low on energy and needing another ‘fix’, and partly because the sweet taste we crave more. When we eat high amounts of simple carbohydrates, our insulin has to work overtime to keep our blood sugar levels even, and this can lead to diabetes. Sugar, and things with sugar such as sweets, cookies, pops, cakes etc. also provide energy in a very concentrated form (sugar is 100% carbohydrate, while for example potatoes are only 30% carbohydrates) so it is easy to consume a lot of calories in a relatively small amount of food, and of course this can lead to weight gain . Some scientists say that if sugar was discovered today, it would be a prohibited substance!

Complex carbohydrates on the other hand, tend to be large, bulky, and contain a lot of water and fiber (like potatoes and cooked pasta), so you would have to eat a lot before you consumed enough to cause weight-gain.

Why do we need carbohydrates? Well, they are the bodies ‘fuel’. Our central nervous system, brain, liver, kidneys and muscles (including the heart) cannot function without glucose, which is what carbohydrates become when they are broken down by the body. People who do not eat enough carbohydrates (for example, people who follow the Atkins diet) can get hallucinations because the brain does not get enough fuel, as well as liver and kidney damage.

If you starve yourself of carbohydrates then you will lose weight, but you do this by artificially creating a state called ketosis – a condition in which the body cannibalizes cell tissue to artificially produce glucose – the substance that occurs naturally in carbohydrates.

Yes, if you follow Atkins you will lose some fat, but you will also lose a substantial amount of muscle tissue and risk damaging your internal organs.

So how much should you eat? Well, the World Health Organization recommends that 60% of your entire diet should consist of carbohydrates. Of this 60%, only 20% should be simple carbohydrates (and this includes sugars found in fruit).

So… Carbohydrates. Yes, too much of the wrong kind can make you unhealthy and fat, but carbohydrates are an absolutely vital staple in our diet. Just try to stick to the complex kind and cut back on that sugar!

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