Carbohydrates and Weight Gain

Are carbohydrates and weight gain related? Americans tend to eat a high carbohydrate/low fat diet. As a nation we are getting heavier every year and diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate. How are we getting fatter, when we are eating less fat that we were led to believe was the culprit of obesity?

Carbohydrates and Weight Gain

What is Going On?

  • Fat does not make you fat, but your body’s response to carbohydrates in your diet can cause you to gain weight.
  • Your body has a limited ability to store carbohydrates, but it can easily convert them to fat.
  • All carbohydrates are different forms of simple sugars linked together and that includes fruits and vegetables.
  • Carbohydrates are the fuel that runs the body and the brain. You need them and can’t live without them.
  • Carbohydrates not immediately used by the body will be stored as glycogen in your liver or muscles, but your body can only store a small amount of carbohydrates this way and the rest will be stored as fat. (Use it or store it)
  • When you eat too many carbohydrates, your insulin says “store fat” and also “do not release any stored fat, because there is already too much sugar in your blood”. This means that it is difficult to use your stored fat for energy.
  • Excess carbohydrates make you fat and make sure that you stay fat!

Carbohydrates and Weight Gain

How Does Insulin Do This and Cause Cravings?

  • Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas when you eat carbohydrates.
  • When you eat a diet high in refined sugars, more insulin is released because of the high sugar level.
  • Insulin takes the sugar into your cells and stores it as fat, and stops your body releasing the fat it has stored, because your blood is already loaded with sugar.
  • Your blood sugar drops.
  • This lowering of your blood sugar quickly causes hunger after a couple of hours.
  • You then crave more carbohydrates, usually in the form of sweets, which your body can use quicker to replenish the low blood sugar level. If you do not eat quickly, you become shaky, moody, and ready to crash.
  • If you can limit or eliminate refined sugars and processed foods in your diet, you will keep your blood sugar more stable, and stop this cycle of hunger and cravings.

Quinoa Salad

Helpful Healthy Diet Habits for Dealing with Carbohydrates and Weight Gain

  • Refined processed foods and sugar cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and a rapid insulin reaction, so try to limit them. Use the half plate rule and choose healthier low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.
  • Carbohydrates containing fiber can help to reduce the extreme blood sugar swings.
  • Adding good fats to your diet can slow these blood sugar swings. Be thinking olive oil, nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, and dark chocolate!!!!!
  • Protein should be eaten at every meal and evenly divided throughout the day to help with keeping your hunger under control.

Vegetable Tray

This is a very simplistic explanation of how carbohydrates and weight gain go together. Your body needs carbohydrates to run, so please don’t eliminate them. Choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats are the best choices for healthy eating. They will allow your blood sugar to remain fairly constant throughout the day. This will keep cravings under control.

Developing healthy eating is a process though. If you slowly decrease the amount of processed foods that you use and increase healthy carbohydrates, you will be surprised how quickly you can eliminate cravings! Carbohydrates and Weight Gain can be controlled for success!

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