Myth Buster – Carbohydrates are fattening
No the answer is they are not! Is there a point or writing anymore? Since I love to talk why not…
There are 3 types of macronutrients which our body makes use of: Carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Now these nutrients are primarily used for different roles in our body. You’ve heard the gym hunk talking about eating protein for muscle growth, due to the massive avocado craze these days people are talking more about eating healthy fats for fat loss and also people go on about eating bananas and drinking lucozade for energy for workouts. So in general, nowadays we kind of know what proteins, fats and carbs are used for within the body and they all have their importance. So why are carbohydrates fattening then?
Years ago in the Western world we moaned and groaned about fat being the culprit for the obesity epidemic and carbohydrates being our savior. But now due to research and looking at other diets from across the World, predominantly the East, we now know that eating the right types of fats are extremely beneficial for our body and leads to fat LOSS. Now we have turned our attention to slating carbohydrates as being our enemy and causing us to turn round. Let’s try and sort this out shall we?
Now before we carry on I must stress that anything eaten or drank in excess will lead to extra calories and therefore you will gain more mass. A simple equation: Calories in should be less than calories burnt to shred fat. People don’t realise that there are different types of carbohydrates: 1 being your simple sugars, 2nd your complex carbohydrates or starches and 3rd are your fibers. Your body uses these 3 in different ways again depending on the need. They all have their importance in their own way. When we workout, our body wants sugar to convert to energy as sugar is our primary source of fuel for exercise – so naturally you would want to opt for a banana or mixed berries, or honey or even a couple of squares or dark chocolate. Only reason is that they are sugar dense and your body will use it immediately for energy conversion for activity. Now our complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, yams and other grains are actually used for energy too but at a lower intensity level. They are also used for topping up our glycogen levels in the liver and muscles for future exercise. Now this is an important one especially for those who carry out a lot of exercise. Keeping glycogen levels stocked up is vital for future exercise bouts as your body will be able to utilize these stores. A good example is an early morning spin session or run, some people consume a potato the night before or a bowl of oats or even brown rice just because they might not have time to eat in the morning but at least their liver and muscles have stocked up on glycogen to use as glucose for when they workout. Also some people physically cannot eat in the mornings as they don’t feel hungry! I mean you can’t force someone to eat can you! Last of all, we have our fiber which is used primarily in the gastrointestinal tract or mostly in the intestines to keep your digestive tract strong and healthy and to break down any waste. This fiber also helps the body absorb vitamins such as K to be used in the body. This fiber helps get rid of excess cholesterol out of your body and helps waste bind to water to be excreted properly. Yeah not the best topic if you’re eating whilst reading this…
So you can see the importance of the different types of carbohydrates and how efficiently the body uses them. So why are carbohydrates fattening then?
Nowhere in there is there evidence that carbohydrates are fattening, but like I said before, it’s the balance which has gone off on a tangent. People have succumbed to quantity as opposed to quality and this is the reason why we are gaining more weight. Remember one thing, whatever calories are left over after reactions have taken place will simply bind to a fatty acid molecule and become a triglyceride which will then with a little help from enzymes be transferred to our fat cells and chill there until our calorie balance has been restored! These days it’s so easy to over load on foods simply due to our busy lifestyles, we eat more fast foods, packet based foods and snacks and even eat on the run, never to sit down and actually appreciate the flavours. It’s all about ‘go go go sonic’ these days and the faster you eat the more you will tend to eat too. Don’t get me wrong, I do it too, I am always running around, training people, studying, advertising, annoying others etc etc so I even sometimes don’t sit down and eat slowwwwlllyyyyy. However, what I do eat are the healthier options rather than the quick foods you see being advertised. Also, my work entails a lot of movement so it is a lot easier for me to burn off the calories as opposed to Joe Bloggs sitting at his desk playing pacman.
So again, being on a carbohydrate diet is not bad at all. Everyone out there just think what you are eating, vegetables are carbs, fruits are carbs and grains are carbs and they all come in different forms of carbohydrates. I know for a fact that South Koreans eat purple potatoes as a way for fat loss simply because of the high fiber and antioxidant content in them. Also lots of South East Asian people eat white rice with proteins and fats…eh white rice??? But look at how much they eat of it and again look at their whole diet as a whole too with their activity levels. Carbohydrates are not our enemy; it’s rather the fact that we have alienated ourselves from eating carbs due to our lifestyle and choices! Carbohydrates are our primary fuel source then comes fats and then proteins, so if it is this order then why would carbs be fattening? It’s what we do with the carbs is the important aspect, are we eating potatoes or toast with honey and then having a siesta? Or are we blasting out a bootcamp or gym session after?
Our amazing planet has given us delicious ingredients to play around with and make the most amazing foods we can think off. But blaming carbohydrates being fattening is a very naive and gullible way of thinking.
It’s us who needs reevaluating and it’s our choices which ultimately decide our end goal.