You all wondered at least once in our life: do carbs make you fat? It doesn’t matter if you are new in the dieting game or have been maintaining a healthy diet for long. It will come as no surprise that carbohydrates have earned a bad reputation as ‘fat food’ somewhere along the line. Magazine covers loudly promote carb-free diets and movie stars swear off of carbohydrates like it some kind of a sacrosanct. Carb has become the most feared four-lettered word in the fitness world. However, have you ever tried to understand what carbohydrates actually do? Have they earned the bad name in vain? There are many things about carbohydrate that we don’t know. Let’s delve in a little further!
So do Carbs Make You Fat or what?
What the Studies Say
A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health showed the effects of a low-carb diet with a low-fat diet. The study suggests that a low-carb diet can be beneficial in losing weight quickly as compared to low-fat diet. It also helps in lowering triglycerides, the primary fat-carrying agent in the blood. A low carb diet also boost the healthy HDL cholesterol. A healthy low-carb diet comprises of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Carbs or Sugar?
Do carbs make you fat or is it sugar? When we take in carbohydrate into our body, our body will break it down into a simple version form of glucose. This can be easily digested when it dives into our bloodstream. Similarly, when the blood sugar hikes, insulin works hard to remove the excess sugar. When the bloodstream has too much sugar, the insulin will alert the liver to store the excess as fat. When one says carbs are not good for you, they mostly mean consuming a lot of sugar is not good.
Glycaemic index (GI)
GI is a way of measuring how the food containing carbohydrate raises the blood glucose level. Experts suggest that one takes food which is low in the glycaemic index (GI). Food with high GI boosts the blood glucose faster than food with a medium or low GI.
Low GI foods: milk, soy products, beans, mushrooms, fruits, grainy bread.
Medium GI foods: orange juice, wholemeal bread, basmati rice.
High GI foods: white bread, potatoes, white rice, carbonated drinks.
So what’s the final verict? Do carbs make you fat? Not really! It is not entirely the truth. Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet entirely can put you at a risk of certain nutrient deficiency, leading to health problems. Replacing them with higher fat content sources of protein could raise your level of saturated fat. This inevitably increases the amount of cholesterol in the blood and increase the risk of heart disease. Controlling the amount of sugary food you eat and smartly substituting them with healthier carbohydrates can be the best call.
Each body is different and so is our dietary requirement. We cannot make a blanket statement about any food group because that may not sit well with all of us. While some may benefit from a lower rate of carbohydrates, others may need it daily for a healthy lifestyle. It is crucial to do a proper body assessment and be aware of our body before taking a call on it. Carbs are important for several bodily functions. Having too less of them might, in fact, make your body suffer!