While I am quite sure most people, including my former self, know and understand why they have a weight control problem, I am equally positive there are many who suffer weight problems because they indeed do lack nutritional understanding. This would be an oversimplification, but we do encounter some people whose understanding of nutrition is not much beyond eating to satiate an immediate hunger. Many people eat to satisfy their hunger with little to no understanding of how the foods they consume are affecting their weight. We have found through interactions with people in our personal lives and from our readers, that while they may be familiar with the macro-nutrient terms carbohydrate, fat, and protein, they really do not understand the role these macro-nutrients play in the body and with their overall health. Think about how many times you might have heard someone mention how bad a fast food hamburger is for their health while having no clue that despite the sodium and saturated beef fat, the actual burger patty is quite possibly the healthiest portion of their fast food meal when you consider all the sugar and simple carbs the rest of the meal contains. For instance, a McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese Value Meal contains 69 grams of sugar!
Look at the number of total of carbohydrates in this one meal!
This is more than I even target for myself over an entire day of eating.
Now, if you consume these types of meals on a regular basis, and the rest of your meals and snacks are equally high in carbohydrates, you are going to most likely have a weight problem, and are also a candidate for type 2 diabetes.
Some people truly do not know what constitutes a carbohydrate.
We have found that a good amount of time when you ask an individual what is a carbohydrate, they will answer; sweets and pasta. Ask the same person what a vegetable or fruit is, and they will probably answer that they are vegetables and fruit, as if that is a food type all it’s own. We know from interactions with clients and readers that many people have the misguided notion they can eat unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables without gaining weight. We also know this to be true from following and studying a major weight loss company’s social media. We have found that many people are surprised to learn that sweets, pasta, fruits and vegetables are all carbohydrates. What they do not understand is carbohydrates are all merely different forms of simple sugar linked together in polymers akin to edible plastic.
Contrary to the “Cult of Keto” we need carbohydrates in our diet!
Our body’s require a certain amount of carbohydrates in our diet for optimum health. We need carbs to fuel our brains which use glucose as it’s primary energy source. Our brains can be gluttonous for glucose considering it uses two thirds of the glucose circulating within your bloodstream even while you are at rest. To feed your brain alone, your body continuously converts carbohydrates into glucose.
Now, here is where it begins getting a bit complicated when it comes to carbohydrates. When your body does not immediately use the carbs you have consumed, they will be stored as glycogen. Our bodies have two storage vessels for this glycogen, they are the liver and our muscles. The glycogen stored in our muscles is not accessible by the brain. Only the glycogen stored within our liver can be broken down and released back into the bloodstream in order to maintain proper blood sugar levels for proper brain function.
While our liver is a storage vessel for glycogen, it is limited in it’s capacity. The liver can be depleted of glycogen within 10 to 12 hours, therefore the glycogen reserves must be maintained. This is why we need to consume complex carbohydrates.
What happens when you eat too many carbohydrates?
No matter whether they are being stored in the muscle or liver, your body’s storage capacity for them are limited. If you are of average weight, you can store about 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrates in your muscles, however, you cannot access these carbs. In the liver, where carbs are accessible for glucose conversion, we can only store about 60 to 90 grams. This is equivalent to about 2 cups of cooked pasta, or about 3 candy bars. This quantity is your total reserve capacity to keep your brain functioning at it’s optimum.
Once the glycogen levels have been filled in both the liver and muscles, there is only one thing which happens with the excess – it gets turned into body fat! Even though carbohydrates are not made of fat, they end up as excess fat in your body.
Now, we know that we have a limited storage capacity for the carbs we consume, lets add insult to injury. Any meal or snack you consume that is high in carbohydrates, with an emphasis on simple carbs and sugar, will cause you to experience a rapid rise in blood sugar. To adjust for this rapid rise, your pancreas secretes insulin into the blood stream to lower the levels of blood glucose. While that is all fine and dandy, the issue is one of insulin being a storage hormone which puts aside excess carb calories as fat for future use.
Insulin that is stimulated by excess carbohydrates aggressively promotes the accumulation of body fat!
When we eat more carbohydrates than our body requires, we are actually sending a hormonal message via insulin to make our body’s fat. To rub salt into an open wound, not only does insulin cause our body to store fat, it also prevents it from releasing any of it. Our own insulin, which we can control through healthy nutritional habits, makes it damn near impossible to use fat as energy. No matter the type of carb, excess amounts in your diet not only make you fat, they ensure you remain fat! This double whammy can prove to be detrimental to your health at best, or even lethal in the worst case scenario.