Carbohydrates are probably the most misunderstood, most talked about, and, consequently, the hardest to deal with of all nutrients. There has been that much conflicting advice put out there over the past ten years that most people don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong.
The problem is that carbohydrates have got themselves the nasty little tag as a ‘fat-storing’ nutrient. The fact of the matter is, if you overeat any type of food, your body will tend to store it as fat.
So, the truth is, of course, carbohydrates can make you fat just like overconsumption of any other food group. What you have to ensure is you get your carbs from the correct food group and in the right amounts. Let’s face it, your body needs all sorts of different foods in order to operate at full efficiency, so carbohydrates should not be anything to be worried about. As long as you stick to a couple of basic guidelines, you won’t go wrong with your carbohydrate intake.
First – Don’t overeat carbohydrates. That should be a straight forward lesson to understand and put into action because it applies to everything you eat! When you consume more calories than needed, then you will start to store the excess as fat. Carbohydrates are a source of food for your muscles and your brain, the body can only process so much at a time. It would be best if you aimed to make around 45% – 55% of your total daily calorie intake carbohydrate-based.
Second – Source your carbohydrates wherever possible from natural high fiber foods and whatever you do avoid refined carbs. Carbohydrates, when broken down by the body, end up as a type of sugar called glucose, and this is what your body uses as fuel. However, your body is more efficient at breaking down some foods than others. As a general rule of thumb, the faster the body can break it down, the more likely it is that it will end up being stored as fat. That is mainly because your body may not be ready for the fuel at that point.
It can only use so much at a time, remember? If it isn’t ready to use it immediately, then it will store as fat. Also, if your body absorbs a large number of carbohydrates over a short period, this can stimulate the production of insulin, which slows down your fat-burning metabolism, and so fat storage is encouraged. You also get the added side effect of food cravings.
As I said, avoid refined products such as white rice, white bread, sugary cereals, and anything made from white flour. The refining process removes all the bran and germ turning the product white. By eliminating these things, a lot of nutrients have also been removed, making them more likely to be processed quickly by the body and stored as fat.
So, make sure you get your carbohydrates from unrefined sources, such as fresh vegetables, especially green vegetables, oatmeal, whole grain bread cereals, and rice, sweet and regular potatoes, fresh fruit, yams, and low or non-fat dairy products. All of these items have their original goodness left intact and are broken down more slowly by the body when eaten as part of your regular meals.
This is “Myth #4″ in our “8 Myths of weight loss” series. To read the previous Myths, click on the following links –
Fat Loss Myth #3 – Lose Fat by Eating Less Fat?
Fat Loss Myth #2 – Lose Fat by Eating Less?
Fat Loss Myth #1 – Drop the Calories, Drop the Fat?