CARBS. A word so many people are frightened of, they make you fat, they make you gain weight and ew carbs. But in the sequel to Fats don’t make you fat? I’m going to shed some light on carbohydrates giving you the knowledge to eliminate the fear and love carbs again.
Its also important to remember that no food is a carbohydrate or a protein or a fat; all foods are sources of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and most foods will contain all of them. An example is Chicken, Chicken is a good source of protein averaging 22g Protein per 100g of Chicken. Chicken also contains 0.4g Fat per 100g of Chicken and 1.2g of Carbohydrates per 100g of Chicken.
Types of Carbohydrate
- SUGAR (Simple)– Sweet short chain carbohydrates
E.g. Glucose, Fructose, Galactose and Sucrose
- STARCH (Complex)– Long Chain of glucose molecules that is broken down into glucose by digestion
- FIBRE– Carbohydrate that can not be broken down for energy use in the body
Purpose of Carbohydrates
- Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose molecules which can then be used as energy for the body. Glucose molecules circulate in your bloodstream and give us our blood sugar levels.
- As your blood sugar levels rise, the hormone Insulin is activated which allows your muscles to take up the sugar and remove it from the blood.
- When your muscles and liver cells are fully saturated excess glucose is stored for later use.
So whats the bad part?
Some carbohydrates are broken down really quickly giving you a blood sugar spike, and with a spike comes the crash. The crash causes you to feel hungry and want to eat again. There is lots of research about the health affects of sugars on diabetes, the cardiovascular system, diabetes and other chronic diseases. This is where the term Glyceamic index comes in. The faster a food digests the higher GI Index it has.
Simple carbs are shorter chains of glucose which are absorbed quicker and release their energy quickly. Naturally occurring simple sugars are not ‘bad for you’ as some may say; the main argument being fruit here. This is because naturally occurring sugars also contain soluble fiber which slows down the digestion of the sugars. Fruit also contains water, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients. Its the added sugars which lack health benefits which we need to watch out for.
Complex carbs are longer chains of glucose and take more time to break down, therefore they release their energy slower over a longer period of time and it takes longer for you to become hungry.
Fiber and digestion
- Soluble fiber is the easily moveable part inside of cell walls that holds water. Soluble fiber binds with water in your gut to slow digestion and stabilises blood sugar levels.
- Insoluble fiber is the rigid part of cell walls. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion and relives constipation.
So do Carbs make you fat?
The simple answer is NO. Gaining fat is caused by consuming more calories than you use. Carbohydrates are more of an issue when you consume high amounts of refined carbohydrates with simple sugars, you get hungry quicker so you eat more, consume more calories and thats why they could cause weight gain. Also eating carbs after 6pm will not make you fat, like I mentioned before its a calories in vs calories out debate.
Hopefully you can see that carbs are not the enemy and incorporating them into a balanced diet is important. I live by the 80/20 rule which is 80% of my food comes from good whole sources and one ingredient foods. Then 20% is for your more processed food and thats where you can allow yourself the more refined carbohydrates. By still having those things you love but in small quantities and otherwise eating natural foods it makes you adherence to healthy lifestyle much easier !
As always if you have questions send me a message or write a comment !