Are carbs responsible for my weight gain?
Carbs are the whipping boy of the weight watching world. Often when people think to lose weight the first thing they do is cut carbs from their diet. "No more bread, no more pasta, it's all making me gain weight!" In the early 1900's people were consuming more carbs than we are today without the heavy results we see today. How does that work?Do carbs specifically make you gain weight? No. They do not. Carbohydrates are a necessary nutrient for the human body. They help to metabolize fats, provide energy for your body, spare your muscle proteins, and give the essential (needed, and not produced) fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In fact they are so important that carbohydrates make up 45-65% of your recommended daily caloric intake, even if you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle. If not carbs, then what...? Energy expenditure. The main reason for weight gain is calories in versus calories out. If you are consuming 3,000 calories daily, and burning 3,500 calories a day then you will lose weight because your body is utilizing more than you are putting into it, and not storing what you're eating as fat. If you burn 2,000 instead. You will gain weight. Simple enough. 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories. 1 gram of fat = 9 calories. See how that works. Each are necessary, yet the more fat you consume the more calories you will need to burn. Carbs aren't the problem. Calories are the problem. What about the Low-Carb Diet? In your first few weeks of the Low-Carb Diet you will most likely see results in weight loss. The reason for this quick weight loss is that when you drop carbohydrate rich foods from your diet, calories will go with it. Also going with it will be the glycogen stores, which are responsible for giving your muscle the carb energy it needs. As your body uses up the glycogen stores, water is used up as well resulting in weight lost. The diet will work, but unfortunately sustainability on this diet is difficult because of the importance of carbs in your diet. Ultimately, the key is eating correctly with the necessary intake of all dietary needs. What are some good carbs to eat? There are tons of good carbs out there to eat! Do your best to eat carbs that are low to medium on the glycemic index. The Glycemic Index is the rate in which digested carbohydrates raise blood sugar and affect insulin release. Examples of low GI foods would be plain yogurt, grapefruit, whole-wheat spaghetti, skim milk, apples, and black beans. Moderate GI foods can be honey, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. High GI foods are bagels, french fries, gluten free bread, pretzels, and watermelon. Foods lower on the GI are good sources of nutritional value, and we're all human, we'll eat some french fries every once in a while, but it is good to be aware of where your good carbs are coming from. Keep in mind that even with all this info, any calories that exceed the caloric expenditure for the day will be stored as fat, doesn't matter if it went in as a protein, a carbohydrate, or a dietary fat. -KC QALO Life Team