Are Carbs Really That Bad?
Carbs have been the named culprit in many fad diets over the years. The scapegoat of failed results, they are undoubtedly omitted from most weight loss diet plans. However, is that helping or hurting you?
Carbs are often lumped together like a raw biscuit, but it’s important to understand the three categories of carbohydrates:
Fiber is a Good Carbohydrate, Mmmmkay
Did you know fiber is a carb? Well, it is! Fiber is a non-digestible complex carbohydrate. What does that mean? Our stomach isn’t equipped with the enzymes needed to break apart the sugar links so it passes through the stomach acid and is absorbed by the body. Good fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, adds weight to meals and as a result makes us feel fuller (so we eat less.)
So, you might be guessing that not ‘all carbs are bad.’ Right? We talked about the good; now let’s talk about the bad and ugly.
How the Body Processes Starches and Sugars
Sugars and starches are not non-digestible. All digestible simple sugars and starches are converted to glucose in our body. Glucose is not all bad. Glucose is the energy source of most cells, but it’s important to understand how our bodies process sugars to get a firm grip on how to incorporate them into our diets.
When we consume starches and sugars, blood glucose, or blood sugar, rises. This triggers an insulin response in our bodies. Insulin is a hormone that plucks glucose from the bloodstream and sends it to our cells to use as energy.
But what if your cells don’t need as much glucose as you consumed?
The body stores it for future energy needs. Excess glucose is tucked away into the liver and muscle as glycogen. But—the space for glycogen storage is also limited, so when the body runs out of space, it makes space. It converts the rest of the glucose into fat.
In other words, your body gets bigger. Are we on the same page? Too much starch or sugar makes one hold onto fat, and holding onto fat is not something you can hide without a poncho.
Starchy Carbs Can Energize or Create Thunder Thighs
Starchy carbs are in potatoes, corn and some other veggies. Carbohydrates provide energy. Starchy carbs are used more slowly by the body, which can trigger a steadier output of insulin and prolonged energy. Many professionals rely on carbs for gaining quality weight because the increased energy allows them to last longer during training which creates more muscle. However, recall how the body processes starches. Too many can lead to gaining fat rather than muscle.
Roses are Red Violets Are Blue, Too Much Sugar Will Make You Huge
Sugars are the ugly stepsisters of carbs. We already know how the body processes them, but aside from being converted into fat, excess sugar can cause a surge in blood sugar levels. This may give you a rush of energy, but when the honeymoon is over, be prepared for the divorce. Besides causing a larger waist, it can also cause diabetes in the worst cases. If you have a sweet tooth, satiate it with some fruit and eat candies in limited amounts.
Moral of the story: in the case of sugars and starches, moderation is key.
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