Nutrition Myth: Carbohydrates Make You Fat

Most foods that people label as ‘carbohydrates’ actually contain a combination of all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat).

NUTRITION MYTH: CARBOHYDRATES MAKE YOU FAT

With the rise of carbohydrate-eliminating diets (such as keto), the fear of consuming carbohydrates increases, as many are led to believe that carbs cause fat gain.

There are common misconceptions around what foods are carbohydrates and contain carbohydrates.

Firstly, there are common misconceptions around what foods are carbohydrates or contain carbohydrates. Aside from table sugar, it is rare to find a food that is purely carbohydrates. Most foods that people label as ‘carbohydrates’ actually contain a combination of all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat).

Carbohydrates are one of 3 macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat) that are essential for our body to function and can be split into 3 groups:
1. Sugars – found in foods such as fruit (natural sugar) and white sugar (processed sugar)
2. Starch – such as bread, pasta, grains and potatoes
3. Dietary Fibre – helps keep the digestive system healthy and is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals

How do carbohydrates operate in the body?

When carbohydrates are absorbed by the body, they cause a rise in blood sugar which stimulates the release of insulin, enabling the cells to take up glucose and use it as an energy source.

Insulin signals to the liver to store excess glucose as glycogen. The liver can only store a certain amount of glycogen at one time, so anything extra then gets converted to fat for longer-term storage – which is why people think that carbohydrates will make them put on fat. 

However, because we don’t eat every minute of the day, there are times when our blood sugar levels need boosting, which is when the previously stored glycogen gets broken down back into glucose, ready for the body to use.

Why is Glucose important?

Glucose plays a vital role in the functioning of our bodies. It is the preferential source of energy for the brain, muscles and several other body organs and tissues. It also serves as a building block for larger structural molecules of the body.

Eating the right amount of carbohydrates will not cause fat gain. In fact, consuming carbohydrates can improve bodily functions and help you smash your next workout!

If you’re needing assistance finding the right balance between carbohydrates, protein and fat, get in touch with our team of qualified Nutritionists who are ready to help you lose weight in a healthy, feel good way.

– Ellie Mullen (Nutritionist, Sport Nutritionist & Personal Trainer)

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