Whether to eat carbohydrates or whether it is still worth giving them up, whether they really affect weight - we figured out these questions.
We understand why carbohydrates are considered the enemy of those who lose weight and whether they should be feared.Who said carbs are to blame for being overweight?
Carbohydrates have been blamed for gaining excess weight since the 19th century, after the publication of a pamphlet by Bunting, a man who lost 30 kg in a month by giving up refined carbohydrates.
In the 20th century, cardiologist Robert Atkins, the creator of the ketogenic diet, pounced on carbohydrates. Other well-known diets recommend limiting carbohydrates: Paleo, South Beach Diet, Whole30.
Gary Taubes' book "Why We Get Fat" states that Western society is awash in fat precisely because the diet consists mainly of carbohydrates. And such a hypothesis is not devoid of meaning.
Lovers of low-carbohydrate diets associate weight gain with the action of the hormone insulin. When you eat carbohydrates, the body turns them into glucose and carries them around the bloodstream to feed the cells. When blood glucose levels rise above 100 mg/dL, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin. Its task is to remove excess glucose from the blood. For this purpose, it stimulates the insulin receptors of liver, muscle and fat cells, they let glucose through and store it in the form of glycogen (muscles, liver) or fat (fat cells).
If a person eats a lot of carbohydrates, insulin has to act on the insulin receptors often in order to use up the glucose.
Because of this, they lose sensitivity, the cells stop opening and take in less glucose. The body releases even more insulin to "reach" the cells and still remove glucose from the blood. The hormone blocks the breakdown of fat reserves, stimulates the synthesis of fats in the liver, and after they are released into the blood in the form of triglycerides, turns them into fatty acids that are absorbed by fat cells. In other words, excess insulin makes you fat.
In addition, the consumption of fast carbohydrates - those that are quickly processed and sharply increase the level of sugar in the blood leads to constant hunger. When you eat these carbs, your blood sugar spikes, your body releases a lot of insulin, it quickly adjusts to glucose, and then your blood sugar plummets, and you want to eat again, even though it's only been a short time. A vicious circle emerges.
Chocolate bar → insulin spike → deposition of glucose in fat → sharp drop in blood sugar → wild hunger → chocolate bar. The circle closed.So are carbs to blame for weight gain after all?
Before we blame carbs for the obesity epidemic, let's look at the scientific evidence.
A 2016 study found that as long as you maintain a calorie deficit, it doesn't matter how many carbs you eat. For the first month, participants ate a lot of carbohydrates, including fast carbohydrates: granola bars, pretzels, and white bread. At the same time, they maintained a calorie deficit and lost weight by 0.5 kg. The next month, they ate low-carb and high-fat within the same caloric intake and again lost 0.5 kg.
Two months is a short time, but there is also a longer-term study of a year. And it also showed that both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets are equally good for weight loss.
A review of 107 scientific papers also confirmed that people lose weight by reducing the number of calories, and the proportion of carbohydrates is not fundamental.
Sometimes you lose weight faster on a low-carb diet, but it doesn't matter in the long run.Why do you lose weight faster on low-carb diets?
Scientists have suggested that rapid weight loss on a low-carb diet is due to water loss and a smaller diet.
Water loss occurs due to the reduction of glycogen reserves in the muscles. Each gram of glycogen binds 3 g of water. By switching to a low-carb diet, you reduce the amount of water in your body, so you feel lighter almost immediately.
Diet reduction is of great importance. The more choice of food, the more a person will eat. If you can't eat carbs, you avoid many opportunities to snack when you're not hungry: a piece of cake for a party at the office, chips before dinner, sweets with tea in the middle of the work day. As a result, calorie consumption decreases and you lose weight.And what about the feeling of hunger due to blood sugar spikes?
As we said above, after sharp jumps in blood sugar, hunger really comes faster. But if we are talking about weight gain, it is not the carbohydrates themselves that should be blamed, but their sources. Three parameters are important:
Studies show that on low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets, feelings of hunger and satisfaction from food do not differ.
With the right choice of products, carbohydrates will not make you dream about food every half hour.So it doesn't matter how much fat and carbs I eat to lose weight?
The total caloric content of the diet is important for weight loss. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight; if it's the same, you keep the weight; eat more than you can spend - gain.
There is no magic diet that will help you lose weight in a calorie surplus, regardless of the ratio of macronutrients.
Just spend more than you consume and the weight will come off.
Adhering to a calorie deficit, you can lose weight even on fast food and sweets, but it's scary to think what will happen to your health.And for health, there is a difference, how many fats and carbohydrates in the diet?
There are no single recommendations, everything depends on your characteristics and goals. Let's analyze several situations.
When it is worth controlling carbohydrates and reducing their amount:
When not to reduce the amount of carbohydrates:
And remember: by giving up sugar and sweets, you won't lose anything. Carbohydrates can be obtained from other foods, which, in addition to calories, also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Forget about sugar and carbohydrates will become your best friends: they will provide cheerfulness and energy, help you perform during training and improve your figure.