Carbohydrates and Its Impact on your Weight

Carbohydrates are an essential part of any balanced diet as they are the primary source of energy for the body. Without carbohydrates, the body will not be able to function properly. However, carbohydrates are one food group that has a lot of variations and should be consumed with a lot of thought put into the food choices to avoid possible weight gain.

There are two groups of carbohydrates; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates provide the body with the very basic form of carbohydrates: sugar also referred to as glucose. This glucose is the body’s source of energy used to fuel internal body processes. Sugar can be found in fruits, candy and refined sugars like white sugar. Complex carbohydrates are referred to as starches and are present in corn, legumes, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and grain products like bread and macaroni. These complex carbs take a longer time to be broken down to glucose by the body and tend to stay in the stomach for a longer period.

The problem with carbohydrate consumption is that these get digested very quickly, allowing a feeling of hunger only a few hours after a meal. That poses a problem for weight loss programs where staying fuller for longer is of high importance. When carbohydrates are eaten, they are quickly converted to glucose form. When blood glucose levels rise, insulin is released by the pancreas to stabilise it. This hormone that is responsible for body fat storage converts glucose into glycogen to be stored in the liver and muscles. The human body is only capable of storing a limited amount of glycogen; the rest of the glucose is converted into body fat.

The insulin level in the blood does not go down as fast as the glucose level. Instead, it lingers in the blood, which causes sugar cravings. This sugar-insulin cycle is the main reason for sugar craving and is one of the strongest causes of weight gain. The process of weight loss requires that the body use stored fat as fuel. Cutting back on carbohydrates is therefore essential to the process of weight loss.


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