Low carb eating is big news today. Everywhere we turn, we see low carb food advertised. But is it really the carbs that we need to watch out for? Naturally occurring carb foods such as rice, wheat, oats, fruit and vegetables are low in calories, fat and sodium. These ingredients helped form the basis of the diet for many of our past relatives, yet they rarely suffered from obesity to the extent our nation does today.
Our ancestors ate plenty of high carb foods because these were more abundant, cheaper to buy and easily stored. But they didn’t suffer from obesity. So what made the difference? In this article you’ll find information if the carbs are making us fat or if it’s simply a far to much calorie intake.
Food manufacturers today have created a wide choice of convenient foods from the natural carb sources. Because people’s lives are now so busy, with so many things to do each day, it means many of us rely on quick, convenient foods. We just don’t take the time to prepare meals from natural ingredients. The result is these high carb products often form the basis of the average American’s diet. The problem with this is the majority of these packaged and processed products contain added sugars and fats, which load the products with excess energy, i.e. calories.
Many convenience foods are also loaded with salt to add taste and help preserve the food. Salt is partly made up of sodium, which causes the body to retain excess water. It has been estimated that the average person may be retaining up to five pounds of extra weight due to excess sodium intake.
As food technology drives forward, supermarkets offer an increasing array of tasty looking processed foods from which to choose. Research has shown having more food choices often leads to increased consumption. With so many people consuming more calories from processed carb foods it is inevitable that calorie consumption will increase. Unfortunately, many make the mistake of believing it is the carbs that cause them to be overweight, while it is actually the excess calories.
The effects of insulin
It is widely recognized that carbs produce the release of insulin to help regulate blood sugar levels after a meal. It is believed by some that the effects of this hormone is what actually causes us to gain weight because insulin helps shunt fat into fat cells. To a certain degree this is a good point, insulin is an anabolic hormone that aids in the storage of fat. Because many processed carb foods are loaded with added sugars (carbs) these could be absorbed quickly forcing the body to release greater amounts of insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar levels.
Although we could argue that for this point to be valid it does require that all carb foods are eaten alone at each meal. How does it explain when other foods are consumed at the same meal. Most people select a meal composed of a variety of different food items and products, when foods are mixed it slows the rate of sugar absorption and effects the amount of insulin released. Maybe the real reason we gain weight is due to the ever increasing number of processed carb products that are loaded with extra sugar and fats, the regular consumption of these foods could easily drive calorie consumption to more than the body requires.