Carbohydrates, Insulin & Weight Loss

For years it has been widely believed that caloric reduction is the hallmark of any successful weight-loss strategy. This, however, has turned out to be something of a half-truth. With everything we know about carbohydrates and how they relate to insulin levels, there is a whole other half of the weight-less and nutrition argument that is often left out.

What exactly are carbohydrates?

In a dietary sense, a carbohydrate or “carb” is defined as being any compound which forms sugars, starches or celluloses. These different compounds make up an important class of foods which supply energy and are most commonly found in foods such as breads, pastas and potatoes.

When eaten (especially in large quantities), however, the body breaks down digestible carbohydrates into sugar, which can then enter into the bloodstream. An abundance of extra carbs can raise blood sugar levels to a harmful point — and this is where a carb’s journey to weight gain begins.

Insulin and weight gain

As these carbohydrates raise the blood sugar level, your body, in turn, produces extra insulin which helps to bring your blood sugar back down. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and works to turn all of this excess blood sugar into fat. The majority of this fat is stored in your abdomen, and the remainder at other places around your body.

This is how excess carbs can eventually become excess fat on the body.

Low-carb diets

Many diets advocate for a low-carb approach in an effort to achieve weight loss. These diets all typically suggest eating an abundance of foods like meats, poultry, (roots?), cheeses, vegetables, and nuts as well as to limit foods like grains, sugars, legumes, and many fruits. This type of diet causes your body to burn fat as its primary energy source.

Not only do very low-carb diets have a better long-term weight loss effect than that of low-fat diets, but they very effectively prevent, treat, and even reverse diseases like diabetes, hypertension, lipid disorders, and a whole range of other health problems.