Are carbohydrates making you fat?
Carbohydrates take on a few guises, from the simple, to starchy, to the NSP’s.
NSP stands for non starch polysaccharide, and roughly translated means your leafy greens and other ‘roughage’.
Starches are your potatoes, pasta, rice and breads.
Simple sugars are what you find in sweets and biscuits, table sugar essentially.
Is there a good or bad time to eat them?
How much of them is safe enough to eat without piling on the pounds?
Let’s start with simple sugars, cakes and donuts and the like. Eat too many of these and you will bloat out fast, and not do your health much good either. After all, if your body is fit and healthy, you should’t be holding excess fat.
The problem with eating these simple concentrated sugars is the affect it has on insulin production. Insulin is a hormone produced to regulate the level of glucose in your bloodstream. Ingest a lot of glucose, insulin production rises to compensate.
What’s the problem then?
Well, insulin is a nutrient transporter, so as well as giving cells of the body the nutrients it requires to operate functionally, any excess will be placed into fat cells for storage. Trouble is, once it is there it also hinders its release. Double whammy!
Try to stay clear of simple sugars, and if you do have them, the best time to do so is straight after or during a strength training session. Your body is then in an ‘anabolic zone’ and the initial insulin spike fills the muscles depleted glycogen stores, and carries the proteins needed for them to repair. Meaning less likely fat storage, depending on how much you’re having that is!
Starchy carbohydrates act in the same way, just in a slightly slower time frame. The same process takes place in that the body, the food gets broken down and the simple sugars are released and insulin again is recruited. This time though the insulin is at a more steady secretion, avoiding big spikes.
Eating too many though and you simply end up with too much glucose anyway and guess where that goes.
Choose good sources though, stick with natural ones like sweet potatoes or quinoa.
Pasta and bread is man made and processed, and although tastes great, be restrictive if fat loss is your aim.
The best sources for carbohydrate intake is your good old fashioned fruit and vegetables.
They are nutrient dense and low in calories.
They happen to be a great source of fibre too so they will keep your gut health in order whilst having the benefit of making you feel fuller for longer.
As a rule of thumb, if you are having more than 200 grams of carbohydrates per day, you are slowly increasing your fat gain.
Between 100-200 grams and you are maintaining your level.
Below 100 grams is steady fat loss.
Reduce further to below 50 grams and you are in ketosis and aggresive fat loss.
- Stick to NSP’s. (The green leafy stuff basically).
- Make good starchy choices infrequently.
- Avoid simple sugars.