Carb & Weight Gain

Does Your Eating Style Look Something Like This?

Breakfast: Wheat bix or oatmeal with low fat Greek yoghurt and banana or some form of fruit

Morning Tea: Muesli bar, Coffee with skim milk

Lunch: Sandwich or maybe a tuna pasta, Diet soda

Afternoon Snack: Muffin or banana, Skim milk latte

Dinner: Meat, potatoes or rice & veges

Snack: Milo & Biscuit

First off well done, you’re eating what the dietary guidelines recommend. That means you are not “lazy” or “not trying hard enough” or god forbid don’t “want it enough”.

Sadly it’s all wrong… The guidelines are based mainly on Low fat High Carb thinking.

Problem is a lot, and I mean a lot, of us out there do not do well on this diet. No matter how much we try to go “low fat” or reduce our “calories” down we end up not losing or even gaining more weight. As an added bonus we generally feel like crap, mentally & physically.

This messes with our heads as we are repeatedly told to eat less move more…coz you know we haven’t tried that!! Hands up who of us have almost lived at the gym just to “burn off” the extra weight only to be so confused and leave feeling like a complete failure when the weight doesn’t budge. Trust me, I have shed many tears over this. Worst still is when health professionals turn round and tell you that you must not be following the diet program completely…coz you’re obviously cheating…

Basically, what I’m telling you right now you are not lazy! You’re not going crazy the food guidelines are letting you down in a massive way.

Sit tight, grab a coffee, and let me show you why your not losing weight this way…

At A Glance, What's Wrong With The Current Guidelines

Fats & Proteins:

* The Guidelines recommend:

  • unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats
  • red meat with the fat removed

Problem: Going low fat is not good for us. Why? We need fat for every cell in our body.

Right now forget unsaturated and saturated and just focus on healthy natural fat.

Natural fat – i.e.  fat on meat, butter, olive oil, avocado

Unnatural industrial fats – i.e. margarine, vege oils like canola oil, sunflower oil

Stick with your main protein sources, fish, chicken, red Meats (a good source of protein and vitamins. Pick fatty cuts of meat. They are more satiating and contain healthy natural fat), & vegetarian sources like tofu

We will look more into fats & proteins a little bit later on. But for now Carbs are the no.1 problem and our main focus…

Carbs: also known as things that make you fat

*The Guidelines recommend:

  • plenty of vegetables and fruit
  • grain foods, mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre

This is where the real problem is. Everything you are eating on this diet is basically centred around high amounts of carbs and low amounts of fat.

What can make carbs so damaging in large or prolonged amounts?

Let’s have a look at why carbs are an issue…

Carbohydrates…Sugars In Disguise…

Carbs are made up of saccharides. Depending on the carb it could be a monosaccharide, disaccharides, polysaccharides, but right now that’s not important. What is important is a Saccharide means sugar. Carbs are literally made up of sugar molecules.

*What foods contain carbs?

  • Flour & Wheat Products (Breads, Pastas, Rice, Cereals)
  • Processed Foods especially Low-fat Foods
  • Fruits


  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Sugary Drinks (including Sports Drinks, juices)
  • Sweets (Ice creams, chocolate, lollies, cakes…)
  • Milk

 

As you can see there’s quite a range of foods out there. All carbs that get eaten turn into glucose, (Blood sugar). Glucose loves to stick to blood. The body absolutely hates sticky blood, sticks to everything!

Think of it this way, imagine if you gave a 3-year-old a pot of water and dissolved a 1kg bag of sugar in it, then let them loose in your lounge. It wouldn’t be long before that sticky sugary solution was all over your furniture, curtains, carpet, dog, cat etc

Imagine having to try and clean up the sticky mess. It would take forever!

So what happens to your body when you eat a diet high in carbs…

Release the Insulin!

Once you have taken a bite of food containing carbs it gets converted to glucose. As we noted above the body does not like glucose just swimming around creating sticky blood, so to get it out it releases insulin from the pancreas.

Now, insulin is a storage hormone, and its job is to get the glucose out of the blood and store it elsewhere. But it can’t just cram it anywhere. There are certain areas and processes it must go through in order to store it.

So how and where can insulin store glucose it?

Glycogen…Ultimate Short Term Storage

Insulin first directs the glucose into the muscles and liver to use as a fuel known as glycogen. Which is like a short-term storage for easy access fuel. Problem is there is only a certain limited amount we can store as glycogen.

Muscles: You can store up to 400g of glycogen in your muscles. (Think of it as 20 pieces of bread).

Liver: Store up to roughly 100-150g, (around 5 pieces of bread worth)

This is all great as when you head off for a run or go to the gym you can use up that stored glycogen as fuel straight away creating room for more storage. All normal stuff happening…However what happens when you can’t burn off all that stored glycogen as fuel? What if you’re eating too many carbs, in one sitting or throughout the day, the month, the years and have too much glucose to store?

When Life Gets In Your Way

If you miss a run, the gym or life simply gets in the way and you don’t use that stored fuel in the muscle then insulin will need to store it elsewhere.

Likewise, if you eat too many carbs too often. Where is the extra glucose going to go?

So, we have eaten more carbs than we can burn off. Insulin is having a bit of trouble handling all this influx of glucose, so it sends out for more reinforcements. So more insulin is created to handle the increase of glucose.

This is a bit of a pickle I mean glucose can’t stay in the blood and insulin can’t just keep increasing and that blood can’t stay sticky that’ll be disastrous!

Hmm there’s no more room in the muscle they must go to a backup storage somewhere? But Where?

Liver To The Rescue…Well Kinda

As we now know the liver can only hold a certain amount of glucose in the form of glycogen.

However, it can convert glucose into fat by way of de novo lipogenesis, (de novo means within the body, lipo means fat and genesis means to make). Fancy way of saying the manufacture of new fat.

This ‘new fat’, called a triglyceride can now be stored into fat cells, which make up adipose tissue. Fat cells make up about 85% of fat in our blood, known as subcutaneous adipose tissue.

Which is all absolutely brilliant and completely normal especially if you’re a cave man heading into winter….not so much now days when food is readily available.

But there is another slight problem, they don’t quite fit into the cell as they are. They’re a little bit too big to squish into the fat cell.

Ikea Flat Pack

Enter in lipase.

This nifty little hormone ninja can break the triglyceride into 4 pieces, a glyceride backbone and three fatty acids.

These four pieces can now fit nicely into a cell, where once inside reforms back into an assembled triglyceride.

The fat cell then gets stored for later fuel use.

Yay! A win for the caveman! So far so good right.

But um, we don’t want to just keep storing fat cells, our weight will start creeping up unless we want to move into the gym and workout 24/7… So, How do we get the fat back out?

Problem with Insulin

Glucose is now stored in a fat cell as a triglyceride. So we can just use it when we want for fuel right?

Hold up there Batman It’s not so simple.

The more carbs we eat the more glucose is created the more glucose aka sugar we have in our blood the more insulin is released in order to deal with it. Blood sugar level rises, insulin level rises!!!

Insulin is like a switch, when its up it stores fat, when its down we are able to use the fat by way of hormone sensitive lipase.

Problem is like a mouse hiding from a cat, hormone sensitive lipase won’t come out until insulin is down. Insulin won’t go down or stop increasing until there is no glucose left to store. There is no glucose left to store if there are no more carbs being consumed.

How can we get the insulin switch off and hormone sensitive lipase on?

Reduce The Carbs, Reduce The Insulin

Just imagine for a minute if you grazed or snacked throughout the day, insulin would almost constantly be on trying to deal with the constant glucose, hormone sensitive lipase would never be able to activate and do its thing. You would constantly be storing and never using.

By reducing or eliminating the amount of carbs you eat at every meal you can reduce the amount of glucose released into the blood, which in turn would mean a lower level of insulin needed to be produced and less glucose stored in fat cells.

Also by not snacking or grazing in between meals will also allow insulin time to complete its glucose storage and settle back down. In turn hormone sensitive lipase will have the opportunity to activate and release the fat from the cells to be used as energy.

So How Does Hormone Sensitive Lipase Do What It Does?

Hormone sensitive lipase breaks down the triglyceride back into four pieces, so it can move out of the cell. The triglyceride reforms and heads off into the unknown to be used as fuel within the body… energy to burn.

Summary

Healthy Food Guidelines are not one size fits all…(or anyone for that matter)

Carbohydrate is made up of sugar molecules, (saccharide), and is found in grains, pasta, breads, veges, fruit, fast food, processed foods etc

The body does not like sticky blood. The more glucose in your system the more insulin the pancreas creates.

There’s a limit to how much glucose you can store as glycogen in muscles & liver before it stars storing as fat

Keep an eye on your carb intake. Your body can only use so much of it before it has to be stored as in fat cells. If your constantly eating carbs or snacking throughout the day you’re flooding your blood with glucose, sticky blood. Eliminate the carbs or limit them and allow time between meals for insulin and hormone sensitive lipase to do their things.

Insulin is the key, or switch, to weight gain if it’s up fat storage is all on and fat burning hormone sensitive lipase is off.

Stick with your protein, aim for unprocessed foods. Forget saturated and unsaturated just aim for natural fats.

You are not nor have ever been lazy. The guidelines aren’t your fault, what you have been doing is not your fault but unfortunately, it either has or can become your problem.

If I see you type the word lazy in reference to yourself I will defy the laws of nature and pop out of your screen just to slap you!!

Anyone suggests to you just to eat less & move more..slap them.

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