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How Do Carbohydrates Cause Weight Gain?

I’m concerned particularly about people who are nearly eliminating all fat and protein from their diet, so that they are eating 90% carbohydrates. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says approximately 50 percent of your total daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) as they provide fibre, minerals and vitamins.

While this article isn’t on the issue of increasing your nutritional levels not doing this does directly impact your health, and this is an important part of the two-pronged approach to health that the Savvy Wellness Concepts revolves around.

In this post however I am taking a side-road to fill you in on some important information as to why your ‘sensible food choices’ could be causing your weight gain. The Conventional Wisdom approach to fitness is clearly not working! Stress is excessive, weight loss goals are compromised, and many are misguided to pursue narrow fitness goals that are unhealthy.

Carbohydrate intake is often the decisive factor in weight loss success and prevention and reversal of widespread health problems like Metabolic Syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes. So perhaps it’s time to consider something that’s staring us right in our face – that whole bottom row of the old food pyramid – yes the culprit is carbs!

Eating too many and refined carbohydrates makes you gain weight, especially in conjunction with sugar. The NIH says the main purpose of carbohydrates is to fuel the body with energy, with special emphasis placed on the brain and the nervous system. Depending on the chemical makeup of the food and how rapidly the sugar is digested and soaked up, carbohydrates are labeled as either simple or complex. Complex carbohydrates come from plants such as fruits and vegetables that are fresh and good quality, loaded with good carbohydrates that are packed with fiber.

As the NIH says, 50 percent of your total daily calories should come from the bulk of these complex carbohydrates. Other complex carbohydrates (whole grains, brown rice) should not form the bulk of your meal, and definitely not form the bulk of your carbohydrate load, as they can tax your digestive tract and cause liver issues.

Simple Carbohydrates & Weight Gain

Simple carbs are those contained in table sugar, candy, most syrups and non-diet soda and rice, pasta, and most wheat products. These so-called “empty calories” can quickly lead to weight gain when eaten in excessive amounts. In addition, a wide assortment of foods with a high sugar content such as chocolate, pastries, donuts and cakes are also high in fat or prepared with fat, making it easier to pack on the pounds when consuming simple carbs.

In Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: Why Carbohydrates Matter to You,  Magee wrote in September 2002, “the National Academies Institute of Medicine recommended that people focus on getting more good carbs with fiber into their diet. The following statements are based on information given in the report:

• To meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from healthy fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.

• There is only one way to get fibre – eat plant foods. Plants such as fruits and vegetables are quality carbohydrates that are loaded with fibre. Studies show an increased risk for heart disease with low-fibre diets. There is also some evidence to suggest that fibre in the diet may also help to prevent colon cancer and promote weight control.

This 45% – 65% carbohydrate portion is in terms of weight, which means that your vegetable portion – vegetables are low in calories – should be much larger in volume than your protein portion (protein and fats are denser and weigh more), but that it should come from complex carbohydrates (ie: not potato chips, pasta, rice), and notice that 10% – 35% should be in the form of good fats!

Also if you do not have enough sleep the liver cannot complete it’s processes. People gain and retain even more weight on highly refined carbohydrates and high trans-fatty diets if they try to survive on less sleep than they really need. Going to bed around 10 ish is ideal for most.

There are so many different theories on what the actual ratios are. Check out what Nora Gedgauda, one of the World’s leading experts on Paleolithic (Paleo) nutrition and author of the international best selling book “Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond The Paleo Diet For Total Health and a Longer Life” says about the ten top nutritional mistakes most people make.

Mark Sisson’s Primal Pyramid was made to explain what he eats to people … he said it’s so much easier to show them a picture than to go through all the details of what’s allowed and what’s not!! Mark Sisson has a new book, The Primal Blueprint. Order a copy today and start getting Primal, it’s mostly based on the recommendations in Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas!

So I hope that has given you a glimpse of why we in the Savvy Team recommend you reduce your carbohydrate intake, which I believe has resulted from the inappropriate food-triangle used as public propaganda by governments around the world.

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