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The Evil of Carbohydrates (?)


In recent years, carbohydrates have been labeled as the nutrition 'bad guy' because of the increases in insulin that occurs during metabolic processes. The secretion of insulin is dependent primarily upon the concentration of blood glucose - an increase of blood sugar brings about an increase in the secretion of insulin. Therefore, one function of insulin is to lower glucose.

Conversely, the body increases blood glucose levels by secreting another hormone called glucagon.

If blood glucose levels remain high, and that energy source is not burned shortly after it is consumed, the excess glucose is shuttled off to the muscles for storage. If the muscles have reached their limit in storage capacity, and the body does not require extra glucose to sustain body activities, the excess converts to fat.

Also, as insulin efficiently clears the blood of excess sugar, blood sugar levels oftentimes dip below normal and will produce the infamous 'sugar blues' or a 'downer', followed by a possible craving for more sugar consumption. Lastly, while insulin levels are high or active, the body will not burn fat as energy since the body is attempting to utilize as much blood sugar as possible. (Note that fat is not used as a primary energy source while eating an energy-sufficient, healthy diet and fat is used more heavily only during periods of fasting and extensive aerobic-type exercise.) Hence, 'high-fat-low-carb' advocates claim that we should not want:

1) Excess carbs to turn into fat (what do they think happens to excess fat and protein kcal?);

2) To feel groggy with low energy from the insulin ups and downs associated with high carbohydrate (sugar) consumption; and

3) High carbs in the diet since they prevent us from burning body fat. Although these factors are true, the extent or magnitude of their validity varies in accordance to a number of conditions, such as:

i) How active is the individual?

ii) How many kcal is the individual ingesting (including carbs) per meal?

iii) What comprises an individual's food and carbohydrate intake?

HOW ACTIVE ARE YOU?

The more active a person, the more carbohydrate he or she should consume. Also, the greater the physical activity, the less insulin the body produces since muscles become insulin sensitive after exercise and glucose tolerance improves as a result. The Food Guide/Pyramid recommends about 50% of kcal in the average individual's diet to be in the form of carbohydrate. Therefore, if a person is very active, the amount should be increased to about 60% since nearly every activity uses a great deal of blood glucose and muscle glycogen for energy, but only a smaller percentage of fat. In fact, athletes who consume a high-carb diet (60%) can maintain higher-intensity exercise longer than those following a low-carb diet (


MORE RESOURCES:

Fox News

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The News Ledge

Weight-loss program rewires brain to crave healthy food, scans show
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Tufts researchers wanted to determine whether anecdotal reports that participants in a weight-loss program developed by Roberts no longer craved junk food. Were there were actual neurobiological changes in brain? To determine this, The Tufts scientists ...
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Low Carb Beats Low Fat for Weight Loss, CV Risk
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For weight loss and for reducing cardiovascular risk, cutting down on carbs was a more effective strategy than limiting fat intake in a randomized trial, researchers found. At 12 months, individuals on a low-carbohydrate diet had lost 5.3 kg (11.7 lb ...



Science Recorder

Diet wars: Low carb-diet defeats low-fat diet in weight loss, study finds
Science Recorder
In one study, researchers found that a low-carbohydrate diet is more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors than a low-fat diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of American adults ...
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For Weight Loss, Low-Carb Diet Beats Low-Fat
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A new study published today in Annals of Internal Medicine found that when people followed either a low-fat or low-carb diet for a year, those who cut carbs lost significantly more weight and fat, while reducing their heart disease risk factors more ...


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