Part 2 of 2
In Part 1 – How one of the most powerful hormones is making you fat of this associated article I explained the workings of Insulin and how carbs have a direct impact on making us fat.
Advocating a low carb diet is in my opinion by far the best solution for so many 21st century ailments that seem to be plaguing society right now. It’s not a fad diet I am suggesting; eating all nutrients and in the process keeping carbohydrates ‘under check’ is good news for everyone’s health.
One of the only scenarios I can think of where carbs are of tremendous assistance is for weight gain. Whilst there are individuals who aim to purposely gain weight, I would recommend that weight is gained in a slow and steady manner and that carbs are not over consumed.
Over consumption of carbs on a regular basis will ultimately result (for 9 out of 10 people) in excess weight gain in the form of fat. If weight gain is your specific goal, then be mindful that at some stage it is highly likely that the weight you gain will be coupled with fat.
Being aware of this is extremely important even in those individuals who struggle to put on weight. The consistent excess consumption of carbs in order to gain weight will ultimately lead to Insulin resistance in most individuals, even for the genetically gifted. This is particularly true as we age as our metabolism slows down and doesn’t process the intake of food as efficiently as it used to. Insulin resistance leads to diabetes and an entire array of potentially terminal illnesses.
Perhaps at this stage of the article you may be thinking it’s inevitable that one day we will all move on from this earth so what’s the big deal? I am certainly not going to argue this point, but what I will outline is that diabetes and many other health-related issues linked to the over consumption of the wrong foods/carbohydrates will wreak havoc on any sort of quality of life you have making the journey through life painful, lethargic with little joy experienced.
Sounds dramatic??? Tell that to those who have fallen into this trap!!!
So what is the correct amount of carbs to consume, or what are the preferred carb amounts we should all look at consuming to avoid early onset of diabetes and potentially a number of other terminal illnesses including cancer. Cancer is strongly linked to excess fat tissue and will (in 2019) affect 1 in 2 people.
Carbohydrates, which are predominantly broken down into sugars once consumed have little to no requirement by the human body. It is well documented that the human brain requires carbs to form energy however what is rarely explained is that the body can create carbs for this purpose and other requirements from other nutrients ingested such as fats and protein. In doing so, there is minimal to no effect on your Insulin levels.
There is a hack to getting away with consuming more carbohydrates than required, if you really want to. This hack is quite simply in the form of exercise.
You see, when we exercise we use muscle tissue which draws upon carbohydrates that are present and in turn lowers our levels of Insulin. As previously discussed, if carbohydrates are not present then the body turns to fats as its preferred source of energy. Let’s be completely frank about this; it’s highly unlikely that any individual would not want their bodies to utilise fats as a source of energy.
In simple terms, most men would greatly benefit by consuming no more than 100-150g of carbohydrates a day and most women 70-120g.
Why the disparity between genders? Lean tissue or body composition is the answer. It’s actually genetic as most men carry greater amounts of lean tissue/muscle then women and will consequently burn or get away with consuming slightly more carbs.
Of course, this is dependent on the lean tissue that each individual male or female carries. Whilst women may seem hapless, with this in mind as a simple rule women do not require as many carbohydrates.
The remainder of nutrients for those looking to optimise health and potentially lose weight should predominantly come from protein, fibre (from vegetables) and healthy fats. Keep in mind that protein fibre and fats keep you fuller for longer making it significantly easier for the body to regulate its hunger requirements.
Please don’t take me out of context; I have no antipathy whatsoever for carbohydrates. I love them just as much as anyone else. However, I am completely and utterly aware of the malign affect that carbs have on our Insulin levels and weight.
When discussing carbs I mean all types of carbohydrates including fruits, which leads me onto my next article, Fruit: Is it good or bad for you? Stay tuned.