The Carbohydrate-Weight Gain Connection

Obesity and poor health are a growing epidemic in our society. Misleading mainstream information and the development of artificial food products supporting lifestyle abnormalities are some of the reasons for our eroding health and excessive weight. For years the mainstream community of rule-makers had us believing we should eat an abundance of carbohydrates. Lots of breads, cereals and pasta were recommendationed. Now we are finding out that poor health and weight gain can be the result of excessive carbohydrate consumption. In addition, food manufacturers continue to make convenience foods loaded with taste enhancing chemicals in place of real ingredients, all designed for instant consumption in a fast paced environment. For example, "Meal On the Go Bars" are nothing more than high carb candy bars with negligible amounts of vitamins added. Human physiology is not designed to eat "on the go" and our bodies are certainly not able to process chemical additives and artificial ingredients in place of whole foods.

Antibiotics and toxins from meat and dairy products are becoming more concentrated than ever. Farming has become an assembly line of mass production with little regard to the health consequences of both animals and humans, resulting from their practices.

The entire concept is flawed; designed to accommodate life in a fast-paced, multi-tasking atmosphere which we are also not made for.

Less emphasis is placed on learning how to create and manage proper nutrition because that takes time. Many of us are looking for a quick fix in the form of something to take. If you want to create good health, you must possess the knowledge to make that happen. You have to take responsibility for the state of your health. Running to the doctor to fix what you created in the first place, is not the answer. This mindless process usually leads to prescription drug dependency, debility, disease and premature death.

How we eat and live from day to day has an overwhelming influence on the way we feel, look, and perform. Nutrition also affects our general state of health, productivity and longevity.

Awareness of proper nutrition must be obtained from outside the flow of mainstream information. This involves an abundance of reading, research and understanding practices of a healthy lifestyle from reliable sources. The result can have a dramatic effect upon the quality and prognosis of your state of health. For example, medical research shows that very few diseases are inherited or passed on through generations. What is passed on are the dietary habits from each generation and the disorders that result, often creating the same diseases. People who become diabetic frequently follow the poor eating habits and high carbohydrate and sugar food choices of their ancestors, who were also diabetic. Usually these family health issues shift when proper dietary and lifestyle changes are permanently implemented.

Poor health and weight gain are also the result of improper nutrition and excessive consumption of carbohydrates. Carbs are converted to glucose necessary for proper brain function. Once you exceed the liver's storage capacity for carbohydrates (approx. 60-90 grams) the rest is stored as fat. Here's how: High carb meals create elevated blood sugar levels. Insulin is secreted to lower these high levels. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and sends the excess carbohydrates to be stored as fat. As we continue to exceed our carbohydrate storage capacity, the increased insulin levels prevent the body from losing any stored fat as well. This is why many of us find it difficult to lose weight. In order to lose weight and maintain proper body weight, protein should be included with each meal. To determine how much protein your body requires, multiply 0.36 times your ideal body weight. The result will equal your daily protein requirement in grams. For anyone trying to lose weight or achieve a higher degree of health, I suggest skipping refined carbohydrate foods made with white flour, like crackers, breads, pastries, cakes and other dessert foods. Also limit or eliminate potatoes, white rice and pasta.

For example, if you are having chicken or fish, skip the potatoes, rice or bread and just include high quality steamed vegetables, like broccoli, squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, spinach or green beans. These carbohydrates contain natural fiber that will moderate insulin reactions.

Limiting carbohydrate intake to below 40 per cent of your daily diet can increase the fat burning process and will stop weight gain from excessive carbohydrates.

Excessive carb consumption will also cause insulin to lower blood sugar levels resulting in more carbohydrate cravings within a few hours after a meal. This is a good indication to make further dietary adjustments on your next meal.

For more information on carbohydrates and weight gain check out the following books: Enter The Zone by Barry Sears, PhD; Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution by Robert Atkins, MD.

About the author

Jay Richards is a freelance Nutritional Advice Columnist who has more than 20 years professional experience researching the effects of vitamin supplements, brain boosters, and dietary strategies that promote health and well being.


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