Carbohydrates are great, they are the bodies preferred source of fuel providing instant energy when needed. Endurance athletes need more than most as they are continually drawing on the bodies resources, consider them as a high octane fuel in a well oiled machine. However they are also at the source of the obesity problem and so you should monitor very carefully both the type and quantity you eat as they have a dramatic effect on the body chemistry.
It is without question that blood sugar levels are the driving force in the fat storage mechanism as this determines the level of insulin production. This goes against many who believe fat or more specifically saturated fat and over consumption are the drivers. This is incorrect as increasing numbers of scientific studies now show that it’s consumption of a high carbohydrate diet and not a high fat diet that is the main cause of fat accumulation, excess consumption of food is a symptom of being overweight and not the other way around. It is the fat cells themselves that disrupt the body chemistry which tell the brain to eat more and more. The alienation of saturated fat began in the 1950’s thanks to the now discredited findings of an American scientist by the name of Ancel Keys.
So back to the real culprits, when consumed carbohydrates are quickly converted into glucose and enter the blood stream (blood sugar). Of the two types of carbohydrate simple and complex it is the simple form (sweets, syrups, table sugar, alcohol, soda drinks, fruit juices) that have the biggest impact on blood sugar levels. These simple forms have little to no nutritional value but small amounts can be converted for use as instant energy, great…but hang on a moment. In order for the body to be able to use glucose as fuel it produces a hormone called insulin whose job it is to transport glucose from the blood to the cells, liver and muscles. The problem is these energy storage banks don’t have much capacity and so quickly become full. When this happens all surplus glucose in the blood gets stored in the fat cells. If this were to be an irregular event there would be little to worry about. But it’s not, as our present day diet is filled with refined carbohydrates in the form of processed foods and drinks, bread, pasta, pastries, soda’s, fruit juices etc. As a result we find ourselves with consistently high levels of insulin working overtime to lower blood sugar. The presence of high levels of insulin mean three things:
1. Fat cells unable to convert fat to energy
2. Weight Gain
3. Insulin Intolerance ( This is very bad!)
You have basically turned your body into a fat storing machine by constantly feeding it a high carbohydrate diet. Because our bodies cannot tolerate sustained high blood sugar levels a condition called insulin resistance begins to take effect. This is very serious and linked to many of the modern autoimmune and degenerative diseases we see today.
So what can happen when your body is a fat storing machine? How about type II diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, cancer, Alzheimers to name a few. Americans are adding, on average one and a half pounds of fat each year with Britain a close second.
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