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Are Carbohydrates That Bad for Weight Loss?

carbs and weight loss
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If you are really serious about losing weight, then I think it is pertinent to know the difference between complex carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates and how essential it is to the body.

Often, not being able to distinguish the difference is one of the main reasons that most people are not able to lose weight.

In desperation, most people cut out carbohydrates altogether.

Quick Read: How eating healthy fats can help you lose weight faster than normal

What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. Though often maligned in trendy diets, carbohydrates — one of the basic food groups — and are important to a healthy life.

milk and carbohydrates
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They are made up of simple sugars like glucose, galactose (milk sugar) or fructose (fruit sugar). The body’s preferred fuel choice is glucose which is a very simple sugar molecule derived from carbohydrates.

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The red blood cells depend exclusively on glucose for energy production. Also, glucose is the brain’s preferred fuel. Your brain cannot burn fat for fuel.

Glucose is also an excellent source of energy when sudden and quick exertion is required such as a sprint.  Fat is a better source of energy when a long and sustained energy source is required such as going for a marathon.

Complex and Refined Carbohydrate

Digestion of carbohydrates requires the breakdown of polymers into monomers such as glucose, fructose, and galactose. The body can only utilize carbohydrates for energy when the longer chains are broken down into simple glucose molecules.

Only simple sugars such as glucose and galactose can be absorbed through the intestine.

  • Complex carbohydrates are food found in its natural form. These include fruits, seeds, nuts, vegetables and unprocessed or whole grain.
  • Refined carbohydrates are also known as simple carbohydrates or simple sugars.

They are grain products that have been processed by a food manufacturer so that the whole grain is no longer intact.

Refined carbohydrates are easy to identify as it comes as a refined powder in its raw state. Most of the times it is white in color. Common examples of this include white rice, white flour, and white bread.

Most junk food, pastries, fruit juices, colas, sodas, and desserts are made of simple or refined carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates Provide a Steady Source of Energy

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Digestive enzymes have to work much harder to break the glycosidic bonds of complex carbohydrates into individual sugar molecules.

The breakdown of these long chains takes longer time and energy. For this reason, digesting a whole grain takes much more energy and time and you feel fuller longer. That means consuming a complex carb has a higher satiety index and reduces your appetite for food consumption.

The slow and steady digestion process of a complex carbohydrate ensures that there is a steady supply of energy to meet your needs.

Refined Carbohydrates Are Stored As Fat

Simple or refined carbohydrates need very little digestion time and effort.

Refined carbohydrates are broken down very easily and are rapidly absorbed through the intestine. At times, the carbohydrate is so refined that the process of digestion is boycotted. There is a glucose spike in the bloodstream and usually, results in excess available energy.

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The body stores the excess glucose as glycogen and fat. Once all the excess glucose is used up by being stored as fat and used to meet the immediate energy needs, you will become hungry again.

This will result in low satiety and stimulates high food consumption. Eating refined carbohydrates will result in very rapid weight gain. The sudden spike of sugar molecules requires that your body over-secretes insulin into the bloodstream to regulate the blood sugar levels.

The body tries very hard to keep blood sugar within a very tight range and it achieves this via the insulin hormone.

Eat Carbohydrate In Its Natural Form

Eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.

An orange is a complex carbohydrate with a lot of fiber while orange juice is full of simple sugars. Besides, the sugar index of a whole orange is not as high as that of a pack of orange juice.

Eat whole wheat or wheat bread instead of white bread
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Eat whole wheat or wheat bread instead of white bread. Eat brown rice instead of processed white rice. Ensure that 90 of your carbohydrate consumption consists mostly of complex carbohydrates.

This will help normalize blood sugar; insulin levels as well as allows you to lose weight. Complex carbohydrates will enable you to properly achieve correct weight loss.

In addition, eating complex carbs stimulates bowel emptying due to its high fiber contents which are also good for the digestive system.

Final Thoughts

For optimal health and weight loss, try to get the majority of your carbs from natural sources rather than refined products.

If a food comes with a long list of ingredients, it is probably not a healthy carb source.

Avoiding refined carbs also reduces your risk factors for so many chronic diseases, so stay clear. Serious about weight loss? See this shinny post on 11 Healthy Foods For Fast Fat Loss next 🙂

Emmanuel is a Bio-chemist currently pursuing his masters degree in one of the most prestigious schools in Nigeria. He is passionate about health and fitness as well as creating guides to help you live a good life. Get in touch: [email protected]