Can Eating a Low Carbohydrate Diet Make Us Fatter

As will become clearer in Chapter 8, eating too much energy makes us fat, not too much of any one energy nutrient such as carbohydrate. Without question eating a high carbohydrate diet in conjunction with eating excessive energy will certainly support weight (fat) gain; so too will eating excessive fat and/or protein.

One of the reasons that carbohydrates have been bashed as of late is because of the effects of insulin upon stored fat. Insulin hinders the release of fat from adipose tissue. Therefore many dieters believe that carbohydrates, or more specifically insulin, are working against them. However, this function of insulin is very important in the normal scheme of things. By design, insulin keeps the fat tissue from breaking down and releasing fat during and for a couple of hours after a meal. At this time absorbed food energy nutrients are circulating in our blood so there would be no need to break down our fat stores. Insulin will also promote the formation of fat from excess diet energy. So, the combination of decreased fat breakdown and increased fat production may lead people to believe that insulin makes them fat!

Before we dismiss the notion that insulin is working against people in their quest to lose body fat, we should recognize that many people have elevated insulin and glucose levels during fasting. More times than not this occurs in people who have a higher level of body fat and low levels of activity. Thus eating a higher carbohydrate diet may indeed work against them to some degree. And eating a lower carbohydrate diet would allow for a higher proportion of fat to be used for energy. We discuss this more in Chapter 8.

High carbohydrate diets can increase body fat when too many calories are consumed by decreasing the burning of stored fat and forming new fat.

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