For long, we have always been criticizing fat in our diet, but new research says that it’s carbohydrates that are harmful! Find out whether fat or carb – the real villain in your weight gain. 

In fact, in the 1970s, dietary guidelines around the world promoted the food pyramid, which recommended you reduce fat and include more carbohydrates in the form of bread and cereals. Thus, reducing fat became a cornerstone of health advice for the next 40 years or so.

Has the simple eat less fat worked very well? With the current epidemic of obesity and type 2 Diabetes around the world, we can see that this message has not really worked well. What happened was people ate less fat and replaced it with a lot of processed carbohydrates, especially sugar.

And now, several doctors and researchers are proposing to flip the message. Instead of reducing fat, you need to reduce carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates are Non-Essential Nutrient

If you remove carbohydrate from your diet, the body can switch to burning your fat stores in order to generate energy. South African Professor Tim Noakes believes that humans have a minimal requirement for carbohydrates. Whereas there are essential fats and essential proteins that we cannot generate in your body. Your body has the liver, which produces as much glucose as you require.

The optimal level of carbohydrate depends on how well your body metabolizes it. Some people process carbohydrates better than others. In fact, some people are not even aware that they are carbohydrate-intolerant.

Carbohydrate-intolerance manifests itself as belly fat. People with a history of type 2 diabetes in the family, prediabetic or obese commonly manifest carbohydrate intolerance.

The surge in carbohydrate consumption has contributed directly to the obesity epidemic. Why? Because carbohydrates stimulate a hormone called insulin, which increases the body’s fat stores.

Off the three dietary macro-nutrients, carbohydrates are the most potent stimulator of insulin. When you eat fat, you get no insulin response and when you eat protein, you get a moderate response. On the other hand, when you eat high carbohydrate, you get relatively higher responses.


The Science Behind Low-Carb Diets

It has always been assumed that carbohydrates are an essential fuel source for exercise and physical activity. Especially athletes always tend to load on carbs before explosive events. However, it is not necessary to load up on carbs, you can last just as long by burning your fat for fuel.

A study undertaken by Dr. Steve Phinney put 5 bike racers on a low-carb, high-fat diet. Then they tested their performance after a gap of 4 weeks of adopting the same diet. This study discovered that these racers were still able to sustain their previous performance with the absence of carbohydrates.

This is because ketones become an alternative source of energy. They are produced when fat is burnt. And, this can be the best possible way to deplete your fat stores in the body and shed excess body weight.

Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

With a lot being said about the benefits of eating healthy fat, saturated fat is often presented as a villain for the heart. A common perception amongst all is that “Isn’t all that fat I am eating going to clog my arteries”?

The simple answer is no as there is no conclusive evidence linking saturated fat with heart disease. On the contrary, it is a high carbohydrate consumption that is to blame. Since it increases the rate of triglycerides in the body, it can lead to the progression of plaque deposits and inflammation in the body.

The common perception that Saturated fat increases the so-called bad cholesterol or LDL has been exaggerated. In fact, Saturated fats like Coconut oil help to improve the ratio between LDL and HDL cholesterol that is essential for optimal function and reducing heart disease risk.

The inclusion of Saturated fats like Coconut Oil, Ghee, and Butter, Unsaturated fats like Olive Oil, Nuts, Avocados and Omega-3 Fatty acid like flax seed, Fatty fish are considered to be healthy. The real villain for the heart is high-carbohydrate, trans-fat, poly-unsaturated fat rich in Omega-6 Fatty Acid.


Simple Approach to Conquer Weight Management and Type 2 Diabetes

In India, each meal of the day includes carbohydrates whether it is roti, bread or rice. It is no wonder then, that India is on its way to becoming the world’s diabetes capital and has the highest obesity rates after China and the United States.

The simplest way to conquer diabetes and weight is through changing your diet and lowering the load of carbohydrates. Alternatively, have a small serving of whole wheat roti, brown rice, millets with more servings of vegetables. Cook your vegetables with healthy oils like coconut and olive oil and also include ghee, natural spices for a rich flavor. Also, include legumes, lentils like Dhal and healthy nuts to your diet instead.


Final Message

It is time to change the predominant view that fat is the villain when it is indeed the carbohydrates that can be a direct contributor to your weight gain.

The key to maintaining a healthy weight is to keep your carbohydrate consumption minimal by restricting simple carbohydrates and including complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Include moderate amounts of protein intake to sustain your muscle mass and prevent hunger and finally include plenty of healthy fats to your diet without guilt.


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