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Why Carbs Can Make You Fat — an article on the Smart Living Network
May 9, 2008 at 3:38 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Why Carbs Can Make You Fat


Carbohydrates don't have to make you fat. However, many Americans simply choose the wrong kind of carbohydrates, which are essentially devoid of any nutritional value. Eating the right kind of carbohydrates will actually help our bodies to lose weight and keep it off.

Why Some Carbs Make You Fat

Let's consider the type of carbohydrates most Americans eat regularly. Typical carbohydrate products may include:

  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Sweets (cakes, cookies, pastries, etc)
  • Rice

These are the carbohydrates many dieters today try and avoid. However, they're missing the point. The truth lies not in carbohydrates themselves, but in the ingredients of the food. So, you don't need to omit bread, rice and crackers from your diet completely - you simply need to make smarter choices about what bread, rice and crackers you eat.

Refined Grains

The truth is, not all grains are equal. Most dietitians advocate the use of whole grain products as essential part of any diet, and especially for those looking to lose weight. Most processed carbohydrate products today (meaning packaged products you buy in the store) are made from refined grains (white flour). The process of refinement involves breaking down a whole grain and removing the fibrous, vitamin-rich portion of the grain, leaving the product that we know of as white flour behind. From a nutritional standpoint, this doesn't make sense; we want the vitamins! But, when refinement was developed, it was used because the process increased the shelf life of the flour, allowing it to be stored for longer periods of time. Many flour producers do add in some extra nutrients, but not nearly the amount that was present before.

Whole Grains

A whole grain consists of three parts: germ, bran and endosperm. Each part has its own benefits; the germ and bran have by far the most nutrition. The endosperm is what remains after being refined. Apart from the nutrients, of which whole grains have plenty, whole grains are also loaded with protein and fiber. In any diet and especially one geared for weight loss, protein and fiber are essential nutrients. Protein and fiber both work in our bodies to fill us up and keep us fuller for longer periods of time. They are digested slowly in the body, and provide us with a constant stream of energy that lasts much longer than any refined product would. Whole grains are also known as complex carbohydrates.

Carbs Don't Have to Make You Fat

Simply by choosing the right kind of carbohydrates you can maximize your weight loss and not go hungry. Skip the refined products like white bread, white rice, crackers and cakes. Choose products that say they're made with whole grains; be sure the nutrition label says the word whole. Avoid the products that have partially hydrogenated oils, as these contain large amounts of saturated and trans fats. And check the sugar content; not all whole grain products are made equally, some have much more sugar than others. Choose ones made with honey or molasses over just plain sugar.


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