Carbohydrates are foods that become broken down by the body into glucose, which is a process that releases insulin from the pancreas into the bloodstream.
When these carbs are simple sugars, or highly processed like high fructose corn syrup, they cause a spike in the blood sugar level and this cause and increase in the amount of insulin released.
This is significant, because insulin is a storage hormone. This means that insulin has the function of moving the nutrients in your foods throughout the body to different storage sites, like to your muscles or fat cells and thus, eating highly sweet carbohydrates causes an increase in the storage of the fat cells.
Measuring The Sugar Content Of Carbohydrates
To begin with, all carbs are not highly sweet like sugar, or otherwise unhealthy foods that cause fat storage; these are known as simple carbohydrates. There are also complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber content and slow to digest.
These are important distinctions to understand, because they determine the rate that the carbs are converted into glucose and absorbed the body the slower the absorption, the lower the blood sugar and insulin release.
So, the key for not accumulating increased fat storage, when eating carbohydrates, is the sweetness level and the speed that the sugars enter into your bloodstream.
In order to measure the sweetness level of carbohydrates as compared to glucose, the glycemic index was developed. This index is a ranking scale between 0-100, with the higher the value the more similar the food is to simple sugar. And the higher the GI level, the greater the anticipated increase in blood sugar and insulin levels will be.
Combining High Sugar Carbohydrates With Fats
Now consider what happens when you eat a combination of high glycemic carbohydrates, with foods that also have higher relative fat content regardless of whether these are good healthy fats.
We know that the high GI carbs are going to be quickly absorbed and cause more insulin to be released, which will lead to increased movement directly to fat cells and the fats that were eaten are also going to be moved to fat cells with the carbs.
Understanding this relationship between insulin and nutrient movement is very important. For instance, this is why your post-workout meal, after doing high intensity strength exercise, should combine high levels of protein with high levels of carbohydrates.
A workout of this type will deplete the glycogen levels in your muscles. The high levels of carbohydrates will replenish glycogen, instead of being stored in fat cells. And the high levels of protein will also be moved to your muscle, where they can perform their functions of growth and recovery.
But this is not what happens when you eat a high simple carbohydrate high fat combination. Now, instead of replacing glycogen and sending protein to the muscles – the foods sugar and fat are moved to your fat cells, which is why insulin has become known as the hormone responsible for storing fat.
A Healthy High Carb And High Fat Snack
Do you regard the following foods as healthy: raisins, sunflower seeds, dates, almonds?
There is nothing nutritionally wrong with natural raisins and dates, and sunflower seeds and almonds are good fats. The problem comes from combining these together, because the combination is one of higher GI carbs, with high amounts of fats.
And as we have been discussing, when the carbohydrates release more insulin into the blood stream, at the same time as the fatty acids, they are going to be stored together as fat.
So, it is important to understand that fat and weight loss arent simply a function of the number of calories or the nutritional content of the foods – the key is the management of carbohydrates and their impact on increased levels of insulin.
As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to eat lean protein with every meal: (1) eat proteins with carbohydrates earlier in the day and post-workout, when your metabolism is at its highest (2) eat proteins with healthy fats later in the day. And dont eat simple carbohydrates alone with fats, as it is a fat storage problem.
In my website Nutritional Health And Fitness Lifestyle, I further discusses the impact of nutrition on fat burning, along with including many healthy high protein recipes: http://www.naturalnutritionalhealth.com
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