Carbohydrates are evil, make you fat and sabotage our diet. Hardly any nutrient has to contend with so many prejudices as the energy supplier, which we can consume in the form of fruits, vegetables, but also baked goods and sweets. But is this attitude towards carbohydrates justified? Let me tell you this: yes, carbohydrates can make you fat under certain conditions, and they will always slow down your fat burning. Nevertheless, we should not demonize them!
Do we need carbohydrates at all?
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that is used by the body as well as fat as a source of energy and thus performs other tasks in the body than the third large macronutrient Protein, which is used by the body only in exceptional cases and also only in small amounts to ensure the energy reserves. Carbohydrates and fats can be used in different ways by the cells of our body, leaving it to the simple subdivision aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen). While the aerobic metabolism succeeds with both carbohydrates and fats, only carbohydrates can be used anaerobically by the body.
This is also the reason why we can theoretically not do without this macronutrient completely. There are cells (blood and parts of the nervous system) that are only able to generate energy without oxygen and therefore depend on carbohydrates. We are talking about about 30 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Another carbohydrate consumer in our body is the brain. This requires about 120 grams of carbohydrates every day and gets them out of the blood. However, since only a few grams float around in it, the liver in our body ensures continuous replenishment to ensure the supply of the brain. Even if we radically renounce carbohydrates and the brain draws its energy from so-called ketone bodies, which are produced in a low carb diet, the thinking organ still demands a few carbohydrates, so that we can assume about 50 grams per day, which the body itself needs in a carbohydrate-reduced diet.
If our organism does not receive these via food, the liver produces the necessary carbohydrates from breakdown products and amino acids. In total, about 150 grams of carbohydrates (30 grams of blood and nervous system, 120 grams of brain) are consumed every day by themselves, and this amount is further increased by physical exercise and intensive Training.
Do carbohydrates make you fat?
When we eat carbohydrates, they enter our blood via the digestive tract and the liver. I already wrote that only a few grams of the macronutrient are dissolved in it. This value is described by the blood sugar level. The blood sugar level must be (permanently) in a certain corridor, which is quite narrow. Both hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia can be fatal, and healthy people don't have to worry about it. Even if we feel weak or tired because we are hypoglycaemic, the liver manages to compensate for this condition quickly enough. A healthy person does not die from too little carbohydrates.
If our blood sugar level is too high, the hormone Insulin is released. Insulin should ensure that the carbohydrates are transported from the blood to the cells. Not just any cells, but especially our muscles, which are equipped with carbohydrate stores. We can increase the size and number of stores by exercising in the gym in two ways: on the one hand, more muscle mass also means more carbohydrate stores at the same time. On the other hand, the already existing memory increases with well-trained muscles.
This sounds good so far, but what if the carbohydrate stores of the muscles are filled? Further stores are located in the liver, whereby the size varies according to body stature and the liver under normal circumstances will never completely empty its stores. If these carbohydrate stores are also filled, the carbohydrates must either be used by the body for energy production or stored in another form. What Form is that? You know it: fat.
In the liver and fat cells, the carbohydrates from the blood are converted to fat, which is either stored in the existing fat cells or gets into newly created fat cells in case of need. This fat is later consumed again, when no new macronutrients enter the body through food. Depending on how our calorie balance turns out, at the end of the day, we will consume more body fat than (new) or the other way around, which becomes apparent after a few days and weeks in an increase or decrease.
Can you prevent carbohydrates from being converted to fat? You can! By moving (sporty), letting your muscles work in Training and also actively shaping your everyday life. In particular, severe physical challenges, such as exercising in the gym, empty the memory of the muscles (in part) and ensure that the next meal ends up in the muscle and not in the love Handles. Seen in this way, therefore, do not make carbohydrates fat, but only too little exercise and a calorie surplus!
Insulin slows fat burning
I already mentioned the hormone Insulin, which ensures that the blood sugar level is regulated back down after eating carbohydrates. When Insulin is released, this simultaneously ensures that the production of an enzyme called HSL is slowed down. The Hormone-Sensitive Lipase, as HSL is called completely, releases fatty acids from our fat cells and thus ensures that these enter the blood and can be used by the body for energy production.
The fat brake should not be resented by your body, because it is extremely useful: after all, just more than enough macronutrients swim in the blood in the form of carbohydrates, which can be used for energy production. High blood lipids are by no means healthy, but not as dangerous as hyperglycaemia, so that this process can also be understood to a certain extent as a safety measure of the body.
As soon as the blood sugar level is stable, the insulin release also decreases again. One should not make the mistakes and make" fast carbohydrates", which provide for a stronger insulin release, look like" evil". If we have moved in advance and emptied our muscle stores sufficiently, it does not matter whether we eat "slow" or "fast" carbohydrates.
Seen this way, it is true that carbohydrates slow down your fat burning. However, this only applies for the moment. The crucial point remains the calorie balance.