January 31, 2023

Filipino Guardian

Sentinels of Filipino Free Press

Carbs don’t make you fat

By Shoshana Pritzker

Afraid of carbohydrates? Get over it! Enough of that “carbs make you fat” mumbo-jumbo. It’s a shame that mainstream America has no idea that eating carbs doesn’t make you fat. It’s true that you can actually burn fat while eating them on a daily basis. The key is eating the right types of carbohydrates at the right time. Refined carbohydrates like white bread and sugar are the wrong choices. Studies show that sticking to carbohydrates like whole grain breads and legumes, wheat pasta, beans, and sweet potatoes is optimal while keeping intake to about 50 percent of daily calories.1

Sure, you can lose fat by cutting out carbohydrates. My question to you is why would you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet entirely if it is not necessary for effective weight loss and control? Not only are carbs absolutely delicious, but they also provide energy to fuel your day and, more importantly, your workouts.

Of the three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats), carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient in the human body. Because the body can convert proteins and fats into energy in the form of glucose (sugar), carbohydrates may not be needed. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip these high-energy foods. As long as you’re eating the right carbs the “right way,” you’re on your way to a tighter stomach.

The right stuff

A carbohydrate is not just a carbohydrate. The idea of ​​using the glycemic index for weight management dates back well over a decade to help prevent diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The glycemic index is a ranking of foods on a scale of 0-100 based on the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after consumption. Foods that score high on the GI scale are those that are quickly absorbed and cause a rapid rise in insulin, leading to fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

It’s these foods that we overindulge in that cause nothing but continuous spikes in insulin when the body has no use for it. This sugar ends up being stored as fat. Rapid increases in insulin and blood sugar levels cause diabetes and obesity, two factors that lead to heart disease and ultimately a shorter lifespan. Low GI carbohydrates are absorbed much more slowly, resulting in a gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Studies have found that diets high in low-GI foods lower serum triglycerides, lipoproteins, and blood cholesterol levels. They have been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin levels in diabetics. Low GI carbohydrates show positive health benefits in weight management by increasing satiety, controlling hunger, improving insulin resistance, and controlling insulin surges.2 So you see, not all carbohydrates are created equal.

To determine which carbohydrates fall under which end of the spectrum, you can do one of two things: log on to the official Glycemic Index homepage, glycemicindex.com, and search their database for a specific food, or you can go to an understanding of what types of high or low GI foods are identified. Here’s a primer on the latter option to break things down for you.

First, let’s focus on which rating is considered high, low, or medium. A GI score of 70 or greater is considered high, 56-69 medium, and 55 and below low. Remember that the amount of carbohydrates in a food must also be considered when considering how quickly a food is digested.

To be on the safe side, sticking with natural foods is always ideal. Heavily processed baked goods and ready meals tend to be higher in sugar, saturated fat, and empty calories, resulting in a higher score on the GI scale. Whole grains, legumes, beans, and even fruit are all better choices than white bread, white rice, and of course cakes, cookies, and candy. Just because a food is considered natural doesn’t mean it’s low on the GI scale. These products are best consumed post-workout when your body is using that insulin spike to drive protein into muscle for repair.

An excellent post-workout carbohydrate source could be pineapple or rice cakes, for example, as they are medium to high on the GI scale. While your best choice for breakfast or lunch would be a few slices of Ezekiel toast (flourless bread) or some hummus with carrots. Do you see the big picture here? The idea is to use carbs when you need them most (breakfast, first half of the day, and post-workout).

Bottom line: Carbohydrates don’t make you fat… overproduction of insulin does! Control insulin by controlling the foods you eat and it’s a win-win situation. You can eat carbs and stay fit too!

1. Choose hot or cold whole grain cereals for breakfast. These foods replenish your energy stores after a fast night and provide energy for your day. They also ensure a full stomach between meals.

2. Try using flourless breads like Ezekiel 4:9 from Food for Life. Make yourself a sandwich and toss it in a cooler for lunch. Flour (white or brown) absorbs quickly, so drop it whenever possible.

3. Skip the sugary drinks. Drinking your carbs is a great way to fill up on excess calories. Leave your carb intake to whole food meals; They are more nutritious and filling.

4. Bring on the beans. Chickpeas, beans, lentils and even soybeans are very low GI and make a delicious addition to any healthy diet.

5. Combine your carbs with healthy fats and lean proteins. Protein and fat (particularly fat) are absorbed slightly more slowly than carbohydrates. Pairing these items will slow down the overall meal intake. Not to mention that you’ll make a more balanced meal this way.


1. Kaufman, AT et al. (2009). Carbohydrate intake and overweight and obesity in healthy adults. American Dietetic Association, 109:1165-1172.

2. De Natale, C. et al. (2009). Effects of a plant-based, high-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet versus a monounsaturated, low-carbohydrate diet on postprandial lipids in type 2 diabetics. diabetes treatment.