In Singapore, 1.7 million people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 23 or greater are vulnerable to developing obesity related diseases such as heart diseases and diabetes, according to a National Health Survey. In fact more than three quarters of these people are either already pre-diabetic or suffer at least one chronic condition. Maybe this is why there has been a proliferation of contests, books and talk shows selling new ways of losing weight to stay in shape, which often involve cutting carbs from your diet. However, exercise or fitness pundits hardly ever give a detailed explanation why people should eat fewer carbs.
Carbs, not fats, make you fat
What usually happens is that when you eat carbohydrates the body’s digestive system breaks them down into sugar, which enters the blood. This sugar is also referred to as glucose and the body uses it for energy. However, if the blood sugar levels are high, the body uses some of it as energy while the rest is either stored in the liver as glycogen or stored as fat in the cells with the help of insulin. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more the production of insulin which acts by turning all the extra glucose your body doesn’t use into fat.
Cutting carbs to maintain a healthy weight
The glucose converted into fat by insulin in your body is what makes you prone to unpleasant diseases. In fact, overweight adults who stick to a diet that emphasizes eating fewer carbs and replacing them with more fat increase their metabolism according to a 2018 study published on the journal BMJ. Researchers in the study found that these people’s bodies burned about 250 calories more per day than people that eat more carbohydrates and less fat. So when there is less carbohydrates in your diet, it forces your body to rely on burning the fat stored in your body as a source of energy. This means that if you add exercises such as yoga to your low-carb diet, you may start losing weight at a rapid rate. It also acts as a preventative measure against diseases that can lower your quality of life significantly.
Eating fewer carbs prevents diseases
Since eating fewer carbs helps you keep the weight away, it means that you are less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes develops when your body can no longer use insulin effectively, which is referred to as insulin resistance. The more overweight or obese you are the more resistant your muscle and tissue cells become to your own insulin hormone. This forces the body to produce more insulin than normal which leads to you developing Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can cause conditions such as stroke, kidney failure, heart disease, and even blindness according to an article on the National Institute of Education website.
However, keeping the flab away by cutting carbs is not a mathematical equation that works the same in all contexts. You still have to pay attention to the amount of fiber you eat, the exercise you do and the state of your mind. Apart from that, different people react differently to certain diets. All this means that you weight loss or fitness journey should not be a temporary thing but a total overhaul of your lifestyle.