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Blog Do Carbs Really Make you Pack on the Pounds?



Do Carbs Really Make you Pack on the Pounds?

  • by David O' Connor
  • June 18, 2015

It’s funny when you think back to a few years back when you believed the ‘Guru’ hype & myths that floated around,

I was one of those who believed the whole ‘Carbs makes you Fat’,

Not so much that I avoided them – it was mainly that I thought that in order for me to get ‘Lean’ as possible I had to eliminate Carbs because ‘Insulin’ makes you store fat. But we know that at the fundamental level, the reason we gain weight is due to Energy Balance, and more specifically, being in a Calorie Surplus.

In today’s world there’s the Fad that ‘Carbs make us Fat’ & it’s just plain wrong really.

So where did you get this Notion from?

Here’s the Whole deal with Insulin & Carbohydrates, we’ll get to a simple Video too in a second…

So, Carbohydrates are the bodies main Source of Fuel. (Breads, Pasta, Potatoes, Chocolate, Vegetables etc.)

When you eat Carbohydrates they’re broken down into Glucose (Sugar that’s used by your Cells for Energy).

Once in your bloodstream your Pancreas recognises this Glucose & releases Insulin to ‘deal’ with this Blood Glucose & store it for Future use. 

But what’s Insulin?

Basically, Insulin is a hormone that the body produces to affect the functions of organs & tissues. And as I said above it’s made & released By Your Pancreas.

Insulin takes this Glucose out of your Bloodstream & allows it to store it in your Muscle, Liver & Fat Cells for future use. Hence when this Glucose comes back down, so does your Insulin levels.

The thing is;

Insulin also basically stops (inhibits) lipolysis (the breakdown of fat) AND stimulates the creation of bodyfat (Fancy Word being Lipogenesis – 1) – along with a few other things too (this ain’t the only thing Insulin does).

So then the basic thinking behind all this is;

‘Ok If I eat Carbs, Insulin will be released and will stop me burning Fat.’

^^and it makes sense too doesn’t it?

So in order to lose weight we should aim to keep Carbs LOW as possible which keeps Insulin Low…. Right?

Now this is the point people Miss,

Or as I like to say cut through the bullsh*t 🙂

In healthy people, Insulin is ONLY elevated during the time AFTER a meal.

As the thinking Goes, and which I actually fell to believe for a long time, when we eat a lot of Carbohydrates in our Diets it leads to our Insulin levels always being Jacked up which means we’ll never burn fat and store it.

But in Healthy People this ain’t the case because Insulin only stays elevated during the time after a meal,

Or in English – In between meals you could say we are in a ‘fat loss state’ (Easy way just to understand it)

So Meal time = Storage.

In between Meals and Sleepy Time = Fat Loss.

Now in people that are Obese/have Type 2 Diabetes with impaired Insulin function, Insulin may stay elevated longer due to impaired Cell Signalling & cause more ‘problems’ (Hunger Signals out of whack etc.) but for now the purpose of this blog to get this Carb Debate OUT of your head 🙂

PLUS as a side note, the funny thing is, Carbs are not the only thing that raises Insulin Levels. Protein is also highly Insulgenic too (it raises your Insulin too) & people simply don’t know/forget this.

So let’s put this into Perspective….

What’s the Story with Carbs, Insulin & Fat Loss?


So like the Video portrayed, for someone to Gain Weight, Fat Accumulation Needs to Exceed Fat Loss.… Not to hard to understand, which means;

the rate of Calories coming in will EXCEED the Calories being expanded.

Likewise if someone is to LOSE weight, the rate of Calories coming in will need to be LESS than the Calories expanded. Like I’ve gone through HERE.

[Tweet “So, Carbs are not the root of all evil. You can still eat them & lose weight (2), so please stop believing this Carb BULL that still floats around today.”]


At the end of the day, it will always come back to Total Calorie Intake.

But this is not the only one part of the bigger picture – People that are overweight/borderline Diabetes may have higher elevated Insulin levels after meals leading to Hormones being out of whack which is the topic for another post. Along with Food palatability, Psychology of it all etc. etc. It’s certainly NOT as easy as Calories in & Calories out.

So after reading that, Part 2 run’s through WHY lowering Carbs when trying to Lose Weight ‘Work’s well’ for many people & why do ‘Carbs’ get such a bad wrap today..

^^Sounds like I’m contradicting myself here but guess you’ll just need to read Blog 2 to find out 😉


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1: Kersten, S. (2001) ‘Mechanisms of Nutritional and Hormonal Regulation of Lipogenesis’ European Molecular Biology Organization: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1083868

2: Shintani TT1, Beckham S, Brown AC, O’Connor HK. (2001) The Hawaii Diet: ad libitum high carbohydrate, low fat multi-cultural diet for the reduction of chronic disease risk factors: obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and hyperglycemia.’ Hawaii Med Journal: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11320614





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David O' Connor
CEO | Head Coach
David's passion lies in coaching you through the easiest path to losing weight, toning up & getting back the confidence that's been hiding for a while. Head Coach & Head of Nutrition at Doc Fitness, if you don't find him there, he's probably training, sipping coffee writing Nutrition articles or playing Hurling for Ballinderreen.