A startling fact is that carbohydrates are not responsible for making people fat. Don't feel too badly though, you are not the only person who was sold on the idea that a high protein, low carb diet was the only way to lose weight. Here is a simple way to demonstrate this fact. Think about the vegetarians you know, are there any overweight problems among them? The high protein diets rely on a lot of animal fats and proteins, but these vegetarians don't eat them. Startling indeed, isn't it? Maybe you don't know any vegetarians. They certainly are hard to find, especially in the Midwest, where I live. You may wonder about the science involved here. After all, many of those folks promoting the low carb diets are medical doctors, aren't they? Being a medical doctor doesn't mean that you don't ever make any mistakes. Besides, the same science that supports the low carb diet also supports the high carb diet. They didn't get it wrong, they just didn't consider the whole story.
That might sound like a contradiction, but it isn't. I'm going to explain why in just a moment. Fist, let me give you the science on this. You most likely are not a biochemist or a physiologist and neither am I. But I have studied the subjects a bit. Don't focus on the technical jargon in the next paragraph, just try to grasp the overall point. You don't need to be a scientist to use common sense and basic reasoning skills. Ready?
Consider this bit of biochemistry. Malonyl -CoA exists in high amounts when there is plenty of metabolic fuel present. Thus, carnitine acyltransferase is inhibited and this in turn prevents acyl-CoA from crossing into the cell’s mitochondria. Another enzyme is inhibited by the presence of NADH and Thiolase is also inhibited by the presence of Acetyl-COA. In short, when a lot of glucose is present, fatty acid metabolism is inhibited.
It is the last sentence that clues us in here. Basically, a cell will not convert fats into energy if there is glucose present. When the cell has carbs and sugar to work on, it will not convert the fat to energy, thus the fat gets stored. This is why the low carb diets work, with little to zero carbohydrates and subsequently glucose to work on, the fat will be used for energy. This is exactly why the high carb diet works too. When no or little fat is present, it won't be stored as fat.
In addition to this, it is important to realize that it costs the body quite a bit of energy to take carbs and store them as fat. This alone is actually a positive. There really needs to be some form of fat present to make it easier. This should help you understand that whatever your diet consists of, if you want to remain or get thin, you need to avoid mixing fats and carbs together. A fat consists of a fatty acid head and a carbohydrate tail. This means when you mix your fat and carbs together you are asking for trouble, assuming you care about weight, that is.
So now it should be clear why so many people in North America have a weight problem as the NIH was happy to point out a few weeks ago. Think about the typical American diet. It generally consists of lots of combinations of fat and carbs. As Dr. Neal Barnard points out in his book, "Foods That Cause You To Lose Weight", It is fat that makes people fat. Don't want to be a vegetarian? I don't blame you. Really, you don't have to be one. Just quit mixing your proteins/fats and carbohydrates together. Don't overlook the obvious, there is ton of candy and desserts out there that are a mixture of fat and sugar. Meat and potatoes - perhaps this classic is a serious blunder in seperating proteins/fats and carbs. You can probably come up with dozens of examples of potentially fattening mixtures of food on your own.
There are a number of factors to consider when changing your diet.
This article is for information only. It is not intended to prescribe, treat or diagnose any health problem. Consult your physician before changing your diet.