Why Carbohydrates Appear Evil

Health on June 8th, 2010 No Comments

In my last post I explained to you why carbohydrates are your friends.  Now I will explain to you why many consider carbohydrates to be evil.

  1. Carbohydrates and proteins are equal in their caloric value.  They each possess 4 calories per gram.  This is, however, slightly misleading.  Carbohydrates begin digestion immediately upon entering your mouth.  By the time they reach your intestines that have been broken down and are ready for digestion.  Because the breakdown of carbohydrate is so efficient digestion is almost 100%.  By contrast, protein doesn't begin digestion until it reaches the stomach.  It must then be broken down to a small enough molecule that can be adjusted in the first 6 feet of the small intestine.  If it is not broken down to a smaller size, it will simply pass completely through the system, undigested.  The efficiency for digestion of protein is only about 30%.  In other words you can eat three times as much protein as carbohydrate for the same digested caloric value.
  2. For energy storage, your body places carbohydrates in the muscles.  This is similar to you putting gasoline in your car.  When carbohydrate is stored in the muscles it is packaged together with water.  Water is a very heavy substance.  1 gallon of water weighs approximately 7 pounds.  When carbohydrate is broken down for fuel, it is separated from its storage partner, water.  As the water is no longer necessary, it is then excreted in the urine.  This results in significant weight loss.  You can see, if your body has low carbohydrate stores this will make it appear that you weigh less. When you engage in a low carbohydrate diet your body will scour the carbohydrates stored in your muscles giving you the appearance of significant weight loss.  This is not true weight loss.  After a while, your body will begin to feel the effects of limited energy as you are trying to run your body without fuel (carbohydrate).  Your brain will recognize the need for carbohydrates to replentish your gas tank.  Eventually, you will give in to these cravings and consume carbohydrates.  This will result in a significant weight gain of water (that is simply stored with the carbohydrate). You will then think that carbohydrates have unfairly caused you to gain weight.  In actuality, you now know that this weight was never lost in the first place.
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