How Carbohydrates, Obesity Are Linked: The Kind, Not The Amount

A new study gives new credence to one of the fundamental building blocks of my Total Health program: The kind of carbohydrates you eat -- not the amount-- determine your risk of obesity.

Generally, the obese don't eat more carbohydrates than anyone else, according to the study. They merely tend to consume more refined and processed carb-loaded foods -- white bread and pasta, for example -- that causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

(To adjust for this rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream, which lowers the glucose. Insulin stores excess calories from carbohydrates in the form of fat. And, in the case of eating too many refined carbs and living an exercise-free, sedentary life, that overproduction of insulin has led us to an obesity crisis of epidemic proportions.)

Researchers measured the height and weight of some 550 healthy patients, then tracked what carbs they ate on a regular basis for a year. Although the amount of carbs patients ate made no difference in their body mass index, eating foods with a higher glycemic index did.

Consuming excess grain and sugar carbohydrates is one of the primary reasons why so many people suffer from:

  • Excess weight
  • Fatigue and frequent sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Brain fogginess
  • Bloating

That said, all carbs aren't created equally, just one more reason low-carb diets like the popular Atkins Diet don't work. Generally, the body prefers the carbohydrates found in vegetables rather than grains because their composition slows their conversion to simple sugars like glucose and decreases your insulin level.

If you're facing weight challenges that have compromised your health, take the first step toward optimal health: Retooling your diet based on your body's unique nutritional type. After taking our free online test, you'll discover which "type" is the best fit for your body and reconfigure your diet accordingly.

Yahoo News February 17, 2005

American Journal of Epidemiology February 15, 2005, Volume 161, Issue 4, 359-367

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