6. avoiding excessive sun exposure
Carbohydrates Cause Obesity And Diabetes
In fact, it is entirely possible to eat virtually no fat at all, and yet become morbidly obese at the same time, for this very important reason: it is carbohydrates, and not fat, which make us fat.
The basics of biochemistry prove this to be true. Here's how:
Our food is comprised of a combination of only three macronutrients (foods providing energy in the form of calories): fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. During digestion, fats are burned as an immediate source of energy, and proteins are broken down to be used as building blocks for various parts of the body. Carbohydrates are converted to glucose, or blood sugar. Like fat, glucose is also used as an immediate form of energy. But unlike fat, glucose also stimulates the secretion of the powerful hormone insulin.
Insulin is an extremely important chemical whose primary duty (it actually has many functions throughout the body) is to take excess glucose from the blood, convert it to fat, and store it in the cells for later use as energy. It is important to note that calories from fats and proteins are not stored in this fashion. This is because insulin--in the role of fat-storer--is not secreted in response to fat or protein calories by themselves, as they are not converted to glucose in the same way carbohydrates are. The bottom line is this: if there is no glucose in the blood (as there would be if you consumed carbohydrates), there can be no insulin-driven storage of fat in the cells, and you will tend to not gain weight.
But we can even go a step further and say this: limiting carbohydrates is the healthiest, most effective way to not only maintain, but to lose weight.
The simple reason for this is: for any particular caloric need (and we need at least a certain number of calories to sustain our lives), decreasing one of the three macronutrients forces an increase in the others to make up the caloric deficit. If, for example, you limit your fats, the resultant loss in calories must be made up by a commensurate increase in carbohydrates and/or proteins. And since most fats are bound together with proteins, eliminating fats often means a reduction in protein as well. The body's only adequate source of calories, then, becomes the carbohydrates.
Too Many Carbs--Too Much Insulin
Here are some results you can expect from adopting a low-fat, high-carb lifestyle (Note: a low-fat, high-carb lifestyle is NOT something I recommend... even if you are exercising regularly and there is no history of diabetes in your family, the following results can still apply to you.):
- A lack of fat results in decreased energy levels, a loss of essential fatty acids, a reduced absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and a pronounced deficiency in magnesium.
- If a low-fat regimen is used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet for weight loss, you can certainly lose fat...but you'll also lose much needed lean body mass (muscle) as a result of the associated loss of protein.
- Carbohydrates are "addictive"; the more you eat, the more you want to eat, in ever-increasing amounts, stimulating an even greater secretion of insulin into the blood.
- While insulin, in the right amounts, is a critically-needed hormone in our systems, too much insulin can wreak havoc on the metabolic system.
Adverse effects include higher blood pressure, increased cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and, penultimately, insulin resistance--a condition which occurs where an over-abundance of insulin causes the cells to develop a desensitivity to it. Hence, an increasingly greater output of insulin is required to process the same amount of calories--leading to more health problems. Finally, when insulin resistance progresses to the point that the cells no longer respond to insulin, the ultimate result is a condition known as type 2 diabetes.