Our ancestors ate a lot of carbs in the form of potatoes and rice and bread without getting super fat from it. Why do we demonise carbs? What's making us fat really?


#1

What do you think? An just a couple of decades ago it was fat that was bad, not sugar.


#2

It’s not carbs that make people fat. In our day to day lives, there are simply too many factors contributing to our weight gain and overall health problems to blame it solely on carbs. However, generally carbs and many other energy-rich foods are an easy scapegoat. And mainstream we think a low-carb diet plan is the way to go.

I’m a firm believer that most people don’t need to remove whole food groups. Removing all carbs can easily turn into an imbalanced diet plan, especially as your diet will mostly consist of animal products, which if abused, have been shown to contribute to our health issue.

What’s more is that not all carbs are the same. Take a bagel and a banana, for instance. They have significantly different micronutrients and health advantages. A bagel which is made from refined wheat flour (which means most fiber and the vitamins in the grain are eliminated from the flour) will spike our blood sugar level, while a banana is perfectly packaged carb vehicle with water, fiber, and vitamins that will assist in absorption.

In the past, grains would traditionally be prepared in such a way that unlocked their nutrients and made them much easier absorb. Grains, legumes, nuts and seeds all have an outer covering which break down when soaked, but they provide a shield which assists the seed to survive until it grows and matures. We know that leavening bread was a long procedure including catching wild yeasts in the air - resulting in what we now refer to as sourdough. While bread preparation techniques today allow us to skip this procedure thanks to packaged yeasts, this much faster procedure does not give the outer layer of the grains sufficient time to break down before we eat them. That’s why lots of people with gluten intolerance discover they can consume sourdough simply great. Soaking or growing grains, vegetables, nuts, and seeds likewise breaks down the outer layer, which results in sprouting which then boosts the nutrition content.

When it comes to potatoes or rice, and other simpler carbs… these are very energy abundant and while okay in and of themselves, need to be consumed in balance with our activity level. We now have food available so readily, whereas anciently it was eat to live and live to eat, and all this required energy to sustain.

Arguably, what tends to make us fat and sick more than anything else is the refined white sugar, which you can find in virtually any type of food you buy in a pack from a supermarket. The typical American consumes about 150 pounds of added sugars a year, compared to about 2 pounds a year some 200 years ago.

So don’t be fooled, carbs can definitely be a great source of the fiber, nutrients, and energy we all require to sustain life. Perhaps we must simply be sensible about which and just how much to take in rather than labeling carbs in general the enemy to healthy living.


#3

We’re fat due to the fact that we have excessive amounts of food and we eat it too. If we had the food supplies of our ancestors, the story would be way different.

Simple carbohydrates are easily broken down. They “make us fat” due to the fact that they trigger blood sugar level spikes which result in hormonal changes. These hormone modifications increase hunger while making us feel sluggish.

You will not get fat if you eat carbs and preserve a caloric deficit (calories in < calories out). However, if those carbohydrates are basic refined sugars, like white bread, white rice or pasta, then the hormone swings can cause your cravings to increase. It won’t matter weather you actually need food or not, you’ll simply overeat.

Now, here’s the thing that I do not believe individuals understand. You’ll never ever get fat from consuming a caloric deficit. Ever. However, keeping that caloric deficit is never as easy or as difficult for everybody. It really depends on what you consume and how your endocrine system is operating.


#4

As someone with Italian roots, my ancestors were excellent eaters of carbs, however, they knew extremely well that consuming too much pasta makes you fat.

Our ancestors were a lot more active, that’s true. They also had less access to food. Obesity used to be a rich man’s problem. And, best of all, our ancestors ate whole foods. Minimally processed. Just an example, the bread in the United States is so different to the one you find in Italy - generalization, I know, but that’s how it is. In Italy the bread is far more gratifying, and much more filling than the bread in America. And a big part of it is how the flour is made. The wheat is stone-ground, and most flours still have both bran and germ.

When you consume carbohydrates, regularly, without keeping track of the fiber that comes with it in nature, it messes up your metabolic processes. First you get the spike of sugar hitting your blood stream. In response, your body hurries to spray insulin into your blood stream. But, with such a spike, your liver and pancreas overreact. When this cycle happens again and again, you start to get a bit insulin resistant. Which then makes the weight gain pretty inevitable.

So, if you consume your carbs the way nature meant, accompanied by the naturally occuring fiber that comes with it, slowing down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream, there should not be any issue with carbohydrates. No blood sugar level spikes. No overreaction with insulin. You need your carbs, just be smart about it.