Carbohydrates are often thought to be the culprits in unwanted weight gain. However, that is not the case, as a new study shows once again.
The study is a systematic review in which ten scientific studies were included. Chekima and colleagues found no difference in body weight, BMI or fat mass between diets with a high or low glycemic index.
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates are digested in the intestine and absorbed into the blood as glucose. Products with a high glycemic index include fried potatoes, bread, cornflakes and popcorn. Pasta, legumes and fruit are products with a low glycemic index.
No differences were found between other types of diets either.
WHAT COUNTS ARE THE CALORIES
Whether or not the starch you eat is processed, whether it is simple or complex, whether it has a high or low glycemic index or insulin index – none of these things directly matter for fat loss on an isocaloric basis. This means that if you consume the same amount of calories, it does not matter for fat loss whether you eat white or brown rice, or white collar or whole wheat bread, for example.
As long as the amount of calories in the food is the same, there is no difference in terms of gain or loss of body fat. It’s the calorie content that counts, not the type of carbohydrates.
TYPES OF CARBOHYDRATES
However, certain types of carbohydrates are much more satiating than others. And certain types of carbohydrates are much easier to overeat than others.
For example, if you replace vegetables in your diet with white rice or highly processed carbohydrates, you may end up eating too much of them. That is why we see in practice that people who eat more ultra-processed carbohydrates become fatter because they consume a higher calorie content based on foods that taste good and have a low satiety index. So it’s just very easy to consume a lot of calories from it.
Whatever your body goal – gaining weight, losing weight or maintaining it – it is preferable to eat minimally processed carbohydrates, such as unprocessed whole grain varieties, fruit, vegetables, legumes and brown rice. This not only makes it easier to achieve your calorie level, it is also better for your health.
Unprocessed carbohydrates are also called healthy, good or slow carbohydrates. The ‘slow’ because of their slow absorption into the blood.
CONCLUSION AND ADVICE
Gaining or losing weight is basically a matter of calories. For optimal results, you will need to use a calorie app to keep track of how many calories you consume in a day.
However, there are foods that make it easier or more difficult to follow a calorie-restricted diet. For example, you prefer to choose unprocessed carbohydrates as much as possible.
Eat 3-5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.