Carbohydrates are one of the main classes of food. It is the main source of energy for the body. They are a group of organic compounds present in the form of food in cellulose, starch, and sugar. They are called carbohydrates, as they contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water (2:1). These are then broken down to release energy.
Due to the association of carbohydrates with weight gain, the carbs may disguise as an enemy to a healthy diet. However, the right kind of carbs in the right amounts can definitely earn a rightful place in your diet.
A healthy weight is an important element of good health. The amount of food you eat and what you eat is important for maintaining a healthy weight.
For years, there was a myth that a low-carb diet is the best way to lose weight, but a growing body of evidence suggests otherwise.
Types of carbohydrates
Carbs are sub-divided into three categories depending on the number of sugars present and the nature of the chemical bonds between them.
Although this is the conventional way of classifying carbs, a more pragmatic approach would be to classify them as refined and whole carbs.
Whole carbs include vegetables, legumes, whole fruits, and grains, which are unprocessed and thus have their nutrient content intact.
The stripping of nutrients in refined carbs as a part of processing makes them count as 'empty calories.'
This removal of the nutrients results in rapid absorption and metabolism of these carbohydrates.
This results in spiked sugar levels and unstable energy levels, the latter of which causes “sugar rush” after consuming sugar-rich foods.
The refined or the sugary carbs are simple carbohydrates that the body quickly absorbs.
Their metabolism occurs rapidly, which results in major swings in the blood glucose levels. This induces hormonal and metabolic changes that can promote overeating.
Are carbohydrates bad?
Not all carbohydrates are bad for health.
Unprocessed carbs that are present in vegetables, fruits, and grains are healthy.
Studies reveal that these improve metabolization and help in weight loss.
Another class of carbs, the processed ones, are unhealthy because they lose the fiber during processing and contain no essential nutrients.
Examples of these include white bread, white rice, and the like.
Intake of foods containing processed carbs can result in weight gain and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that high unprocessed carbs in the diet can lead to a craving for more carbs, and people tend to get caught in the vicious cycle.
Thus, making changes to your diet by including more of unprocessed carbs can be a healthy choice.
Carbohydrates intake and weight gain tendency: What’s the genetic link?
Studies have shown that there is a link between genetic factors and dietary factors such as weight loss, weight gain, obesity.
Nearly 70% of the world population carries the gene for obesity. This explains why obesity is growing rapidly around the world.
However, people can reverse this gene's effect by exercising and including more protein in their diet.
Gene 1: FTO
A study has found an association between the FTO gene and the intake of carbohydrates.
The individuals with the A variant were found to have a higher risk of obesity than ones with the CC wild type.
The FTO gene has a negative association with over-eating.
Gene 2: AMY1
About 23% of the global population carries a variant in the AMY1 gene, which shows an association with low copy numbers of the gene and reduced ability to digest starch.
70% of people from agricultural populations have an AMY1 copy number variant, which shows an association with better starch digestion and lower risk of obesity when compared to 37% of non-agricultural populations.
Can a DNA test help you lose or gain weight?
The conventional diet plans and workout regimes architected for weight loss need not help everyone achieve their desired goals.
There is a multitude of factors that influence weight loss, including a person’s lifestyle, genetic makeup, and the environment.
Your genes can influence how you metabolize the nutrients you get from your diet. This directly has a role to play in weight gain/loss.
For instance, some people may possess a genetic variant that aids in the faster metabolization of carbohydrates, while others may carry a variant that will help in faster break-down of saturated fats.
You can leverage such genetic information to adopt a practical and personalized weight loss plan.
While genetic tests may not lay out the A-Z of weight loss, it certainly helps you pin the right path for your weight loss journey.
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