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What Makes You Fat, Carbs or Calories? Here Is What Dietician Says

Weight gain generally depends on the amount of calories you intake compared to the number of calories you expend. Here is more to know what makes you fat.

Vivek Singh
What Makes You Fat? Carbs or Calories! (Photo Credit: Freepik)
What Makes You Fat? Carbs or Calories! (Photo Credit: Freepik)

Weight gain is primarily determined by the number of calories you consume compared to the number of calories you expend. In other words, it's about the balance between calorie intake and calorie expenditure.

Both carbohydrates and calories play important roles in this equation, but they are not the same thing.

  1. Calories: A calorie is a unit of energy, and all foods and beverages contain calories. When you consume more calories than your body needs for its daily functions and activities, the excess calories are stored as fat, leading to weight gain. Conversely, if you consume fewer calories than your body needs, you'll lose weight as your body uses stored fat for energy.

  2. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are one of the macronutrients found in food, alongside protein and fat. Carbohydrates provide energy to the body and are an important part of a balanced diet. They contain calories, with about 4 calories per gram. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Simple carbohydrates, like sugars, can cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, potentially leading to overeating. Complex carbohydrates, found in foods like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes, tend to provide sustained energy and are often part of a healthy diet.

It's important to note that while carbohydrates contain calories, so do protein and fat. Each of these macronutrients contributes to your overall calorie intake. A balanced diet includes all three macronutrients in appropriate proportions.

To manage your weight effectively, you should focus on controlling your calorie intake and making healthy food choices. This might involve:

  1. Monitoring your calorie intake to ensure it aligns with your goals (e.g., weight maintenance, weight loss, or weight gain).

  2. Choosing nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds.

  3. Balancing your macronutrient intake by including a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

  4. Paying attention to portion sizes and practising mindful eating to avoid overeating.

  5. Incorporating regular physical activity to help burn extra calories and maintain a healthy weight.

Remember that individual factors such as genetics, metabolism, and activity level also influence weight management. It's a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized guidance on achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

(Photo Courtesy: Freepik)
(Photo Courtesy: Freepik)

Important Factors In Weight Management

Weight gain and obesity are complex issues influenced by a variety of factors, including diet, genetics, physical activity, and metabolism. It's important to understand the roles of carbohydrates, calories, and other factors in the context of weight management:

  1. Calories:

Weight gain ultimately comes down to an imbalance between the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned. If you consistently consume more calories than you burn, you are likely to gain weight, regardless of the source of those calories (carbohydrates, fats, or proteins).

  1. Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients, along with fats and proteins. They provide energy for the body. It's a common misconception that carbohydrates alone are responsible for weight gain. In reality, overconsumption of any macronutrient can lead to weight gain.

Simple carbohydrates, like those found in sugary snacks and soft drinks, can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, potentially leading to overeating. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide essential nutrients and fiber that can help with satiety and weight management.

  1. Role of calories and macronutrients:

To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories than your body needs for its daily functions and activities. This can be achieved by reducing overall calorie intake, increasing physical activity, or both.

Different macronutrients have different calorie densities: carbohydrates and proteins provide about 4 calories per gram, while fats provide about 9 calories per gram. Reducing calorie intake from any of these macronutrients can contribute to weight loss if it leads to a calorie deficit.

A balanced diet that includes a variety of macronutrients is essential for overall health. Focusing on the quality of the carbohydrates (e.g., choosing whole grains over refined grains) can help with weight management and long-term health.

  1. Individual factors:

Genetics plays a significant role in how our bodies store and utilize calories. Some individuals may be more genetically predisposed to gain weight, regardless of their carbohydrate intake.

Hormones, such as insulin and leptin, also influence hunger, satiety, and fat storage. The body's response to different foods can vary among individuals.

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