• Toby Steggal

Carbs make you fat - true or false?

Updated: Aug 20

“If you eat carbs you are going to get fat”. We’ve all heard it, we should shun carbs like the plague. But Carbohydrates are actually one of the three main macronutrients that make up all food. Along with protein and fats all these macronutrients are essential for the body.


So, what are carbs? They come in 3 forms; sugars, starches and fibre. Carbohydrates should be your body's main source of energy and can be quickly broken down into glucose before being absorbed into your blood. The glucose then enters your body's cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. Glucose is then converted to glycogen, which is found in the muscles and also the liver. Glucose is used by your body for energy, whether that's going for a workout or simply doing day to day activities.


So if they're so important why have carbs got such a bad name for themselves? The trouble is that a majority of the time carbs taste good and are found in foods that we traditionally deem unhealthy. Pasta, chips, crisps, sweets etc are all a form of carbs, they taste amazing and are very easy to over indulge - hence why they've got such a bad name! But some sources of carbohydrates such as higher fibre starchy foods, vegetables and fruits, are an important source of nutrients, such as calcium, iron and B vitamins.


If we chose to stop eating carbs our body will still need glucose, so it will breakdown proteins and fats and convert them into glucose instead. We don’t need to cut out carbs completely but if we want to lose weight we cannot eat too much of a good thing.


So if it’s not carbs that make us fat then what is it? Carbs, like the other macronutrients (fats and proteins) contain something called calories. A calorie is basically a form of energy found in any food or drink. Our body needs calories to survive, even if we are asleep or sat on the sofa all day our body is still using calories to survive. The science behind weight gain is not hard to understand, put simply if more calories (energy) is consumed than what we are using/burning off then we will be in what’s called a calorie surplus, and we will gain weight.

If fat loss is the goal then we need to look at total calorie intake and make sure we are in a calorie deficit. This means we are burning more calories off than what is being consumed, rather than just shunning one category of food!


In conclusion we do not need to avoid carbs, they are an essential nutrient to the body and can provide lots of flavour into our diet. As always its balance, and a better understanding of diet, that matters - and luckily for you I wasted years in my youth trying out fad diets and discovering the techniques and nutritional advice that really works, so all you have to do is contact me today and cut through all the nonsense!


For a bespoke training and nutritional routine designed around your goals, contact me today.

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