Are Carbohydrates Really to Blame?

Throughout the years multiple food groups have been given the blame for causing weight gain, from Fat to Carbohydrates to everything except protein, remember Atkins?

Whilst there is truth and scientific backing from blaming carbohydrates or/and fats for excess weight gain over protein not many “fad” diets truly recognise the need for a smart balance between food groups, in fact many utilise the “Quick Fix” premise, most promote slashing calories from the diet out of these important food groups to cause the body to drop weight fast. HOWEVER most extreme diets are completely unsustainable, in fact 65% of normal dieters return to their pre-diet weight and a massive 95% regain weight after a crash diet (slashing calories to an unhealthy level). However it has been shown that carbohydrates and in particular fast acting carbohydrates (sugar) to be one of the biggest if not the biggest attributing factor to the growing waist line of the UK, however as stated earlier just slashing this major food group out of the diet is not the answer. Without sustainability we cannot truly manage weight correctly, new science and research shows multiple genetic factors that may lead to weight gain and in particular our response to carbohydrates.

Genetics and our health

It has been shown that certain variants in the PPARG gene can be linked with higher fat gain from carbohydrate intake, in fact those with negative variants from this gene show a higher risk of obesity when energy intake from carbohydrates passes 50%. PPARG is but one of many genes that may affect our utilisation of carbohydrates, in fact females with certain variants in ADRB2 have been shown to be at higher risk of obesity when half their energy intake comes predominately from carbohydrates, however those with some variants in PLIN1 actually have a smaller waist circumference when complex carbohydrates are utilised in the diet.

Genetic research is proving one thing and changing the way we treat people who are ill, with the personalisation of medicine comes the personalisation of lifestyle. If different genetic variants effect the way we respond to carbohydrates then 1 blanket diet will not work for everyone, it makes sense to understand your genetics before you try a new diet and start cutting out major food groups, let’s not forget that carbohydrates are our main and easiest source of energy, cutting them out completely will inevitably lead to ill health and a lack of energy.