The type of carbohydrates matters Other research shows that the type of carbohydrates consumed is key. Several studies indicate that a high intake of refined carbohydrates and added sugars increases the risk of obesity, while foods rich in unprocessed carbohydrates are linked to weight loss. The glycemic index (GI) measures the extent to which a specific food can increase blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates have a high glycemic index, causing blood sugar to spike.
A study indicates that weight gain due to simple carbohydrates is due to a sudden rise in blood sugar levels. The rapid rise in blood glucose levels triggers a strong insulin response that inhibits nutrient mobilization. It equates to an increase in glucose uptake and glycogen storage. Unfortunately, excess glycogen is also converted to fat, leading to weight gain.
Sugar is the real culprit when it comes to gaining weight. When your sugar intake is too high, your body doesn't produce an adequate amount of insulin to break it down. As a result, the body stores sugar in fat cells. There is no doubt that eliminating or reducing added sugar from the diet is very beneficial, but the same cannot be said for fiber and the nutrients provided by some complex carbohydrates, such as fiber, polyphenols and essential vitamins and minerals.
Processed foods often include refined sugars that are extracted and purified from plants, such as sugar beet, sugar cane, and corn. In fact, in the United Kingdom, the national diet and nutrition survey estimates that added sugar represents 14% of the daily calories consumed by young people aged 11 to 18. Sugars such as glucose and fructose are examples of simple sugars, as are disaccharides, which consist of two chemically linked sugar molecules, such as sucrose, a combination of glucose and fructose. Studies highlight significant links between diets high in refined sugars and obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. To determine which ingredient, fat or sugar, is responsible for most of the negative health outcomes, it's helpful to compare people who have followed low-fat or low-carb diets.