Does Carbs Make You Fat?

Are you skipping your rice after 7 pm or on a low carbs diet, feeling lethargic like a zombie every day? How many times have you heard, “Hey, rice makes you fat”. Well, maybe you might want to skip your ice cream instead.

Too many people treat carbs as an enemy. They stop eating carbs and then succumb after living those few months in fear of them.

This article will debunk the myth/misconception of carbs. You will see how carbs can be your friend when you time it right.

What Are Carbs?

Carbs, in short, are known as Carbohydrates. It is the main source which your body will utilize for energy. There are a few types of carbohydrates you need to understand so you can better appreciate the whole situation. White Rice, noodles, Kuay tiao are simple carbs. They digest faster. They are also known as sugars. However, do not mix up between these two. Rice is not sugar. Let us read on as I will cover on that too. Pasta, bread, brown rice are complex carbs. They need a longer time to break down due to its complex chemical formulae.

What Is The Difference Between Carbs And Sugar?

In order for carbs to be utilized by the body, its molecules have to be broken down. Once it is broken down, it turns into its simplest form, sugar. Put it simply – an apple takes as short as 15 minutes for your body to break down for energy usage while a bowl of rice takes an hour to break down before it can be used for energy. Thereby, you know that an apple never equals to a bowl of rice.

Refer to this website to understand thein depth of carbs and sugars:

What Happens If TooMuch Carbs?

This is exactly the answer to my article’s title. Once the body knows you are taking in excess of carbs, it will not be stored in glycogen storage but instead, will turn into fat cells for storage. This is exactly how the body functions. In order for the body to store excess food as fat, it takes about 3 days for the body to register (according to a nutrition course I attended).

What Is Glycogen?

It is a form of energy storage. They are primarily found in the body’s liver and muscles. For example, the rice you have eaten for lunch, they will be broken down and stored as glycogen for future use inside the body. See the simple diagram I have drawn for you below and you will understand the cycle.

Glycogen -> Carbs -> Sugars

Which Carb is the best?

This is extremely tricky because you need to fully understand your body so you will know which carb is the best for you. For myself, rice works best for me. Best in the context of: I feel full, muscles felt fully replenished and most importantly, I do not feel bloated or lethargic after eating. Eat the type of carb as plain as possible (avoid having pasta with cream sauce etc) and you will find your answer. Eating certain carbs which make you sleepy or bloated, note that down too.

When To Eat The Right Carbs?

This is the gist of the article – when to eat. Imagine you eating a heavy meal consisting of pasta with cream sauce and coke just 10 minutes before you sleep. If you do this rarely, it is fine. If the latter is done regularly, it will be detrimental to the body and you will be encouraging fat storage. Try to use carbs as your prize. If you train hard, you will deserve your carbs. If you did not train for the day, reduce your carbs intake. This way, you are always teaching your body to tap into another source of energy inside your body rather than relying on what you fed the body.

What Carbs To Eat Before And After Workout?

Simple carbs like an apple, orange, banana 15 minutes before your workout is fine. If you are having a meal before a workout, avoid heavy meals like Briyani, Prata etc. Carbs like rice with a piece of white fish or lean meat would be perfect 1-2 hours before a workout. If you are doing high-intensity workout which requires you to jump around, limit your food amount. After workout, a simple meal like rice, meat and vegetables would be sufficient. Avoid eating junk, fried and fatty food immediately after exercise as doing that can escalate fat gain. I claimed the latter because the body somehow has the ability to absorb more food after exercise.

Why Do I Feel Sleepy After Eating Carbs?

Bingo! This is the part where a lot of people feel right after lunch! After so many years of experimenting with carbs, I found that I got sleepy almost every time I ate out. Food prepared installs are much nicer and we tend to eat more than the brain can register it is full. This is due to the additional gravy, iced cold soft drinks. These mess up the digestive system and required a high amount of energy to break down and digest the food. Compared to a homemade meal with just plain rice, salmon, and stir-fried vegetables, you will not get so sleepy without the additional carbs.

Simply put it- you get sleepy after eating carbs because that total amount of carbs are way too much for the body at that point of time. Simply reduce your carbs and soft drinks after a meal or replace with plain water.

How Much Carbs To Eat?

Everyone needs a different amount of carbs on a daily basis. Let us compare an athlete who is competing for a martial art contest, trains about 6 hours a day versus an office worker who goes for spinning class once a week. Do you see the picture now? Another factor is your goals. Are you trying to lose weight or maintain your physique?  A general guideline would be eating carbs which is about the size of your fist. If you are trying to lose some fats, reduce your portion of carbs gradually until you are comfortable with it. If gaining weight is what you want, increase your frequency of eating and eat every 3 hours.

Have A Log Book

Have a simple log of what you are eating will do the trick. You will be surprised to know what you ate 3 days ago. This will also record how much carbs you have been eating.

I hope you understand about carbs after reading this article. Do not be afraid to eat carbs from now on!

Your Coach,
Amirrudin Ong


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