Eating High-Glycemic Carbs Doesn’t Necessarily Cause Weight Gain, According to New Study

While not all carbohydrates are created equal, consumers have been cautioned (especially when trying to lose weight or adjust their eating habits) to stay away from “fast carbs” and add “slow carbs” to their diet. However, a recent study found very small quantitative differences between high glycemic (fast carb) and low glycemic (slow carb) foods.

a plate of broccoli: ham and broccoli-topped baked potato

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Baked potato with ham and broccoli

Related: Is There Such a thing as good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates?

The study, published in the journal Advances in Nutrition, concluded that consuming high glycemic foods is no more likely to result in weight gain than consuming low glycemic foods and no less likely to cause diet-related weight loss.

The research, funded by the Grain Foods Foundation, aimed to test the hypothesis that consumption of high-glycemic foods causes fat storage and affects body weight, and that consumption of low-glycemic foods has adverse effects. The glycemic index measures how quickly a particular food raises blood sugar levels and assigns a value to each food based on the rate at which the food raises glucose levels.

Scientists analyzed data from 43 cohort studies from 34 publications (totaling nearly 2 million adults) that compared low and high GI diets for weight loss. The study found that “the GI as a measure of carbohydrate quality appears to be relatively unimportant as a determinant of BMI or diet-related weight loss.”

“This study is the first to definitely show that fast carbs don’t make you fat,” said study co-author Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions. “Contrary to popular belief, people who eat high GI foods are not more likely to become obese or gain weight than those who eat low GI foods. In addition, the likelihood that they will lose weight is no less. “

So what kind of carbohydrates should you be eating? “The most important finding is that carbohydrates, regardless of their type, can be part of a healthy diet and have a place on a healthy plate,” says Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., co-author of the study. Instead of focusing on foods with high or low glycemic values, researchers advise focusing on the variety of carbohydrates that are consumed as part of a balanced diet. (For your information, consuming these six carbohydrates can help you lose weight.)

Related: 25+ Weight Loss Recipes Packed With Good Carbohydrates

Jones says, “Over the past few decades we’ve seen blanket denigration of carbohydrates, processed foods, and foods containing refined grains. Science has shown that when properly balanced, these foods can be part of a nutritional pattern that helps maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of disease. The truth is, consuming a wide variety of carbohydrates, from fast-carb white bread to slow-carb bran flakes, and pairing it with smart choices from all food groups can provide the nutritional benefits that healthy carbohydrates do, especially Whole grains and fortified staples can provide. “

A Plate of Broccoli: Plus Why You Should Eat A Variety of Carbohydrates for Better Health.  (Yes, really!)

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Plus why you should be eating a variety of carbohydrates for better health. (Yes, really!)

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