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Blog - Richard Geres Personal Training - Weight-Loss, Fitness, Research

Tue, 17 February 2015

If carbs make you gain fat, take THIS!

Most of us know that carbohydrates are the enemy of fat loss.

But are they really?

The truth is, it depends in part on your genetics, but primarily on your past lifestyle, and your sensitivity to one particular sugar-regulating hormone.

We ingest carbohydrates mainly in the form of cereals, grains (like rice and quinoa), flour products (like bread, pasta, pastry and crackers), root vegetables (like potatoes), fruits, sweets, chocolates, cakes and soft drinks. During digestion these carbohydrates are turned into glucose, which then enters our blood stream for circulation.

The primary hormone responsible for keeping blood glucose levels under check is insulin. Its main actions are to lower blood glucose by pushing glucose into muscle cells and the liver for storage as glycogen, to be used later by our muscles when we are (supposed to be) exercising or simply being physically active.  However, the ability to store glycogen is limited to around 500g, so any excess glucose is then converted to fat and stored in our fat cells.

By eating a chronically high carbohydrate diet that contains cereals, bread, pasta, potatoes, pies, sweets and perhaps even soft drinks, and not exercising regularly, we condition our body to constantly secrete insulin in an attempt to keep blood sugar levels from going too high. Over time, this may lead to insulin resistance, meaning that the body no longer responds to insulin like it should. Insulin resistance will eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, and global incidences of this disease are rising at an alarming level.

What can we do to prevent insulin resistance?
Here are 3 solutions that will help you become more insulin sensitive and burn more bodyfat.

1.    Exercise!

Exercise, especially resistance training is a powerful tool to increase insulin resistance. Resistance training uses glucose as its primary source of fuel. By incorporating regular resistance training workouts in your weekly routine, you lower glycogen levels, so that new glucose from your last meal can be stored as glycogen and not as fat. A few sets of pushups are not enough though. You need high volume training, with at least 9-12 sets per bodypart. Endurance (cardiovascular) training also works, but intensity levels have to be fairly high to encourage more sugar metabolism. So running and sprinting would work better than walking.

2.    Choose your carbohydrates carefully

Not all carbohydrates behave in the same way. The worst ones come in the form of sugar and refined, white flour. This includes all sugar containing foods and drinks, including fruit juices, and all white flour products including bread, pasta, crackers, pastries, biscuits, cakes etc.
The best carbohydrate choices include whole grains that are high in fibre like brown rice, quinoa, millet, barley, oats and whole wheat. However, even with these carbs, quantity counts. For fat-loss, never exceed one quarter of the plate for carbohydrates, and eat them in combination with some lean protein (chicken, beef, fish etc) and green vegetables. This further slows down their digestion and avoids blood sugar spikes.


Some natural compounds have been shown to have a potent insulin-sensitising effect on the body. Insulin sensitivity is the key to avoiding insulin resistance and fat storage. Insulin sensitivity will also help to reduce sugar cravings, thus lowering your total carbohydrate intake.

A supplement has recently hit the market that contains 5 scientifically proven compounds that has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity. If you can't exercise as much as you should, you should definitely check this out!

==> Discover how to increase insulin sensitivity and avoid fat storage
(if you don't want to watch the explanatory video, close the browser tab and then select 'Stay on page' to read a short summary).

If you'd like to follow a fully supervised resistance training programme to burn fat, get lean and feel healthy and full of energy click hereto fix an appointment with us.