What Happens When You Eat too Many Carbohydrates?

No matter where the carbohydrates are being stored, liver or the muscles; the total storage capacity of the body for carbohydrate is really quite limited. Once the levels in the liver are filled with glycogen, excess carbohydrates have just one fate: to be converted into fat and stored. Even though carbohydrates are fat-free, excess carbohydrates ends up as excess fat. But that’s not the worst of it. Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates will generate a rapid rise in blood glucose. To adjust for this rapid rise, the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin then lowers the levels of blood glucose.
The problem is that insulin is mainly a storage hormone; it works to put aside excess carbohydrate calories in the form of fat in case of a future food shortage. The insulin that’s stimulated by too many carbohydrates assertively promotes the accumulation of body fat. To recap, when we eat too much carbohydrate, we are sending a hormonal message, through insulin, to the body that states: “Store as fat”. They also tell it not to release any stored fat. When this happens, you can’t use your own stored body fat for energy. So the excess carbohydrates in your diet not only make you fat, they make sure you stay fat.

After you eat carbohydrates your pancreas releases insulin and your blood sugar increases. Insulin makes sure your cells receive some blood sugar necessary for life, and increases glycogen storage. But, it also tells your body to use more carbohydrate, and less fat, as fuel. Insulin also converts almost half of your carbohydrate intake to fat for storage in-case of an energy emergency. If you want to burn fat for energy, the insulin response must be decreased. Eating refined sugars release a lot of insulin, allowing less stored fat to be burned.

High insulin levels also suppress two important hormones: growth hormone and glucagon. Growth hormone is used for muscle development and building new muscle mass. Glucagon promotes the burning of fat and sugar. Eating a high carbohydrate meal also stimulates hunger. As blood sugar increases, insulin rises with an immediate drop in blood sugar. This results in hunger, often only a couple of hours after the meal. Cravings, usually for sweets, are frequently part of this cycle, leading you to snack on more carbohydrates. Not eating makes you feel ravenous shaky, moody and ready to “crash.” This cycle causes you to never get rid of that extra stored fat, and a decrease in energy. 

Insulin’s actions are countered by glucagon. Glucagon alerts the liver to slow down triglyceride and cholesterol production, for the kidneys to release excess salt and fluid, to the artery wall to relax and lower blood pressure, and to the fat cells to release stored fat to be burned for energy. But, insulin is a stronger hormone and when it is high, it suppress glucagon’s actions. After a childhood of sugar and starch consumption, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance happens. This is why what we feed our children is so important.

Source: FB page – Keto Adapted – Maria Emmerich

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