As low-carb diets like Atkins gained popularity in the early 2000s, carbs earned a negative reputation among those trying to lose weight. The foundation of the now-outdated dietary pyramid used to be simple carbohydrates. Bread, cereal, rice, and pasta were recommended to make up the bulk of one’s diet, with six to eleven portions per day, which was more than the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables put together at the time.
Carb-heavy foods like bread, pasta, cereal, and rice are widely blamed for the increased prevalence of heart disease, obesity, and insulin resistance in the general population, despite their popularity and appeal.
1. Weight gain
Are you putting in a lot of time on the treadmill, but still seeing no results in the scale? Perhaps there is a plateau in growth… they’re not moving up, but they’re holding steady. A weight loss plateau has been reached.
The consumption of an excessive amount of simple carbohydrates and, consequently, calories may be contributing to your weight reduction difficulties. This is because simple carb foods have a higher caloric density per unit of volume compared to complex carb foods. For comparison, while a cup of cooked rice has roughly 170 calories and 37 grams of carbs, a cup of cooked carrots has only 55 calories and 13 grams of carbs. Carrots include 13 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of which are fiber, a nutrient that aids in satiety.
Remember that simple sugars, which are present in quickly digested carbohydrates, might sabotage your efforts to lose weight. According to Palinski-Wade, “research has indicated that diets high in added sugars are related with broader waistlines and greater levels of visceral fat (a.k.a. belly fat),” which is the “dangerous fat” that can raise insulin resistance and the risk for type 2 diabetes.
2. Crashing energy
You might feel wonderful after scarfing down a big bowl of pasta, but that won’t last. When a simple carbohydrate is digested, a considerable amount of glucose is released into the bloodstream rapidly, as stated by the American Heart Association. For a short time, this will provide you extra energy. And then, after all that sugar rush, you collapse and feel even drowsier and less energized than before you ate.
Palinski-Wade warns that eating too many simple carbs at once will send blood sugar levels soaring and plunging. Too much carbohydrates, especially the fast-digesting ones, may be to blame for a lethargic and sleepy feeling after a meal.
3. Increased sugar cravings
Have you ever met someone who decided to cut off sugar from their diet? After only a short time, they will no longer be able to enjoy a candy bar or soda without feeling sick. The reason for this is that eating sugar causes the brain to produce dopamine, an addictive feel-good hormone, leading to a cycle of ever-increasing sugar consumption and a corresponding increase in the need for more of the same.
Besides being a scientific fact, this is an addiction: A paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology in 2018 compared sugar addiction to heroin addiction, calling it a “habit” that has helped fuel the obesity pandemic.
White bread has the same effect on the body as sugar since it is composed of simple carbohydrates, which are readily metabolized into glucose. If you consume a lot of white bread, you’ll start to crave more white bread, along with sugary foods like candies, doughnuts, and cookies.
4. High cholesterol
Eating an excessive amount of carbs can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as high cholesterol levels, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as the risk of developing stroke and heart disease.
Inflammation, arterial wall damage, and an increased risk of heart disease are all consequences of eating too much sugar, according to Gorin.
High-glycemic diets are linked to increased insulin and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (and LDL is a key factor in developing heart disease). As an example, consider this study from 2010 published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Researchers looked at the diets of 15,000 Dutch women aged 49 to 70 and found that those with the highest glycemic loads had the highest rates of cardiovascular disease.