Carbohydrate makes people easy to gain weight, its meaning other than calories



  When we consider that “eating a lot leads to gaining weight…,” I believe you have the image of carbohydrate like bread, rice and noodles in mind.


  This time, I am going to explain the reason why carbohydrate (*1) makes people easy to gain weight not because of increasing calories or of its tendency to higher blood pressure but by other indirect meaning.

(*1) Although technically sugar is also a sort of carbohydrate, I use the word carbohydrate here to mean “polysaccharide” such as starch and grains.

1. If there were no carbohydrate

  When my total body weight fell down to around 38kg, I could have never gained weight without the help of carbohydrate. In my case, oil (fat) nor sugar couldn’t have done that … In other words, I would never gain weight by eating cream-filled cake or oily cutlet and Chinese food. I am going to explain that reason this time.

  To be precise, I don’t mean any “carbohydrate,” but refined digestible carbohydrate (such as white bread, rice, potato, starch etc.).


  Thus, in case of brown rice, fried rice, whole-grain bread and al dente cooked pasta etc., the result may be different even though they are the same carbohydrate. These are known as foods that won’t increase blood sugar level (glycemic index, resistant starch) but in short, they are “indigestible”.

2. With indigestible foods, it is difficult to gain weight

  When you always eat indigestible foods, including above-referenced carbohydrate that doesn’t increase the blood sugar level, oil (fat), high-fiber vegetable, seaweed and dairy products, it can be said that it is difficult to gain weight: “Base Weight” in my definition is unlikely to go up.

  I’m saying that it is difficult to gain weight if a thin person eats properly every day.
  Although a person who have already gained weight may not lose weight by eating some, I consider it may be possible to lose weight depending on how you take them, since these foods are always discussed in diet techniques.

3. The effect of carbohydrate that makes people easier to gain weight

  Reversely, refined digestible carbohydrate (rice, white bread, potato, starch etc.) will promote digestion. By taking together with digestible side dishes (meat and fish with less fat), they make it easy to create hunger.


That is to say, “intestinal starvation state” will be accomplished easily.
There are 2 effects that I can think of so far.

(1) Dilution Effect

  You may have heard the word “PFC Balance (protein, fat, carbohydrate)” and currently in Japan, it is said to be ideal to take 50 to 65% of energy from carbohydrate in average (Food Intake Standard-2015). However, I believe many people take still around 70%.

  If you proportionally increase digestible carbohydrate, the percentage of side dish such as fat, meat, fish and vegetable will be relatively smaller. The density of a spoonful of oil will be lower if you add water by doubling bread or rice.
  Raw egg is indigestible but if you eat together with toast and coffee, the density of egg will be lower.



  If the amount of side dish is the same for everyone, the one who have relatively more
carb and water will be sending diluted nutrition to intestine. So it will be easier to be hungry (intestinal starvation).

  For example, let’s say I eat hamburger and potato, another bread and tea altogether.



If we mix these all in a blender, it will be something like meat diluted with starch and water.(figure below)


  If I remove the bread and add broccoli mayonnaise salad… The dilution effect of carbohydrate will be less and fiber and fat will be added.


Ę® On calorie basis, broccoli mayonnaise salad is about 70 to 100kcal. However, adding it to the meal doesn’t have the same meaning as adding another bread . This is why calorie intake basis thinking may go wrong.

  On the other hand, what would happen if I proportionally decrease carbohydrate? As you can see in low-carb diet, if I decrease the carbohydrate of main meal and increase protein such as meat and fish, oil or vegetable, I can send nutrition of higher density to my intestine.


  In this case, there will be the reverse effect that secures nutrition and causes less hunger. Moreover, since our intestines are long for about 7 to 8m, while the food is still inside our intestines, there will be indigestible substance that prevents intestinal starvation.

(2) Pushing out Effect

  When we take carbohydrate together with water, our stomach expands (“balloon effect” of stomach).


However, if we take carbohydrate together with digestible side dish, its holding time will be shorter and will be pushed out at once. Also, our intestine starts to move actively.
  For a foreigner, it may be easier to imagine instant noodle and toast or rice.


  Though our stomach does expand after we eat, since it’s easy to digest, it will start moving actively and smoothly. I had the problem of stomach and intestines and suffered often from constipation or diarrhea, but this resolved it several times. And not just that our stomach starts to move but since the foods are digestible, it will be easier to be in intestinal starvation state.

  On the other hand, though there are people who say taking dish with a lot of oil (Chinese food or fried food) will give us stamina, it actually means that it stays in stomach for a longer time and its energy could sustain during sports. That is to say, since its holding time in stomach will be longer, it will be more difficult to make us hungry (intestinal starvation).


With above reasons,

(1) I consider sugar (monosaccharide, disaccharide) and
polysaccharid (starch, cereal) can’t be put into same category since they have slightly different characteristics. Recently-popular low-carb diet pays attention only on “characteristics that increases blood sugar rate easily” so it’s not sufficient.

(2) Obesity among poverty people worldwide can be understood as the influence of cheap carbohydrate (cereal, starch) and unbalanced food (lack of vegetable etc.). Regarding them, it may be easier to imagine that they are not gaining weight due to taking too much calories or sugar.

(3) Also, the fact that Sumo wrestler (Japanese national sports) eats hot pot dishes called “Chanko-nabe” with a lot of rice in order to make their bodies larger is very logical in this sense.