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This article about (unwanted) weight gain was the feature article in the second issue of "Coffee With Jim". Since the article was personalized, it contained the name of the subscriber at certain points. For now, pretend your name is Claire.

What Causes Us to Gain Weight Fast?

This article might save you from fast weight gain.

It might also save you from embarrassing yourself!

Have you ever told a friend that we get fat from the carbohydrates in our diets?

This is actually a common HALF-truth many low carb dieters pass on. The truth is that some carbs do get stored as body fat under some conditions. But this is not usually the main source of raw materials for body fat. And a skeptical medical professional might express some disdain if you blindly parrot this line in her presence.

But we all know that excess carbohydrates can contribute to fat storage, don't we? We all know that eating tons of carbs is a great way to gain weight fast, don't we? So, if carbohydrates aren't the main source of fat for our fat cells, how do carbohydrates contribute to fat gain?

It is important to understand the answer to this question if you are to understand what is going on in your body when you eat various kinds of food, and if you are to avoid the embarrassment of giving overly-simplistic explanations in front of the wrong people.

How Do Carbs Lead to Fast Weight Gain?

Carbs in the diet find their way into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. Fat in the diet usually makes its way into the bloodstream in the form of free fatty acids. When there's too much glucose or other sugars in your blood, this will cause your pancreas to produce insulin which will start storing excess nutrients.

The fatty acids in the blood get stored in the fat cells, much as you would expect. But the excess glucose typically gets stored in the muscle cells and the liver as glycogen-which is ready to be converted back to glucose if needed. It does NOT first get stored in the fat cells.

Now the liver CAN convert some glucose into fatty acids, and these CAN get stored in the fat cells. But this is not the main way that our fat cells get filled up.

So, technically, carbohydrates don't get stored as fat. Fat gets stored as fat. And this gives some credibility to the idea that "fat makes you fat".

But here's the key thing that the high-carb low-fat crowd can't seem to get. Fat will not be stored as fat without insulin. And insulin is not triggered in any significant way without carbs. So, when we eat too many calories, ...

... it is usually the CARBS in our diet that CAUSE the FAT in our diet to make us fat.

And it is the carbs in our diet that make us -- at least those of us prone to gain weight fast -- eat too many calories in the first place. This happens because insulin often "overshoots". It takes too many fat and carb grams out of our bloodstream when it stores fat and carbs. And this leaves us hungry and ready to repeat the whole process again.

Some Implications

Here are some implications of this fact.

First, this might help explain why some people are successful losing weight on a high-carb, low-fat diet.

I know you don't want to believe it, but sometimes those diets do work for some people. The high carb content of these diets will trigger insulin, but there isn't much fat to store on these low fat diets, so little fat is stored. And once all the glycogen stores are filled, the insulin will have a difficult time getting the excess glucose out of the dieter's blood stream, and this will curb hunger.

Second, it can also help explain why some people are successful losing weight on the diets you and I subscribe to-- low carb, high fat diets. Without the carbs to trigger insulin, the free fatty acids remain in the blood longer, and curb our appetites as a result. Fat is not readily stored on this diet either.

Third, the real danger is in eating carbs and fat TOGETHER. That is what will make you gain weight super fast. Think about it. What are the foods that everyone blames for rapid fat gain?

Doughnuts. Pizza. Cheeseburgers. Etc.

What do all of these foods have in common? A lot of carbs AND a lot of fat.

Now low carbers will say that it's the bun and not the meat and cheese that's to blame.

And high carbers will say it's the meat and cheese and not the bun.

Which group is right?

In a way both are. The buns without the cheese and meat probably will not make us fat. And the cheese and meat without the buns probably will not make us fat. It's the two together that pose the real danger.

But, Claire, now ask yourself: which would you rather eat? Buns? Or MEAT and CHEESE?

How Did I Learn About This? You Probably Haven't Seen This Explanation in the Low Carb Diet Books!

OK, now's the time for me to fess up. I didn't figure all this stuff out on my own. The factual basis for this article was largely informed by what is currently my favorite low carb book: The Ketogenic Diet: A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner.

The book was written by Lyle McDonald, and it is the closest thing to a reference manual I have found for low carb dieting. I will probably discuss other ideas from this book in the future. If you would like to learn more about Lyle's book, Click Here.

I also consulted Mary Enig's excellent book, Know Your Fats.

Jim Stone is the author of "Stop Cheating
On Your Low Carb Diet!", found at
Jim also offers a free monthly newsletter at


You may reprint this article as long as you keep the resource box intact, and make the links in it live. You may substitute appropriate phrasing where I have included personalization (the subscriber's name). Otherwise the text must remain unaltered. Any exceptions should be requested explicitly.

Thank you for reading this.


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