Stop Being Afraid of Carbs! -

Why Carbohydrates Will Never Make Anyone Fat

Written by Travis Hansen (

In the world of fitness dogma, carbohydrates have experienced their fair share of scrutiny over the years. One of the most notable claims being thrown around carelessly is that carbohydrates have the special ability to make you fat.

Calories in excess are and always will be the only thing aside from increased water mass, that can result in higher readings on the scale. This idea I’m giving you is so concrete that it’s supported by an actual energy law. Next, below are several reasons why carbohydrates won’t make you fat, so you’ll never have to consider the notion ever again after reading this article.

Converting Carbohydrates to Fat in the Human Body

De Novo Lipogenesis is the official term for converting actual carbohydrates to fat in the body. Contrary to what you may have heard this biological process is extremely rare. “Eucaloric replacement of dietary fat by CHO does not induce hepatic DNL to any substantial degree.” (1) Why you might ask? “After we eat, fat is accrued but it’s not through the DNL pathway likely many tend to think, as fat and carbohydrates have independent energy pathways that simply interact in the body at times.” (1) Recall that it’s excess calories that cause fat gain, and even when we eat extra calories in the form of carbohydrates, our body has several stations that fight against actual storage. Let’s look at those now.

Biological Safeguards Against Fat Storage

The first safeguard that has evolved for us to indirectly prevent fat gain is the storage form of carbohydrates, known as glycogen. An energy reserve that I’m sure just about everyone is more than familiar with by now in some capacity. In normal circumstances, we can house about 600 grams or 2400 calories of glycogen before this reservoir spills over into our fat stores potentially.

Before this happens, you have to consider that during carbohydrate metabolism, the powerful metabolic hormone Leptin is produced which will eventually ramp up our collective metabolism. As a result, you’ll see increased calorie burn.

Lastly, when we decided to go ahead and enjoy eating more carbohydrates there will be the natural conversion of burning fat to more carbohydrates during various types of activity. This is known as the glucose-ffa cycle in nutritional science.

If that’s not enough to sell you on the idea that carbohydrates will never hurt your fat loss efforts then also note that when you train at higher intensities your body will burn more of your glycogen stores to support energy demands. Thus freeing up room for more glycogen afterward, plus the boost you get in EPOC which burns more calories for hours on end after to also support fat loss/maintenance efforts. As you can see by now, the whole notion of “carbohydrates make you fat” was a complete scare tactic employed by the low-carb pundits. Fortunately for you, science clearly says otherwise.

#1-Hellerstein, M K. “De Novo Lipogenesis in Humans: Metabolic and Regulatory Aspects.”European Journal of Clinical Nutrition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 1999,
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