Good4U Myth Busters – Carbohydrates Make You Fat

Do Carbs Make You Gain Weight

This old myth comes from the theory that carbohydrates raise insulin levels in the body and because insulin is known as the ‘fat storage hormone’ it will make us gain weight when we eat carbs. Sounds legit and sciency enough doesn’t it? It’s not.

Well controlled research trials have shown that a low carbohydrate diet is not better for losing weight in comparison to high carb diets. This is despite any fluctuations in insulin levels.

If you aren’t eating a whole pile of extra calories your weight will stay the same. It doesn’t matter how much carbohydrate you consume. There are some people who find a low carb diet works from them. This could be due to the fact that by reducing carbohydrate intake you will increase your protein and fat intake. An increase in these helps you feel fuller for longer which stops us consuming excess calories overall which tah dah, would lead to weight loss.


Some people also believe that munching on carbohydrate-rich foods late at night will cause you gain weight. The common misconception here is that if we eat carbohydrates and then sleep we aren’t using them for energy and so they’ll be stored as fat. That’s wrong.


Another reason to enjoy carbohydrates before bed is because carbs increase the amount of tryptophan and serotonin produced by our brain and sent to the rest of our body. These are hormones which helps us feel calmer, more relaxed and sleepy.

Don’t go too mad with the toast at 10pm though. The basic rules of healthy eating and nutrition always apply. Choose wholegrain sources of carbohydrates and maintain a balance in relation to portion control and overall calorie intake.

Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.