Top Myths About Carbs and Weight Gain With Dr. Stephan Guyenet

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Between the latest online fads and the crazy media headlines, it’s easier than ever to get confused about your health. If you want to make better decisions about your health today so you can feel better and live longer, you’ve come to the right place.

Do you feel like your cravings are out of control? Are you worried that the sugar in carbs and fructose is sending your insulin on a roller coaster that is the culprit behind your weight gain? And why is it that the amount and types of food we intend to consume rarely line up with our actual dietary intake? I know how frustrating it can be to change your dietary plan and continue to fail in your attempt to lose weight. And while there are limitations to the idea that carbs are the culprit behind weight gain, there are some truths that I want to make sure you are aware of as well.

I’m joined today by Dr. Stephan Guyenet, scientist, author of The Hungry Brain, and creator of the Red Pen Reviews website to discuss the facts and myths behind our cravings and our instincts. Dr. Guyenet explains the role that carbs play in our health and weight loss (or gain) and offers insights into the reasons that all too often, we eat more than we intended to. He sheds light on the best way to sort out the highest quality information available in the myriad of health books and offers some simple and very doable ways that anyone can retrain their brain to crave the foods that will optimize health and minimize cravings, starting today.

Key Takeaways:

[1:08] Today’s topic is the relationship between carbs, sugar and weight gain.

[2:27] Dr. Guyenet dives right into the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis as an explanation that humans too often eat more than they planned to.

[7:22] Do carbs really cause a net accumulation of fat in your body? Dr. Guyenet says no and explains why a low-carb diet may or may not result in successful weight-loss.

[9:50] Understanding the insulin and brain-related studies that show genetic differences between people with higher and lower levels of body fat.

[16:23] What are some of the alternative reasons that we eat more than we want to? Dr. Guyenet examines homeo- and non-homeostatic eating options including energy needs, proximity to food, satisfaction levels, and social situations.

[20:24] Is there one magical switch in the brain that can regulate the mechanisms that trigger hunger and encourage fatness? GLP-1 drugs may be the answer to overcoming the brain mechanisms to achieve effective weight loss.

[26:48] How have obesity and weight loss standards shifted over the last few decades? Calorie intake, access to food, outsourcing food preparation and variety of foods all play a role.

[33:50] The American diet never really went low-fat, and we’re eating more processed, high-calorie foods than ever on top of that.

[37:50] The brain is always looking for the best deal, even with caloric intake. Your brain will always crave an easily accessible mix of carbs and fats, even if it’s not the healthiest choice.

[40:42] Will focusing on less processed foods result in durable changes in your overall health? Dr. Guyenet details some of the studies and diets that compare weight loss against calorie intake with processed and unprocessed foods.

[45:42] Common misconceptions consumers have surrounding the durability of the calorie intake model. Do you really need to count calories to lose weight?

[50:41] Will cutting 3,500 calories from your diet each week result in losing one pound of weight each week? Dr. Guyenet says no and explains why.

[57:31] Red Pen Reviews is a resource that will evaluate the quality of content in diet and health books so that you’re not misled in your weight loss efforts.

[1:07:36] Dr. Guyenet highlights the importance of avoiding overeating by consuming food that is satisfying and filling but not hyper-palatable.

[1:09:52] Do you have a topic you’d like me to cover? Contact me on Facebook or Instagram using #medicalmyths.

To learn more:

Dr. Christianson on Instagram

Dr. Christianson on Facebook

Comprehensive Thyroid Care Telemedicine

Stephan J. Guyenet, PhD

The Hungry Brain: Outsmarting the Instincts That Make Us Overeat by Dr. Stephan Guyenet, PhD.

Red Pen Reviews

@whsource on Twitter


“The carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis mechanisms look great on paper, but the problem is that it’s just not true when you study it in real life.” — Dr. Stephan Guyenet

“The amount of fat that you accumulate on your body is the difference between how much fat you’re eating and how much fat you’re burning.” — Dr. Stephan Guyenet

“Your brain regulates you to higher body fatness, and that’s why losing weight is so hard. Your brain will resist losing weight.” — Dr. Stephan Guyenet

“Too often the truth behind your failed diet is that you were misled by bad math in a magazine article.” — Dr. Stephan Guyenet

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