This is how your body really stores fat 5 years ago

This is how your body really stores fat

'Carbs are the devil'.

There seems to be a huge purge on carbs going on in fitness and nutrition at the moment.

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You can't go a day without a new zero-carb diet being touted as the next great hope for getting you lean and ripped.

Yes, some carbs are bad. Yes, some carbs can contribute to weight gain. And yes cutting back on carbs short term (certainly refined or sugary ones) can make your body more insulin sensitive (so you can then use carbs more efficiently).

But not all carbs are bad. Getting the right carbs, at the right time in the right amount can actually accelerate your muscle building and fat loss goals.

There's some fundamental science which might help change your mind about the whole 'carbs are evil' thing.

It relates to the two main ways that our body stores calories from food.

Man Pinching the Fat on his Belly

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Strength and conditioning expert Dr Todd Miller explains that calories are either stored as fat or as carbohydrate.

Fat is stored in fat tissue and carbs, which you might not know, are stored in muscle tissue as well as the liver. He explains this as like having a 'fat tank' and a 'sugar tank'.

Your 'fat tank' is unlimited in space and will just keep filling up and swelling with thousands of calories of fat if you're eating more than you burn.

But your 'sugar tank' only has a maximum storage of around 2,000 calories. Once that is full is when your body will start storing excess carbs in your fat tank.

If you're activity levels exceed the amount you're eating then these 'tanks' will never fill up and will deplete so you lose weight. So Dr Miller says the problem isn't that we're eating sugar, instead...

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"The problem is that we're always in 'storage mode' instead of being in 'burn mode'.

"If we're always in burn mode it really doesn't matter how much sugar we eat because we're always going to be burning more than we eat and these tanks are never going to get filled.

"If we're in storage mode where we're eating more than we burn then carbohydrate consumption becomes a problem.

"But it's not just carbohydrate that's a problem - fat is also a problem too.

"We eat too much sugar, that's true. We also eat too much fat. We eat too much food and we don't burn enough calories.

"As a result we spend our lives in storage mode instead of in burn mode.

"We can look at people like athletes who eat an enormous amount of carbohydrates and they don't get fat.

"Why don't they get fat? Because they're always in burn mode."