Foods That Make You Fat and Why

Some foods make you fat.  Almost as soon as your body gets the food into the stomach it begins to convert that food into fat.  It doesn’t matter whether you plan on exercise or even are exercising, there are some foods your body simply processes and turns to fat.

On the other hand, some foods that you eat become fuel for your body to use – their calories are burned.  The difference can be striking.  Two foods—same number of calories, and the same amount of carbohydrates will have different results – one will be quickly stored by the body as fat and the other will be slowly used by the body as fuel.

We all know how hard fat is to get rid of—so when thinking about a meal, or a snack, it is a good idea is to avoid those foods that the body turns into fat.

Let me give you a few examples:

In the video we show you the apple and the donut – both have the same amount of carbohydrates—but almost all of the donut is stored as fat – leaving a person hungry later for real food.  And almost all of the apple is used as fuel – so if you eat an apple, you stay satisfied longer.

Foods that make you fat tend to be highly processed foods- like white bread, cookies, breakfast cereals (including granola), cakes, crackers, potatoes, and rice.  Those candy bars that are advertised to be a good energy boost while working out—they aren’t- your body turns them quickly into fat and they just weigh you down.

Good foods that tend to burn as fuel are beans, vegetables, most fruits.

We even rank foods into those that tend to be made into fat versus those that are burned—that is called the glycemic index.  It assigns a numerical value to the food – the higher the value, the more likely it is that the food will turn into fat.

Glucose (the most elemental sugar) is assigned a value of 100.  If you drink 100 grams of sugar (which tastes horrible) –  almost as soon as it hits your stomach the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream.  This causes a rise in your blood sugar, and your body responds quickly to this by making insulin.  This forces the blood sugar into cells and ultimately turns that glucose into fat.  That quick response by the body brings down your own blood sugar quickly – so you find yourself hungry, and needing another quick fix of sugar (one thin mint is never enough – and why thin mints don’t make you thin).

Foods that cause a smaller rise in the blood glucose level, and thus less likely to be turned into fat – include beans, apples, lentils, long-grained rice.  When these foods are eaten, in reasonable portions – the body has a smaller rise in blood sugar, and can easily accommodate that rise – and that rise is sustained as the food slowly makes its way down the digestive system.

You can find out more about this information by clicking on the chart below:

Glycemic Index

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

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  1. thedoc says:

    There are over 235 types of rice and how they are processed are quite differently. The rice typically found in the United States, white rice, has glycemic indexes from 76-89 – all in the quite high range. Where the rice found in China, of which about 23 types have been tested, is quite another type indeed – the rice has a much lower glycemic index, 35-40’s. In addition, what is put with the rice also changes the glycemic index. So, yes, one has to look more at the rice itself, as well as what is put with that rice. American white, polished rice has low fiber content, high glycemic index, and associated with increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Chinese rice, not so much.

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