Will carbs make me fat?

They can if you eat more calories than you should be eating, which is definitely a concern as carbohydrates are disconnected from the sensation of fullness in some people (preceding overeating). Inherently though, carbs do not cause more fat gain than the caloric load suggests

Written by
Last Updated:

Not by themselves.

As we explained on another page, the only factor in weight loss is consuming less calories than one needs, regardless of the make up of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This is true for the inverse - to gain fat, you must consume more calories than you need, regardless of protein, fat, and carbohydrates content.

The process in which carbohydrates are converted into fat deposits is called de novo lipogensis (DNL).

Studies have shown that this process is not easy for the body.[1][2][3][4]

Another study found that eating carbohydrates at night had no negative impact on fat loss.[5]

So while carbohydrates can inhibit fat burning, putting the onus on carbohydrates themselves (instead of excessive calories) as the cause behind fat gain is incorrect.


  1. ^ Hellerstein MK. De novo lipogenesis in humans: metabolic and regulatory aspects . Eur J Clin Nutr. (1999)
  2. ^ Hellerstein MK. No common energy currency: de novo lipogenesis as the road less traveled . Am J Clin Nutr. (2001)
  3. ^ McDevitt RM, et al. De novo lipogenesis during controlled overfeeding with sucrose or glucose in lean and obese women . Am J Clin Nutr. (2001)
  4. ^ Schwarz JM, et al. Short-term alterations in carbohydrate energy intake in humans. Striking effects on hepatic glucose production, de novo lipogenesis, lipolysis, and whole-body fuel selection . J Clin Invest. (1995)
  5. ^ Sofer S, et al. Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 months diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner . Obesity (Silver Spring). (2011)