The answer to the question ‘what makes us fat?’ isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like.

Yes, eating too much often plays a part, but there are also non-dietary factors like stress and lack of sleep which can cause us to balloon.

Then there’s all the advice which focuses on specific food groups.

Sugar is often public enemy number one, and fats frequently get a hard time, but carbohydrates also get cast in the role of villain.

But do carbohydrates actually make you fat?

Many people put themselves through the misery of a carb-free diet, but in some cases, this may be unnecessary.

Dr Xand van Tulleken explores this on his BBC programme, The Truth About Carbs.

Speaking to the Mail Online, he says: "As I’ve now learned, not all carbohydrates are created equal.

"Some are very good for us, though many are indeed bad, causing us to pile on weight, raise our risk of diabetes and even threatening our fertility.

"Learning to eat carbs more intelligently has helped me control my weight more easily. As a medical doctor with a degree in public health, I’m convinced it could bring similar benefits to millions of Britons."

Happily, Dr van Tulleken is sharing his wisdom and a simple test which will show you if you should embrace a lower carb diet or not.

The cracker test

"Simply chew on a plain cracker until it changes in flavour from a bland biscuit to quite sweet.

"If the taste changes in less than 30 seconds, your body probably processes carbs quite effectively.

"But if the cracker hasn’t changed taste after 30 seconds, then you should seriously consider eating a lower carb diet.

"If you notice the sweetness within 0 to 14 seconds, your body processes carbs efficiently for use as energy — you can have 250g of carbs a day (roughly four slices of wholewheat bread).

"If it takes 15 to 30 seconds, you can have 175g of carbs a day (around three-and-a-half slices of wholewheat bread).

"More than 30 seconds, you’re not a great processor of carbs so the body is less able to use the excess as energy, and so stores it as fat. So you can have just 125g of carbs a day (around three slices of wholewheat bread)."

Dr van Tulleken explains how each individual result is likely to related to how much amylase is present in our saliva.

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