The Truth about Carbs and Your Weight: It’s Not as Bad as You Think


Dietitian Sian Porter says: “Carbohydrates are such a broad category and people need to know that not all carbs are the same and it is the type, quality and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that is important”.

However, Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients your body needs, sometimes called macronutrients. Carbs are the most important source of energy for your body. Your body will break down carbs into glucose, and your blood helps transport this fuel all over your body to provide the energy you need to do everything from the run and jump to sit and sleep. It is an energy booster.

Howbeit, there are many myths about Carbs such as it makes a human fat, it’s unhealthy. Now here are some truths about carbs which will remove such myths from your mind soon.

  1. Myth: Carbs will make you fat.

 Truth: “People like [carbohydrates] so much, they tend to overeat them,” says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. “So people gain weight—not because the carbs are bad—but because they’re having too much.” This means that it depends on the quantity.

A lot of those crave-inducing carbs are the kind that is high in refined sugar and low in fiber and all they think is about candy, crackers, chips, and cookies.

“People see carbs as snack foods or unhealthy foods,” says Willow Jarosh, R.D., a dietitian and co-founder of C&J Nutrition. And unfortunately, nutrient-rich carbs—like fruit, vegetables, and grains—are too often lumped in with the nutritionally and poor kind of carbohydrates like soda and syrup, Jarosh says.

As Elisa Zied, R.D., author of Younger Next Week and a member of the Passion for Pasta Advisory Council “If you consume more calories than your body needs—whether or not it contains carbohydrate—you can gain an unhealthy amount of weight,”. So though it might be easy to blame carbs, it’s probably best to look at everything you’re eating—from breakfast to dessert.

  1. Myth: All simple carbs are unhealthy

 Truth: “Simple carbohydrates have a high glycemic index and can raise blood sugar levels,” Zied says. But not all of them are necessarily bad for you. Healthy examples of unrefined simple carbs include dairy and fruit.

On the other hand, According to Zied: “Complex carbohydrates are absorbed and digested by the body more slowly”, also “They have a lower glycemic index than simple carbohydrates and tend not to raise blood sugar levels the way simple carbohydrates do.” Complex carbs include grains such as bulgur, quinoa, and some kinds of pasta and starchy vegetables such as acorn squash, corn, and pumpkin.

Rather than focusing on refined sugary carbohydrates, one must focus on fibers.  “Fiber is one of the things that helps slow down the blood sugar spike,” Jarosh says. “[Without fiber], it’s more likely that you’ll get hungrier again sooner, and you’re not going to feel as satisfied. And that’s what gives carbs a bad name.”

  1. Myth: All pasta and bread are bad

Truth:  Zied says. “Pasta is a perfect vehicle for cooking with many foods,” she says. Plus, it’s quick and easy to prepare. Hearty grains like quinoa, wild rice, brown rice, and farro are also all great bases for a healthy, satisfying meal. Just be sure to keep your portions in check; a single serving of cooked pasta equals about one cup or the size of your fist.

The same rules apply to bread. If you just can’t go without a lunchtime sandwich, make sure you’re putting something like grilled chicken, avocado, tomato, and lettuce between two whole grain slices, Gans says.

  1. Myth: Low-carb diets are the only way to lose weight

Truth: “We need carbohydrates,” Gans says. “Our bodies rely on glucose to function optimally—especially our brain.” If you don’t get enough carbs, eventually your body will go into a state of ketosis—meaning it’s burning fat, instead of glucose, for fuel.

Instead of going cold turkey with carbs, focus on smaller portion sizes and chowing down on high-fiber, complex carbohydrates that will help you to feel fuller, longer.

  1. Myth: Less than half of your diet should be carbs.

Truth: While everyone’s nutritional needs are different, the current acceptable macronutrient distribution range (or AMDR) for carbohydrates is 45 to 65 percent of your total daily caloric intake. Since daily caloric needs can vary, thinking about carbs as a percentage of your daily total is a good strategy.