MYTH: Carbs Are the Enemy

CarbsThink you can’t eat carbs AND lose weight? Your right, carbs are the enemy if the picture to the left is your image of eating carbohydrates. You are wrong if you think it means eliminating fruit, and beans etc.

Time to bust this weight loss-only myth once and for all!

The Truth: You CAN eat carbs — the “good” ones! Yes, you read that right. You CAN eat carbs and still lose weight! I know that a lot of trendy diets (like Atkins and Paleo) have popped up over the years based on the principle that a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet is the key to weight loss. It’s not.

I’m here to tell you that is mostly false and very unhealthy: You don’t have to banish carbs to lose weight. Even though you may want to limit starches, you don’t have to succumb to a nutrient poor diet of animal protein and limited fruits, because you are afraid of gaining weight.

In fact, eating “nutrient rich” fruits as part of a superfood, high-nutrient density, or nutritarian eating style will even aid in your weight-loss efforts as your nutrient needs get met, you don’t overwhelm your body with what does not promote health, and you naturally eat less. Think about it — fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates and they are the two best food groups out there. The key is choosing the right carbs to consume. Here are a few other reasons why carbs are NOT the enemy.

Healthy carbs help you feel full. But muffins, cupcakes, french fries, white bread, white rice…? These are the evil carbs. These refined and processed carbohydrates have very little nutritional value and can definitely make you gain weight — which is why it’s about time you replaced them with a healthy version or just eliminated them altogether. Carbohydrates that are 100 percent whole grain and fiber rich help you feel full because they get absorbed slowly into your system and keep your blood sugar balanced, and come packaged with thousands of nutrients.

Other healthy carbs that fit the bill? Look to non starchy vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains like quinoa (which is technically a seed), oats, wild rice…

Our bodies need carbs for fuel. Limiting carbs will never work long-term because our bodies crave and need them for obvious reasons. Depriving yourself of a major food group like beans for example, is not a manageable weight-loss plan because, like the elimination or limiting of fruits, the replacements wreak havoc on your metabolism.

One study found that women who severely restricted their carbohydrates for three days ended up binging on carbs the fourth day — eating 44 percent more calories from carbohydrate foods than they had before they restricted their carb intake. You should have real food carbs, health promoting protein, and essential fat in the the quantities they are available in whole natural foods.

Carbohydrate also help fight disease. People who eat three servings of whole grains a day are 30 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. And that’s just whole grains. The right mix of healthy “Nutrient Rich” carbs (because you are not just getting carbs when you eat nutrient rich foods) is the best way to control your blood sugar and avoid diabetes. Carbohydrate rich foods are also the vehicle for many of nature’s disease fighters, like phytochemicals.

Without real food carbohydrates, we’d be sitting ducks for cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammation, and digestive problems.

The Bottom Line: Remember, while you should ditch white flour and white rice from your diet and cut back on refined carbohydrates, it is a mistake to eliminate all carbs. Healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Enjoy!


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