Are Carbs good or bad? | Myth Busting

Are Carbs good or bad? | Myth Busting

Carbohydrates¹, or carbs for short, have long been a topic of debate in the world of nutrition. Some people swear by low-carb diets, while others believe that carbs are an essential part of a healthy diet. So, are carbs good or bad? Let's turn to a dietitian to get some answers and debunk common carb myths.

What are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients, along with protein and fat. They are the body's primary source of energy and are found in a variety of foods, including grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. Carbs are made up of sugar molecules, which are broken down by the body into glucose to fuel our cells.

Carb Myth #1: Carbs Make You Gain Weight

One common myth about carbs is that they make you gain weight. While it's true that consuming excess calories from any macronutrient can lead to weight gain, carbs themselves are not inherently fattening. In fact, they can be part of a balanced diet and can even aid in weight loss when consumed in the right amounts.

Carb Myth #2: All Carbs are Created Equal

Another misconception is that all carbs are the same. This is far from the truth. Carbs can be classified as simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. Simple carbs, like those found in sugary drinks and candies, are quickly digested and can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, complex carbs, such as those found in whole grains and vegetables, are digested more slowly, providing a steady release of energy.

Carb Myth #3: Low-Carb Diets are the Best for Everyone

Low-carb diets have gained popularity in recent years, with many people believing that they are the best way to lose weight and improve health. While low-carb diets can be effective for some individuals, they are not suitable for everyone. Each person's nutritional needs are unique, and a balanced diet that includes a variety of macronutrients is generally recommended for optimal health.

Carb Myth #4: Cutting Out Carbs is the Key to a Healthy Diet

Some people believe that cutting out carbs entirely is the key to a healthy diet. However, this is not the case. Carbs provide essential nutrients, such as fibre, vitamins, and minerals, that are important for overall health. Instead of eliminating carbs, it's more beneficial to focus on consuming the right types of carbs in appropriate portions.

Carb Myth #5: Carbs Cause Blood Sugar Spikes

It is often assumed that carbs cause blood sugar spikes, making them unsuitable for individuals with diabetes or those trying to manage their blood sugar levels. While simple carbs can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, complex carbs, when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced meal, can be included in a diabetes-friendly diet. It's all about making smart choices and monitoring portion sizes.

The Bottom Line

Carbs are not the enemy. They are an important part of a healthy diet and provide the body with the energy it needs to function properly. The key is to choose the right types of carbs and consume them in appropriate portions. Consult with a registered dietitian to determine your individual nutritional needs and to develop a personalized eating plan that suits your goals and lifestyle.

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1. Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet | Mayo Clinic

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