MYTH: Carbs Are the Enemy

Think you can't eat carbs AND lose weight? Think again. I'm breaking down this weight-loss 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. I’m here to tell you that is completely false: You don’t have to banish carbs to lose weight. In fact, some may even aid in your weight-loss efforts. Think about it — fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates and they are a couple of the best food groups out there, right? 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 healthier 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. Other healthy carbs that fit the bill? Look to nonstarchy vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains like quinoa (which is technically a seed), oats, wild rice, or triticale (a wheat-rye hybrid).

Our bodies need carbs. Limiting carbs will never work long-term because our bodies crave and need them. Depriving yourself of a major food group is not a manageable weight-loss plan because it wreaks havoc on your metabolism. One study found that women who severely restricted their carbohydrates for three days ended up bingeing 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 carbs, protein, and fat in every meal, striving for the healthy balance of 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat.

Carbs help to fight disease. People who eat three servings of whole grains a day are 30 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The right mix of healthy carbs is the best way to control your blood sugar and avoid diabetes. Carbs are also the vehicle for many of nature’s disease fighters, like phytochemicals. Without carbs, 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 and processed carbohydrates, it is a mistake to eliminate all carbs. Healthy carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Enjoy!

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