Do Carbs Make Me Fat?

This is the first in a series of nutrition topics that I will be posting about on my blog as I want to dispel some myths about nutrition and arm you with knowledge.  I cannot tell you how many times I hear, "I eat too many carbs!" when talking with clients about their eating habits.  Not all carbohydrates (carbs) are created equal and perhaps your selections or portions of carbs are the culprit rather than simple consumption of them.  Excess consumption of any macronutrient, to include carbs, over daily caloric needs will cause weight gain.  

Carbs (the right carbs) do not make you fat!  Carbs are necessary macronutrients that provide energy for the body, metabolism of fats, spare muscle proteins, and provide essential fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Carbs also are imperative for glycogen replenishment before, during, and after exercise for strength, power, aerobic, and anaerobic performance and conditioning.  Selecting carbs that are moderate to low on the glycemic index and high in fiber can help with satiety, blood sugar regulation, and energy balance.  A few examples of these are vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, and sprouted whole grain breads. On the other hand, overconsumption of sugar, refined and processed carbs, and high-glycemic foods could lead to uncontrolled spikes in blood sugar, low energy, and increased appetite.  How do you feel after you eat white, processed bread?  How do you feel after you eat French fries or chips?  Energized or lethargic?

It is best to select unprocessed, whole-food carbs such as vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grains to provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals for healthy weight loss or maintenance. The acceptable carbohydrate intake for the average adult is 40% - 65% of total caloric intake.  This may be much higher than you currently consume as most of the popular diets today have called for very low percentages of carbs.  This has created a fear of consuming carbs, yet they are absolutely essential for energy.  So get out there and eat some carbs but choose wisely!