Dietitians Share the 6 Biggest Carb Myths – This Info Can Help You Lose Weight
Keto and low-carb diets aren’t going away anytime soon. People definitely find weight-loss success, but registered dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, author of The Anti-Inflammatory Kitchen Cookbook warns that restricting your diet in general, and cutting out carbs specifically, can not only cause binge eating, but as soon as you start eating carbs again, you’ll regain the weight. Don’t fear carbs! If you’re trying to lose weight, understanding these carb myths can actually help you lose weight.
Eating Certain Carbs (Like Fruit and Grains) Makes You Gain Weight
Eating carbs, including fruit, whole grains like rice, and bread won’t automatically result in weight gain, reassured registered dietitian nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color and co-author of The CarbLovers Diet. She explained that carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, both for fuel and for nutrients, and they can definitely fit into a healthy eating plan – even when you’re trying to lose weight.
Fruit and grains are the primary source of fiber within our diet, explained registered dietitian Emily Tills, MS, CDN. Fiber keep us full and focused, and can help prevent overeating to support weight loss. Without fruit or grains, our fiber intake could be very low.
Eating carbs that are high in resistant starch such as beans, lentils, and even potatoes and pasta can also help with weight loss, said Frances. Resistant starch acts like fiber and helps you feel fuller longer. you just need to stick to the serving size, for example one cup of cooked pasta.
Protein Is More Important Than Carbs
Protein isn’t any more important than carbs when it comes to losing weight. All three macros – protein, carbs, and healthy fats – are necessary for our bodies to function normally, and eating all three can help us lose weight in different ways.
Frances said that protein is necessary for muscle growth and repair post-exercise, and it can also help us feel satiated. Carbohydrates provide essential energy for your brain and also to move your muscles. Healthy fats are needed for energy. too. They help absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and also aid in that satiated feeling.
“While you can remove one of them for short periods, all three macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) are essential for good health in the long-term,” she said. Emily added that if you’re an avid exerciser, you need carbs to fuel your muscles! Carbs are our primary energy source, so if we cut out carbs, we can start to feel tired and lose the ability to exercise as often or as intensely as you want.
You Shouldn't Eat Carbs at Every Meal
On the contrary, it’s better to include some carbs at each meal rather than to have a giant plate of them at dinner, Frances said. To keep blood sugar levels steady, it’s ideal to eat a combination of high-fiber carbs, protein, and healthy fats together at every meal. “This combination helps to keep you feeling satisfied and full so that you’re not reaching for less nutritious snacks between meals,” she added.
You Shouldn't Eat Carbs Late at Night
There isn’t anything magical that happens after 6 p.m. or 8 p.m., or whatever time experts say you should stop eating carbs – they won’t automatically turn into fat.
While 16:8 intermittent fasters find success with not eating after dinner, it doesn’t have anything to do with eating carbs specifically. Frances said, “if you’re hungry at night, you should definitely eat something small, and a bowl of whole grain cereal or a piece of avocado toast would be perfect.”
It's Better to Eat Carbs in the Morning to Burn Them Off
Emily said that there’s no time limit on carbs and when we use them. They should be part of every meal, but we should pay attention to the portion sizes of all our foods instead.
All Simple Carbs Are Bad; All Complex Carbs Are Good
While we can agree that eating a bowl of quinoa is healthier than eating a doughnut, not all simple carbs are bad. Fruit is technically a simple sugar, but also comes with a lot of fiber and micronutrients as well, explained Emily. Fruit also offers antioxidants and it can satisfy sweet cravings.