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"Are Carbs Bad?" 3 Carb Myths DEBUNKED by an expert

Is a loaf of bread bad for me?

I can't tell you how often people come into my office completely confused about carbohydrates, thinking they are some kind of monster and that all carbs are "bad." If you’ve been a dieter in the past, or if you read any popular blogger sites, you know that carbs are demonized in our culture. They are a top food item to be eliminated when trying to lose weight and they perpetuate a feeling of guilt and shame for a lot of people when consumed. That's why today I want to clear the air and debunk 3 of the top myths I hear people say about carbs. (P.S.--- if you need a refresher on the three different macronutrients, refer back to my video from a couple weeks ago where I break down what types of foods are carbohydrates and what they do for our bodies.) The link for that blog is here.

Prefer to listen? Check out the video instead here.


FALSE. Eating a carbohydrate will not make you fat. There are so many different factors that play a role in weight fluctuations. Some of them include

  • environment

  • mental state

  • activity level

  • age

  • portion sizes

  • underlying diseases

  • hormones

  • medications

  • sleep

  • alcohol consumption

  • stress

  • ethnicity

These are just a few factors that affect weight fluctuations. In a 2011 study, they examined weight fluctuations of a cohort of 120,877 U.S. women and men over the course of 20 years. Guess what? They found an inverse association between consumption of vegetables (carb), whole grains (carb) , fruits (carb), nuts, and yogurt (contains carb) with weight gain. This means, the more the participants ate the foods listed above, the more their weight decreased. The less they ate of these foods, the more their weight increased. 1 4 out of the 5 foods that were associated with an INVERSE relationship to weight gain were a source of carbohydrates. Folks, it's safe to say, carbohydrates don't make you fat. MYTH #2 IF YOU HAVE DIABETES OR ARE PRE DIABETIC YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE ANY CARBS

FALSE. You can absolutely have carbohydrates if you have diabetes or are a pre diabetic. Carbohydrates contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs in order to flourish and accomplish its daily tasks. While carbohydrates do affect your blood sugar more than protein or fat, you do not need to stop eating them entirely to manage your blood sugar. Making sure you are:

  • getting foods with high fiber content

  • consuming fiber and protein or fiber and fat in the same sitting

  • eating regularly planned meals

are great ways to help manage your blood sugar.


FALSE. A tricky new thing in the diet world is to “reduce inflammation.” Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to many different disease states in the body so we do want to avoid inflammation, but we also need to be careful that we don't use it as a tool to propel overly restrictive eating patterns. High intake of whole grains (think quinoa, bulgar, amaranth, farro, millet etc) have actually been shown to reduce concentrations of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein and increase of adiponectin, which is released by your fat cells to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.2 There you have it, friend. 3 carb myths debunked. If you have knowingly or unknowingly subscribed to any of these myths regarding carbs, this is your cue to erase them from your mind. If you would like to look at the two studies I referred to in this article, please check out the sources below.


1. Mozzafarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med. 2011;364(25):2392-2404.

2. Aune D, Norat T, Romundstad P, Vatten LJ. Whole grain and refined grain consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Epidemiol.

Interested in watching the video version of this blog?

Click the youtube link below to watch this topic via video!

Wanting help to know how to choose the right carbohydrates for your diet?

Grab my FREE guide via the link here!

Bye for now!

Mikyah Owens, RDN, LD, CD

Wanting one-on-one advice? Check out my services and get the help you deserve!


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