The War on Carbs

For decades, dietary fat was the villain. Now, the spotlight has shifted to carbs, with many blaming them for weight gain and health problems. But the truth is, not all carbs are created equal. Let's explore the science behind carbs and debunk the myths.

Understanding Carbs: The Basics

Carbohydrates (carbs) are essential fuel for our bodies. They come in various forms, with the three main types being:

  • Monosaccharides: Simple sugars like glucose (the body's preferred energy source).
  • Disaccharides: Two linked sugars, like table sugar (glucose + fructose).
  • Polysaccharides: Complex carbs like starches and fibers (found in whole grains, vegetables, and legumes).

The Carb Rollercoaster: Simple vs. Complex

Simple carbs are digested quickly, causing blood sugar spikes and crashes. Complex carbs take longer to digest, providing sustained energy. Refined carbs (stripped of nutrients) further create this "rollercoaster" effect. Whole food carbs, packed with fiber and nutrients, offer slow-burning energy.

Beyond "Good" and "Bad": Embrace the "Eat Less-Eat More" Continuum

Instead of demonizing any food group, focus on mindful eating. Highly processed carbs are often calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. Opting for whole food carbs like vegetables, legumes, and whole grains keeps you fuller for longer and provides essential nutrients.

The Carb War: Finding Your Balance

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to carb intake. Some people thrive on lower-carb diets, while athletes need more carbs for performance. Factors like activity level, body composition, and individual needs all play a role.

Key Takeaways:

  • Limit processed carbs and prioritize whole food sources.
  • Adjust your carb intake based on your activity level and goals.
  • Consult a nutrition coach for personalized recommendations.

By understanding the science behind carbs and adopting a mindful approach, you can ditch the "carb war" mentality and create a healthy, sustainable eating pattern that works for you.

By Yannick Le Hellaye

CPT, ISSA, PN Certified Nutrition Coach