Fat has always been considered the most-maligned macronutrients in the health and fitness world, but it seems that things are changing quickly and carbs are getting a bad rap. From the South Beach Diet and the Atkins diet to Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, carbs are considered a big no-no. Are cabs really that bad? You have to educate yourself a bit to separate the facts from myths about carbs. Let's find out more about it.
Some Common Myths about Carbs
Many people are of the view that you should limit your intake of carbs, especially when you are trying to lose weight. Others believe that low-carb diets are much healthier than high-carb diets. While there are some facts, there are many myths too. For instance:
1. Low-Carb Diets Are Better for Your Health
Some studies have found that low-carb diet may improve some metabolic markers, such as insulin sensitivity and blood lipids, but many studies have also confirmed that these diets do nothing to lower your risk of CVD. It also does nothing to reduce mortality; in fact, one study found that limiting the intake of carbs might increase the risk of mortality by 30%. It may also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Many experts have also confirmed that limiting your intake of carbs for a short time may offer some benefits, but there is no need to stick with such diets for longer periods.
2. Low-Carb Diets Help with Weight Loss
While you may lose some weight by limiting your intake of carbs because you will essentially be cutting your caloric intake, the effect will go away after a short time. You lose water weight when you switch to a low-carb diet for a short time, but you cannot sustain that effect by following the same diet over an extended period. In fact, many studies have found that no-carb or low-carb diets have failed to reduce weight more effectively than a balanced diet.
A balanced diet is better because it provides you with important nutrients and allows you to fuel your workouts too. You need to learn how many carbs you really need as per your activity level. In most cases, you can easily consume 130-150 carbs a day. Getting these carbs will serve as a sustained source of energy, which is going to perform better in the gym and lose weight in return. Moreover, getting the right amount of carbs will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent hunger pangs. By stabilizing your blood sugar, you can prevent overeating, which again will support weight loss. Therefore, you should not eliminate carbs from your diet even when your main goal is to lose weight.
3. All White Foods Are Bad for Health
Again, this is one of many myths about carbs, as many people think that all white foods, like bread, contain carbs and should be avoided. They even eliminate potatoes from their diet, which in turn keep them from getting enough vitamin C, potassium, and much needed fiber. Similarly, many other white foods do provide you with important nutrients – the list includes mushrooms, cauliflower, garlic, and leeks. Therefore, you have to understand that not all carbs are created equal and not every white food is necessarily bad.
4. Carbs Cause Gas and Bloating
It is true that some people may have a hard time digesting carbs, which can lead to gas and indigestion, but it is not the case for everyone consuming carbs. In most cases, there may be another reason why you frequently feel bloated. Your body may not be able to tolerate soy or dairy, or you may be suffering from a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome. What it means is that carbs do not make everyone feel bloated. You can develop bloating if you have a sensitivity or intolerance to any other food. If you are allergic to gluten, you may also develop itching, rashes, chronic diarrhea, and vomiting. When gas and bloating do not go away even when you have eliminated wheat from your diet, you may want to talk to your doctor to make a correct diagnosis.
5. Carbs Increase Inflammation
This is one of many myths about carbs, but there is not enough scientific evidence to support this statement. There may be some relation between carbs intake and weight gain, but it is hard to say if eating carbs will lead to an increase in inflammation. You should worry about dealing with chronic inflammation because it can lead to cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The truth is that you should increase your intake of whole grains because studies have confirmed that they can reduce concentrations of different inflammatory markers. They can raise the levels of adiponectin in blood and reduce levels of C-reactive protein. Whole grains also provide you with antioxidants and other phytochemicals that promote glucose metabolism and reduce inflammation as well.
6. All Simple Carbs Are Unhealthy
You have to understand that not all types of carbs are good or bad. The truth is that you can get carbs in both whole and processed forms. Complex carbs may not always be good, especially considering the fact that white bread is a complex starch. Similarly, white lactose is simple starch. You can get simple carbs from a glass of milk, an apple, or even a can of soda. Therefore, you should give a sweeping statement here and consider how the carbs are processed to decide whether you should include them in your diet or not.