Common Workout Myths Part 4- Carbs Make You Gain Weight!

OK, so this really isn’t a workout myth, but since ultra low-carb diets are the hot diet right now, I felt I needed to address the negative perception of carbohydrates.

Some of you will passionately disagree with me on this one, particular if you’re on a Keto-type diet because you’ve most likely experienced weight loss with these diets. Here’s the rub with low carb diets— You may lose weight in the short-term but when you go back to eating carbs (and you likely will) you’ll throw your metabolism into a state of confusion.

Furthermore, studies have shown complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet.(1)

Because low carb diets are so restrictive, health experts say it’s not an appropriate diet to follow long-term. (It’s best done for 30 to 90 days, followed by a more sustainable diet plan, says Josh Axe, a doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist.) But the problem with that is that most people will regain a lot of the weight they lost (or more!) as soon as they go back to eating carbs.

There is a way to reintroduce a normal balanced diet back into your life after stopping low-carb diets but I’d strongly recommend you employ the assistance of a nutritionist or doctor if you want to keep the weight off otherwise I think your likelihood of success is slim.


“People often say that carbs are fattening. But complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, are not ‘fattening’ foods,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD.

This myth, she believes, may spring from carbs’ effect on insulin. Eating carbohydrates raises your blood glucose and prompts your body to release insulin. This redirects your glucose to cells.

“But it’s the type and quantity of the carbs you eat — not carbohydrates themselves — that cause weight gain,” notes Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. “Many carbs contain excess calories and sugar.”

Examples include desserts; white bread, rice and pasta; and snack foods like chips, crackers and pretzels. These refined carbs are stripped of the outside grain, which contains the fiber and some protein, she says, making glucose levels spike quickly.

Carbs that contain fiber (like brown rice or oatmeal) or protein (like legumes) raise blood glucose more slowly, require less insulin, and keep you full longer. But even complex carbs like whole grains, beans and fresh fruit should be eaten in moderation.

“For weight loss, a basic rule of thumb is to limit your carb intake to about 1 cup per meal (about the size of a coffee mug or woman’s fist),” says Registered Dietician, Ms. Zumpano.

A balanced diet that contains carbs is healthier and far more sustainable in the long-term than low-carb diets. The key with any successful diet is moderation. Keto proponents will scoff at the need for whole grains and fruits but the scientific research is undeniable— a balanced diet that includes whole grains and fruits is crucial to our health and disease fighting abilities.

Keep your carbohydrate intake to around 40 to 45 percent of your total calories. Healthy fats should make up 30 to 35 percent of your total calories, and lean proteins should make up the other 30 percent.

This is a formula for sustainable success.

Carbs truly are not the enemy… Gluttony and processed, refined foods are the real enemy! While it’s true that some people such as those with metabolic disease may benefit from a low carb diet, for the majority of the population, I’d spend your time and effort learning the virtues of eating a balanced diet and leave the keto diet for those serial yo-yo dieters that seem to always be chasing the next hot diet plan with little success.

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