The Truth About Carbs: Not All Carbs are Created Equal…

Whenever people talk about losing weight, usually the first thing they say is, “I need to give up carbs” or “I love bread, that’s my problem”. And while these statements do have some validity, the context in which they are spoken is filled with misnomers. I would like to discuss the truth about carbs, clear up some confusion and hopefully clarify and squelch some myths, because not all carbs are created equal. I would like to start with the basics; what is a carb and what is the role of carbs. Then explain the categories of carbs and lastly list out the  the guidelines  for choosing carbs.

What Is A Carb and What Is The Role Of Carbs?

Carbohydrates are compounds made of single sugars or multiple sugars and compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. 
*Carbohydrates are the ideal fuel for the body. They provide the body with energy. They are extremely necessary for many of the body’s functions. We need carbs!*

What Are The Categories Of Carbs?

Complex Carbohydrates: Found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes 

Refined Carbohydrates: Found in snack crackers and baked goods. The process of refining removes most of the “good” stuff from grains to yield a finer texture and improve shelf life. 

“Other” Carbohydrates: Added sugars found in honey, corn syrup, candies, cookies, and sweetened beverages. 

Guidelines For Choosing Carbs

  1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Using the categories for carbs listed above, choose complex carbohydrates such as fruits, a variety of vegetables (especially dark green and red and orange vegetables) and beans and peas. Increase whole grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains. 
  2. Limit consumption of refined and “other” carbs.  These are the carbs you want to limit. Crackers, baked goods, cakes, pies, cookies.

Not all carbs are created equal! Excess calories puts on the pounds. The fat, not the carbohydrate, raises the calorie count the most. The amount of fat in vegetables is nonexistent compared to the fat in a biscuit. Both are carbohydrates but the fat is what makes one carb preferable over another. And this is the truth about carbs.

About the author:

Kathleen Richardson is an AFPA certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.