Carbs are not the enemy - why you should not cut them out
By Amber Charles-Alexis, MSPH, RDN
August 2, 2021
If there is one macronutrient that has gotten a bad rap in recent times, it's definitely carbohydrates. Before you ditch them for good, this blog explains their benefits, potential downsides, and how you can fit carbs into your health plan.
Carbs | Benefits | Potential downsides | How to make them fit | Takeaway
What are carbs?
Carbohydrates - loosely called "carbs" - are one of the three macronutrients, those essential nutrients needed in larger amounts for good health. The other two are dietary fats and proteins.
The term "carbs" is an umbrella term that encompasses starches, dietary fiber, and simple sugars.
Carbs are found in:
Grains/starchy foods - bread, pasta, rice, cereal
Legumes (peas/beans) - lentils, black eye peas, kidney beans
Dairy and dairy products - milk, cheese, yogurt
Fruits - pineapple, pears, mangoes, berries
Non-starchy vegetables - in small amounts - carrots, broccoli, tomato etc.
Despite the massive fear around eating carbs, this nutrient offers many benefits.
Main source of energy
Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy - specifically your brain, liver, and kidneys (1).
Yes, your body can adapt to use ketones, but only when carbs are not available.
Furthermore, it is suggested that your body uses fat most efficiently in the presence of adequate carbs (aka the Kreb's cycle) (2).
Dietary fiber and prebiotics
Dietary fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested by the bo