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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