top of page

Myth Busting 101: "Carbs make you fat"

I have heard countless times from clients in my practice, as well as from friends and passersby how “carbs make you fat”. And where some people may have a point, the question remains is this actually true? If you have been on the receiving end of this misconception, then you may either feel relieved or fearful from what I am going to reveal to you today. Like a magician who uses sleight of hand, I will weave my way through the layers of untruths and bring you to a point of miraculous discovery and hopefully a newfound respect for the macronutrient known to have a “bad rap”.

Let’s go back to where a lot of the damage was done. In the 1970’s there was a big push in the USA for the consumers to buy subsidized foods. This caused the population to purchase more of the lower cost products whose ingredients came from the categories of corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and rice. These lower cost and less perishable ingredients formed the basis of many food items such as high-salt processed foods, high calorie juices and sodas which were sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. As a result, the trend to buy more of these at a lower cost led to a rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

All of this legislation happened at a time when the new food based dietary guidelines were published. The food pyramid depicted that the basis of healthy eating should come from the carbohydrate group. The actual guidelines suggested complex and unrefined carbohydrates, however this led to people feeling more comfortable including more refined carbohydrates in their diet as they were cheaper and more readily available.