Somewhere along the line, we got it in our heads that carbohydrates are ‘bad.’ It’s actually a huge diet myth and one that Kimberly Gomer MS, RD, LDN, director of nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, constantly works to bust.
“I think the medical professionals, media and diet industry have fueled this fear [of carbs],” she explains. “Many people hear from their trainer, their doctor, their friend, “Say away from carbs.” Diet myths are all around and the trends in dieting are found everywhere.”
So how does she work to reset the narrative? At Pritikin, she looks to the science. She explains that the food and diet that is healthy—that will prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes—also helps weight loss happen without hunger.
“Eating a plant-based diet including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free dairy/calcium-rich foods, plant protein and small amounts of lean meats is the key for health,” she adds.
When it comes to choosing carbs, the top three good-for-you choices, oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice. The ones to avoid are the sugars found in protein bars and protein shakes (my nutritionist has me look for 9g of sugar or less) and refined carbohydrates (think white bread, crackers and sugary cereals).
Why is it important to eat carbs, you may wonder? It gives you energy.
“It is the preferred fuel for the brain; the preferred fuel for exercise—especially running,” notes Gomer. “Carbohydrates also have vitamins and minerals and nutrients that are important for health.”
So when maintaining a healthy diet don’t cut out carbs completely—make them a part of a balanced diet and you’ll be on your way to weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight.