(Baptist Health) – Low-carb diets have become increasingly popular. But carbohydrates play an essential role in a balanced, healthy diet. When it comes to this particular dieting trend, do you know fact from fiction?
1. Carbs are just empty calories.
False: Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. But they’re not all the same. Some—like refined sugars, white bread and white rice—offer calories but not a lot of nutrients. So they’re often called “empty calories.” But other carbs—like those found in fruit, milk and whole grains—are packed with vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
2. Most kids should not follow a low-carb diet.
True: Carbs play an important role in kids’ brain and muscle development, so reducing them or eliminating them entirely is not a good idea. Milk, yogurt, cereals and fresh fruit all include carbs that are vital for growing bodies.
3. Complex carbs make you feel fuller.
True: Whole-grain pasta or bread, beans, and starchy veggies are all rich in complex carbs, which take longer to digest. The result is that you feel fuller between meals. This can help you cut back on unhealthy snacking.
4. People with diabetes need to avoid carbs.
False: The vitamins, minerals and fiber in carbs are as important for people with diabetes as they are for the rest of us. If you have diabetes, you’ll want to avoid eating too many sugary carbs. Focus instead on nutrient-rich options like whole grains, dairy foods and veggies. Spreading out your carbs throughout the day can also help you avoid spikes in blood sugar.
5. The keto diet is a healthy way to lose weight.
False: Ketogenic diets cut most carbs in favor of fats and protein. While this may lead to weight loss, it also poses health risks, from flu-like symptoms and constipation to more serious issues like kidney and liver problems. It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting a keto diet.
If you’re thinking of making a change in the way you eat, consider talking to your doctor or a registered dietitian first.