The Truth About Carbs
We hear different ideas about carbohydrates every day:
“Carbs make you gain weight.
You need carbs to be healthy.
Whole grains are good.
All carbs are bad.”
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 130 grams of carbohydrate daily for all Americans. Although this recommendation may seem reasonable, it bears consideration in light of our current obesity and chronic disease epidemic. The prevalence of adult obesity was 39.8 % in the United States and it affected 93.3 million U.S. adults in 2015-2016. In younger ages, the prevalence was 18.5 % and obesity affected 13.7 million children and adolescents.
Conditions linked to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer are some of the leading causes of preventable death. So what’s going on? Are we eating too many carbohydrates, and do we really need 130 grams of carbohydrate every day?
Health Risks of Excessive Carbohydrate Intake
There are many factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity, however one of the most notable contributors is excessive carbohydrate intake. When carbohydrate intake is too high and the body is struggling to metabolize it, we see the development of both insulin resistance and leptin resistance.
We begin to see rising fasting and post-meal glucose levels and eventually an increase in metabolic conditions, including obesity, prediabetes, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and a host of other conditions.
We also see an impact in how people think and feel, and excessive carb intake can lead to feelings of fatigue, sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, poor mood, etc. All of these effects lead to frequent hunger, reduced fullness (satiety), and an increased appetite — particularly for highly processed carbohydrate items such as soda, sweetened tea, desserts, chips and candy.
Should I Eat Less Carbs?
The short answer is: YES! Eating fewer carbohydrates and choosing whole food sources of carbohydrates (ex: vegetables and fruits instead of soda and cookies) helps prevent and reverse both obesity and a variety of health conditions. It also promotes mental clarity, higher energy, and better mood. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a great combination!
Reducing carbohydrate intake also helps reduce medical treatment, including the purchase of costly prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Considering the fact that healthcare costs are continuing to rise, this seems like a welcome change to a negative trend.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of carbohydrate reduction and how to adopt this life-changing approach, check out our Well-Being program! This complete wellness transformation program is led by a team of health care professionals and it guides you every step of the way. During the program, you learn both the “why” and “how” of healthy eating and discover how to create long-lasting healthy habits. Our team walks you through the details of a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic eating style and you receive support as you travel along your journey!
For more information please visit our Well-Being website.
About Kim Chism, MPH, RDN, LDN
Kim received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Harding University in 2001 and her Masters in Public Health in 2012 from the University of South Florida. Kim has practiced in the clinical setting as well as public sector. She is also the Co-Creator of Well-Being, A Tribe Planted with Purpose – A 12 week wellness transformation program. During her free time, Kim enjoys biking and spending time with family.