Fitness Myth: Carbs Will Make You Gain Weight

A trainer and sports nutritionist explains why this widely believed idea isn’t true

This is diet myth seems to be continually passed around despite the fact that it’s completely untrue.

Perhaps Dr. Atkins is to blame? His low-carb diet plan became wildly popular in the late 90s and early 00s. And while it did yield successful weight loss results for those who followed the plan, the method is highly controversial.

As Mayo Clinic points out, “Some studies suggest that it's not cutting carbs that leads to weight loss with Atkins. Instead, you may shed pounds because your food choices are limited, and you eat less since the extra protein and fat keep you feeling full longer.”

Nonetheless, even in pop culture carbs are still touted as a food choice that should absolutely avoided.

But to maintain a truly healthy diet, whether for weight loss or any other reason, rather than excluding an entire food group or type, the focus should be placed on balance.  

“Your body needs a certain amount of carbs, fat and protein to function,” explains Lauren Brown a trainer and sports nutritionist for Balanced Fitness and Health. “Too little of one and too much of another will throw the body’s equilibrium off, resulting in malnourishment, weight gain, muscle loss, etc. Carbohydrates are the body’s number one go-to for fuel. Without it you will eventually lack energy, experience brain fog, and feel depressed and moody."

However, she does recommend that healthy eaters choose nutritious carbohydrate sources like vegetables, fruits and whole grains and only eat processed, refinded carbs that contain simple sugars in moderation.