Thursday, April 11, 2019

Fear of Carbs

Friday Food!  "Fear of Carbs!"

We're going to have a regular Q&A with The Awakening Center Nutritionists every other Friday on our Facebook page.  If you would like to  submit a nutrition question feel free to send it to 

Here's our first Question:  I am so afraid to eat carbs because everything I read says carbs are so bad for you. Why can’t I cut them out entirely?

It’s a trendy thing for the media to do - to pinpoint certain macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins and turn it into a low-fat diet, low-carb diet, high-protein diet, you get the drift.  We always seem to be reading about why we should prioritize one macronutrient over another. When I was growing up, fat was the enemy. Most snacks were morphed and modified to be lower in fat. Even foods that never contained fat to begin with were labeled “fat-free” as a marketing ploy. Since trends eventually lose their spark, it only makes sense to slowly start shining this bad wrap on another macronutrient, right? Once it became evident that making foods fat-free or low-fat did not live up to its hype, the media decided to turn against another macronutrient. So now carbs are the enemy…but fat is okay again?

It’s confusing and frustrating right? Who do we even believe anymore? I think carbohydrates started to carry some stigma when the paleo diet grew popular. Carbohydrates were demonized as the media spread messages that they caused weight gain and bloating. Although these messages are trendy and appealing, there is little to no evidence to support these claims. In fact, this nutrition myth is very problematic as it leads to disordered thoughts and behaviors around eating and potentially inadequate nutrition.

Carbohydrates are our body’s primary source of fuel and because of this, they resist storing carbohydrates as fat. It would not make sense to store that preferred and valued energy as fat. Carbohydrates provide us with quick energy as they are digested and transported into the cells quicker than any other macronutrient. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which then travels through our blood stream to supply energy to our brain, muscles and nervous system. Our brains are actually not able to store glucose; therefore, they need a constant, reliable supply.  If we do not give our bodies enough carbohydrates, it will begin to break down protein in our muscles, tissues and organs to use as energy. This is why low carbohydrates are not sustainable and can cause increased stress on the body. For optimal functioning, your body requires 50-60% of its total daily intake to come from carbohydrates.

We can agree that all of our bodies are different. What works for one individual may not be best for you. But one thing that is certain and consistent across the board is that all of our bodies require carbohydrates in order to flourish. The media will continue to tell you otherwise simply because it’s trendy and seductive right now, but don’t give in. Don’t fight what our beautifully instrumented bodies are innately born to do.

Karlee Pinto, RD, LDN - is one of the two nutritionists/dietitians at The Awakening Center.  You can contact her for individual nutrition counseling by emailing her at  

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