30 Potentially Damaging Carbohydrate Myths

For decades now, society has been obsessed with their weight. More specifically, the weight of women. This is not merely an exaggerated statement that is being… Simi - September 15, 2018

For decades now, society has been obsessed with their weight. More specifically, the weight of women. This is not merely an exaggerated statement that is being said to make a point. If one were to look at the people that are reading this right now, they would probably find that the majority of the readers would be women. This is mainly due to two reasons.

The first being that women have been systematically body shamed into believing that their natural forms are unacceptable. That they should look a certain way if they were to be considered an attractive woman, this is done by not taking genetics or body shape into account. The second point links very tightly into the first one, and it is that a woman should restrict her carbohydrate intake if she hopes to maintain a so-called healthy weight.

When you combine these two points, you find women clicking on every and any link that could help her achieved that unrealistic target weight. While there are thousands of dieting myths out there that need to be debunked, right now we are concerned with carbohydrates. A topic which is severely misunderstood and misrepresented by thousands of people. While the following few points may attempt to remove some of the fog surrounding carbohydrates, a good rule of thumb is always to verify anything that is read online. It can be very damaging to take things at face value, especially if they are read online.

1. They make you fat

This is one of the most widely spread misconceptions that persist regarding carbohydrates. There is some truth in it but before freaking out and deciding never to eat a slice of bread ever again, read the next couple of lines. There are two things that we know for sure. The first being that wholegrain carbohydrates have a fair amount of fiber in them which not only give one energy to exercise but they also help to keep a person feeling full.

The second piece of necessary information is that protein and fats are higher in calories than wholegrain carbohydrates. When we consider both of these factoids, it is only logical to say that if a person were to eat wholegrain carbohydrates over an inordinate amount of fats and proteins, they will not only limit their caloric intake but they would also feel fuller for longer, and they will have enough energy to exercise and get through the day.

2. All carbohydrate foods come with gluten

Every couple of years, there is a new thing in food that people are told to avoid. One of the latest ones being gluten. When these bits of misinformation spread, you have tons of people axing out large food groups simply because someone told someone, who heard something that said that gluten was bad for you.

Granted, some people are gluten intolerant, and you do have people with celiac disease that cannot eat gluten at all, but these people certainly do not make up the whole population. This gluten craze has made far too many people avoid carbohydrates altogether. While a lot of carbohydrate-rich foods do contain gluten, this is not the rule. Some foods are high in carbs that do not contain gluten.

3. Carbohydrates cannot be eaten before exercising

This myth is one of those which people recite like a mantra. They do not quite know why they are saying what they are saying, they say it. Let’s break it down for a second before debunking it entirely. The real reason why people say this is because there is the idea that eating carbohydrates before an exercise will make one feel heavy.

Furthermore, that this sluggishness will impair a person’s ability to pump those irons and get that heart beating. The real mantra should be that one should be aware of when they are eating carbohydrates before exercising. Should a person eat a bowl of pasta on the way to the gym? No, they should not. They should do this 2 hours before working out if they are to have enough energy actually to get through the workout that they have laid out.

4. Cutting carbohydrates will help you shed those pounds

It is at this point where we hit the weight loss myths again. There seems to be a new weight loss myth regarding carbs every other day. This one is possibly one of the oldest, and it goes on to say that you need to eat as little carbohydrates as possible if you are to shed weight. To put it bluntly, this is not true.

There is almost no research out there to suggest that this kind of dieting will help one lose weight. Sure, restricting carbs may lower a person insulin levels, which is necessary for people that are battling with diabetes, but this does not apply to the whole population.

5. All carbohydrates will make you feel too full

When it comes to talking about carbs and fullness, people tend to trust their own experiences. They are not necessarily wrong, but they also do not have all the information at hand. You have just eaten a whole pizza or maybe even a huge bowl of white pasta. While it may have been delicious at first, you now feel like you can’t move.

The first thought that pops into your head is that it must be the carbs that are to blame. This is true, but you cannot attribute this fullness to all carbohydrates. Whole food or wholegrain carbohydrates will not do this to you if you eat them in the right amounts. It all depends on what you are eating and how much you are consuming.

6. You should only eat carbohydrates in the morning

The reasoning behind this one is half fact and half fiction. The fact part exists because people know that carbs are a source of energy. The fiction part comes in when people start to think because this is what they have been told time and time again, that they need to burn off these carbs if they want to avoid them being turned into fat.

When you look at both of these, you have people thinking that they must only eat carbohydrates in the morning because then they can burn them off during the day to avoid getting fat. The real story is that it doesn’t matter when you eat carbohydrates. The thing to remember is that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

7. They will upset our digestive system

This point over here comes down to what carbohydrates you are eating. Some carbs are slightly more complicated, housing insoluble fiber that can be quite difficult to digest and then some carbohydrates have soluble fiber which will make them easier to digest.

If you are a person who suffers from digestive irregularities and upsets, then it may be a good idea to avoid these niggly carbs like broccoli and kale. But if you are not one of these people, then you can eat insoluble and soluble fiber alike. It really will not make a difference whether you are eating kale or bananas, bananas being a food stocked with soluble fiber.

8. Carbohydrates only include bread, pasta, and potatoes

Firstly, one would need to define what exactly a carbohydrate it. This definition in its purest form is that carbohydrate is a macro nutrient that is broken down by the body into glucose which is then converted into energy that the body uses. With this definition being set, any food that houses this macro nutrient is then a carbohydrate.

This being said, there are two categories of carbohydrates. There are simple carbs that are found in vegetables, fruit, and other refined products. Then there are complex carbs that are found in starchy vegetable, potatoes and other food that have whole grains in them. The main take away here is that your body needs carbohydrates. It is the most efficient source of energy, and it is the one that your body will use if it is given a choice.

9. There is no fiber present in carbohydrate foods

Fiber is considered a carbohydrate. It is not broken down and converted into sugar, but it can be supposed to be a carbohydrate depending on which direction you are looking at it form. But, why is this a good thing? Well, the reason why this is a significant bit of information regarding carbohydrates is that fiber is all but essential for survival.

It not only helps a person digest the nutrients that are found in food, but it also helps stabilize one’s blood sugar levels which is essential to maintaining one’s health. This means that a person should never skip eating their carbohydrate-rich foods if they are to maintain their fiber intake.

10. Carbohydrates come with too much sugar

It has already been stated that carbohydrates are broken down into sugar so this point might land up leaving you a bit confused. To clarify this, we need to make the distinction between the different types of sugar that there are. Yes, too much sugar is bad for you and you should certainly try to keep your sugar intake to a minimum.

But, this does not mean that you should avoid carbohydrates. When it comes to sugar, you should be avoiding the bad sugars that are in sweet, cookies and what not. On the other hand, it is okay to eat fruits and wholegrain foods. In an attempt to cut down your sugar intake, work to replace bad sugars with healthy ones.

11. They strip you of your energy

If you consider the fact that a human being derives energy from carbohydrates, does it not seem counterproductive to think that these same carbohydrates will make you feel sluggish. We all know what the food coma feels like. When you are suffering from this genuine consequence, you could be tempted to avoided carbohydrates forever more. But, it is not the carbohydrates that are making you tired.

There have been studies done that have focused on the effects of food on energy levels. They found that it is not the carbohydrates that are the culprits. It is preferably the amount of protein and salt that is in the meal along with the size of the meal, that is having an impact on your energy.

12. You need protein more than you need carbohydrates

People that lead very active lifestyles, along with those who dedicate a fair amount of their time to the gym are very concreted with the amount of protein that they consume. They load up on egg whites and chicken breasts all in the hope of achieving that toned body. This is entirely correct, and you certainly do need protein to maintain the proper functioning of your body and muscles, but this does not mean that protein is more important than carbohydrates.

More studies that can be counted have shown that both of these macro nutrients are essential for the body. There is even evidence to suggest that the correct amount of carbohydrates can give your metabolism the jump start that it could need.

13. Carbohydrates should not be eaten with every meal

When it comes to eating healthy, there is no need to cut out food groups. The whole idea is to eat the right types of foods and in the correct quantities. By adopting this kind of mentality, you could find yourself completely satisfied and not binge eating every two weeks just because your body is in dire need of the stuff you have been leaving out.

You can eat carbohydrates with every meal if you are eating the right kinds. An example of this would be to eat things like wholegrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit for breakfast. For lunch, you can bulk things up a bit with a healthy wholegrain sandwich and then for dinner why not give a lean protein a try with a large helping of vegetables.

14. You should stick to only meat and take out the carbohydrates completely

If someone had to ask you right now whether steak or a wholesome hamburger was healthier, what would you say? Would you immediately look at the hamburger like the devil just because it comes along with a bun? If this is your knee-jerk metal reaction, then you have come to the right place.

Eating only meat is not good for you, especially if that meat is red meat. The people out there who follow the paleo diet are probably reeling right now but believe it or not; you should not be eating red meat more than twice a week. Added to that is the fact that a healthy lifestyle requires a varied diet that includes all food groups.

15. If the food is white, then it is unhealthy

When there is so much misinformation out there regarding health and diet, people cannot be blamed for trying to simplify things down. If a doctor has a patient that has an appalling outlook on food and is quite frankly on the brink of hitting a point of no return, then they may very well start them off small like telling them to avoid any food that is white.

The reasoning is that these foods are generally quite processed. Now, this is not entirely wrong, but it is limited. White bread and cake will never be good for you but what about the potato along with the mushroom and the onion? Are these foods to be banned from the kitchen? No, they should not.

16. Carbohydrates result in inflammation

There are a couple of terms that people throw around when they want to sound like they know what they are talking about. When it comes to healthy people, wax lyrical about toxins. If we are talking about food and diet, they go off on tangents about inflammation. Many people do not even know what it means to have inflammatory markers circulating through their body, but this will not stop them from telling you how carbohydrates cause inflammation.

The word is scary enough for people to listen to these charlatans. In truth, the right carbohydrates can decrease incidents of inflammation. While you may still not know what inflammation is, you can rest peacefully knowing that your wholegrain sandwich is not causing it.

17. The fruit has too much sugar

This is another one of those taglines that people use when it comes to food. It works along the lines of how sugar not only makes you fat but that it increases your chances of type II diabetes. This is correct. You should certainly not be eating refined sugar, and you should look at the labels on your foods to ensure that there is not hidden refined sugar lurking in the wrapper. But, the sugar in fruit is not refined sugar.

It is natural sugar, and it is called fructose. This sugar is not bad for you. This sugar will not give you diabetes. This sugar should be in your diet because it could decrease your risk of type II diabetes.

18. If there is no sugar, then there are no carbohydrates

The only way to debunk this myth is to say that not all sugars are carbohydrates and not all carbohydrates are sugars. While this statement might roll off the tongue nicely, what does it mean? Can we go around chanting it and we will magically be healthy?

Well, the real lesson here is that you should not be avoiding foods solely because they have sugar in them and instead be munching down on foods like pretzels merely because they are considered starches and are therefore suitable for you. This idea comes from the food pyramid, and it is damaging. Refined carbohydrates and starches will wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. Healthy sugars like fruit and yogurt, on the other hand, will stabilize these levels, leaving you healthier for longer.

19. A carbohydrate is a carbohydrate

Off the top of your head, what would you say if you were asked to describe and give an example of refined carbohydrate and a wholegrain carbohydrate? Would you say that cakes are refined while wholegrain bread is whole grain? If that is your answer then you are right, but do you have any other example?

What would you say about fruit or pasta? Would you tell a person that they must not eat potatoes? When it comes to carbohydrates, two things need to be considered. These being portion size and the carbohydrate source. Can you eat pasta? Yes, you can but not an inordinate amount. Should you eat cake every day? No, you must certainly not do that.

20. A complex carbohydrate is right for you while the simple ones are bad

When you start breaking down the whole carbohydrate argument, it does get rather complicated, and you can’t blame people for trying to simplify it. The myth stated here is one such simplification. While it is true some of the time, the problem is that it is not true all of the time.

Consider the fact that some fruits house simple carbohydrates while there are wholegrain pieces of bread out there that have been processed so much that they are no longer even good for you, not anyway. What do you do in this case? An excellent place to start is that you should be eating foods that are in their most natural form. Fill your cupboard up with ingredients that look the same way that they did when they were harvested.

21. Glycaemic index is the law

The glycaemic index became popular a couple of years ago because it tried to offer up your everyday person with a means to judge their food. These people didn’t need to fork out thousands of dollars to their dietician to know what is healthy for them. They could download a table and figure it all out by themselves.

This did kind of work in a sense, but the problem is that people started using the glycaemic index by itself. They did not look at other factors but instead took the GI value as the absolute truth when it came to food. This is dangerous behavior. You need to look at the whole food along with your diet and lifestyle. You need to be aware that you need a balanced diet that includes healthy foods and not just a one-track plan that includes every food with a low glycaemic load.

22. You should never eat bread or pasta

Everyone has heard of binge eating. In a particular context, people say that the occasional binge day is okay. This is especially stressed if you are beginning a new diet and the person who has designed the diet does not want you to feel guilty if you have fallen off the wagon. But, what most people don’t know is why binge eating even happens.

The leading cause of this binging is trying to cut some food out of your life entirely. If the thing that you are cutting out is something that your body needs, then you will find yourself craving it at some point. This same thing applies to bread and pasta. But, you don’t need to cut these out entirely. You need to watch how much of it you eat and what kinds you are eating.

23. Carbohydrates make you feel gassy

Some types of carbohydrates may make you feel gassy or bloated, but this is not true for all of them. Furthermore, it might not even be the carbohydrates that are messing with your digestive system. People are quick to blame carbs for these unpleasant feelings before they have also considered the other foods that could be upsetting their digestive systems. These same people could have an issue digesting dairy; they could also have problems with soya.

The point is that we cannot blame carbohydrates for everything. If you do think that carbs may be the problem, then try and cut them out of your diet for about six weeks and see how you feel. If you feel no different, then they are probably not the problem.

24. Carbohydrates will make your blood sugar levels spike

The question here is not whether carbohydrates increase your blood sugar levels, because they most certainly do. The problem is over what period do these blood sugar levels rise. You need carbs. Without them, your body will not only be lacking the energy that it needs to function, but you will also be missing out on the other essential nutrients that come from these foods.

Individual studies have been done that specifically look at these mysterious blood sugar levels. They found that if people ate balanced diets that included healthy carbohydrates along with plant-based proteins, that their blood sugar levels did not spike at all. Sure, there were gradual increases, but this is what you are looking for.

25. Net carbohydrates on a nutritional label are all that matters

Food labels can be a mass of information that looks nigh on impossible to decipher. There are terms that people do not understand along with quantities that might as well mean nothing what so ever. For people that are trying to sort out their health by changing the way that they eat, the food label can be one of their worst enemies. This is primarily due to the amount of ambiguity out there.

Some people do not drink milk because it has a high carbohydrate content. But what they must remember is that these are not added carbohydrates, they are natural. If you are at a loss, then the fiber content could work as a useful marker. Yes, there are times when manufacturers add fiber to their food, but the ingredients list should clear this up relatively quickly.

26. Carbohydrates impair your mental clarity

When there are two different groups of people out there, each telling you a different thing, what do you believe? Do you think the people who say that by limiting your carbohydrate intake you can force your body to use fats for energy, or do you listen to the people who say that you need carbohydrates for energy?

To clear this up, let us have a look at the facts. The ultimate fact being that every single cell that is in your body needs the energy to function. But, where should you get this energy from? Studies show that while your body can be forced to use fats as energy if there are no carbs present but this same process will make your brain a bit fuzzy. This means that if you want to make it through the day with a clarity of mind, it might be best to consume some healthy carbohydrates.

27. If you don’t eat gluten, then you will lose weight

If gluten is in carbohydrates and carbohydrates make you gain weight then surely if you cut these out then you will wind up losing weight? This is the reasoning that persists among dieters and people who are solidly against gluten. They are not only wrong, but they are also very wrong.

The only people who need to avoid gluten actively, are the ones who suffer from celiac disease. Even then, when these people were studied, it was found that they put on weight when they went about cutting out carbohydrates. The conclusion being that if you monitor the types and portions of carbs that you are eating, you will find it much easier to watch your caloric intake than by cutting them out altogether.

28. A human being should not eat starch

When a new person decides to come up with a new diet that is set to take the world by storm, they will try to provide evolutionary evidence to back up their claims. They do this in an attempt to validate their claims. This is what has been done to starch.

Some money grubbing person out there decided to try and convince people that our evolutionary ancestors did not eat starch and therefore we should not eat it. Where this person came up with this idea is unclear, what is clear is that they had no idea what they are talking about. There is lots of actual evidence that shows that our ancestors ate starch. There may have been a lot of meat in their diets, but there was also a whole lot of plant-based food that was being consumed.

29. Carbohydrates cause diabetes

In this year of this age, there are a massive amount of people that are suffering from diabetes. This is not a disease that is to be trifled with. As such, people doing their best to avoid it. This has included restricting carbohydrate consumption as the belief is that it raises your blood sugar levels. As a blanket statement, this is incorrect. Sure, some carbohydrates do result in spikes in blood sugar levels, but these are bad carbohydrates.

These are processed and refined foods. There are however good carbohydrates. These are wholegrain foods that not only will not cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, but they will also result in an overall decrease in your blood sugar levels over time. The moral of the story being that you need to think about the type of carbohydrate that you are eating not whether you are eating them at all.

30. All carbohydrates are bad for you

Some carbohydrates are good, and some carbs are bad. This might sound very simple, but it is true. Trying to blanket all carbohydrates as a malevolent force is quite frankly naïve. Considering how abundant carbohydrates are in your average person’s diet as well as the diets of people dating back thousands of years, the only possible conclusion that can be drawn is that there must be something to them.

The fact of the matter is that carbohydrates have a certain amount of fiber in them as well as nutrients that are essential for one’s health. This is where it gets a bit complicated. These necessary things can only be derived from carbohydrates that have not been overly processed or refined. These processes strip the carbohydrates of fiber and nutrients, rendering them useless.