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  • Writer's pictureBrian Dooreck MD

The Truth Behind Carbohydrates

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


 Healthy foods help your gut diversity, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor

Let's get right to it: carbs are not bad. They are not the "enemy" and are essential to a healthy diet. You must eat carbs from healthy sources and eat a balanced and nutritious diet.


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Federal Dietary guidelines recommend 45% to 65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates.

But Can’t I Lose Weight Cutting Carbs?

Sure. Diets like Atkins and keto reduce carbohydrate intake, causing your body to eat its carbohydrate reserves stored in water. The problem is that the weight comes back on, although maybe slowly, once you start eating carbohydrates again.

90% of patients regain the weight they lose on low-carb diets.

Yes, 90%. Instead of setting yourself up to fail, aim for the long-term sustainability of weight loss. Those mentioned above, "extreme" low-carb diets are not likely maintainable for the long term. Yes, you may lose weight initially, but you will probably put it back on again in time.


I Thought Carbs Were Bad for Our Health


Depends. If you’re eating donuts and white bread, you’re spiking your insulin and taxing your pancreas (so don’t do that!). But complex carbs--think oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, and brown rice--provide critical nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and even protein or healthy fats to help our bodies and brains function.


I’m Still Going Low Carb


Okay! If you still choose to eliminate carbs from your diet, consider what you replace those calories (energy needed by the body) with. The quality of your diet is the most important factor for maintaining a sustainable goal weight.

Ideally, replace the reduced carbs with increased amounts of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and plant-based proteins. Avoid processed and snack foods.

(And if you’re still really, really determined to cut carbs, read this 2018 peer-reviewed study published in the medical journal The Lancet Public Health demonstrated that "cutting carbohydrates might also shorten lifespan by up to four years.")


 Healthy foods help your gut diversity, health, microbiome, gastrointestinal gi system for you and the gastroenterology doctor

Carbs and Health Benefits

Carbohydrates are energy. They provide the body with a source of energy. Think of marathon runners having a carb-load spaghetti dinner the night before the race.

If you eliminate carbs, your body will look for energy from other sources—like fat. Fat produces ketones when broken down for energy (or fuel). Thus the ketogenic diet name. The long-term sustainability of this diet is unlikely for most, and the long-term benefits, or adverse effects on health, are not yet known.

Carb-rich foods have the health benefits of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and even protein or healthy fats.

Sources of Carbs


Focus on eating fiber-rich sources of carbs such as:


  • Whole grains 🌾

  • Fruits 🍎

  • Vegetables 🥦


Try to avoid refined and processed carbs like


  • White bread 🍞

  • White flour-based foods 🥯

  • Donuts 🍩

Here's a video from TEDEd; How do carbohydrates impact your health? - Richard J. Wood


Bottom Line


Carbs are not bad. It is usually our choices regarding what carbs we consume; how much we eat; when, and our overall diet.


Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

Gut Health ➕ Patient Advocacy with Navigation ➕ Life Balance


If you were looking for information about Private Healthcare Navigation and Patient Advocacy from Executive Health Navigation


Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn, where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.


 

gastroenterology | colonoscopy doctor | colonoscopy and gastroenterology services | gastro doctor | gi doctor | gastrointestinal diagnostic centers | public health

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