At the current point, we are almost always programmed to believe that carbs will either make you fat or are inherently bad for you, hence, you should avoid them any way you possibly can. Statements like this usually come either with no explanation at all.

To clarify this one- carbs provide the body with glycogen, that’s used when you are working out for energy. If the body runs out of glycogen it’s forced to go for the fatty acids for energy (aka get it from fat, caveat though is, it goes for fat that has been recently consumed and not the stored one), which can cause a decline in performance. If you are wondering what the hell glycogen is, glycogen is a complex molecule that contains glucose and is found in liver and other tissues, and which provides a reserve of glucose energy which is released when you are exercising. Glycogen stores are small, so say, if you’re going to clock in a weight lifting session having a carb snack or beverage can help, because the body will go directly for those without letting them raise insulin levels. 

Point is, there’s a lot of information as well as misinformation out there, so we believe that it’s important to know why and how and the science behind it all. 

Sit tight, buckle up (but really, don’t read this while you’re driving), and let’s get into the most controversial macro nutrient. 


What are carbohydrates? 

Carbs are one of the macronutrient groups (a type of food (e.g. fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the diet.) that most people require to be a major part of their food intake. 

Dietary Reference Intake reports that the acceptable distribution of cabs should range between 45%-65% of the total daily intake. 

 Carbohydrates are not only essential for the general public, they are especially important if you are someone who works out. Most need 55-60%, some even more so 60-70%. However, for specific sports or body building competitions, lowering carb intake below 55% is a way to bring the body fat percentage  down. 

But what exactly are carbohydrates? Carbs are made out of building blocks of sugar and have different classifications based on how many sugar units are combined in their 


Glucose, fructose and galactose are single unit sugar and are called monosaccharides.

Sucrose (table sugar) and lactose (milk sugar) are double unit sugar called disaccharides. 

These two types are what is called simple carbohydrates, you know, the ones that you should be terrified of (jokes, jokes).

Long-chain molecules make up a variety of carbs like starches and fibers, and other slow-digesting carbs that carry a lot of benefit, including pre-biotics. 


What do they do in your body?

  • Energy Production

Carbohydrates are and should be used as the main source of energy for the body, as cells in the brain, muscles and other tissues use monosaccharides for the energy needs. 

Starches and sugars are the ones that provide the most energy, followed by polyols and fibers. Monosaccharides get absorbed into the blood stream through the main intestine and then are being distributed to the cells that need them. Insulin and glucagon play a huge part in the digestive system as well, as they manage the blood sugar levels by removing or adding glucose to the blood stream. 

Side note-if you happen to be a generally healthy individual, being scared of insulin spikes and avoiding carbs all together does not make any sense of difference. Insulin, in a healthy person, manages sugar levels as it’s needed and is quite an automated system of its own. 

  • Energy storage

If the glucose is not being used directly right away, it does get converted to glycogen that is then stored in liver and muscles, and it is a source of energy that can be used when needed. During the times when you’re asleep, in between meals, during physical activity, the body taps into that storage and uses it to maintain constant blood sugar levels. 

Our bodies are wired to use glucose for energy and access energy from fat only in dire need, in situations of starvation. Because of that, blood glucose should be maintained at optimum levels at all times. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for carbs is 130 grams per day in order to have optimum brain and nervous system function. 

  • Promote digestive health 

Fiber unlike sugars and starches is not broken down into glucose. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. 

Soluble fiber has been found to improve stool consistency and increase the frequency of bowel movements in people struggling with constipation. It also reduced pain and strain associated with bowel movement. 

Insoluble fiber is also a great aid in alleviating constipation. It adds bulk to your stool and helps it move faster through the digestive tract. This fiber is found in whole grains as well as skins of fruits ans vegetables. ​​

The American Heart Association recommends about 25-30 grams of fiber per day. 

Some of the food ideas to up your fiber intake can be-baked beans, wholewheat pasta, baked potato with skin, oranges, bananas, carrots.

  • Decrease disease risk.

While eating refined carbs in large amounts can affect your health negatively and increase risk of diabetes, dietary fiber is highly beneficial for the heart as well as sugar levels. 

Soluble fiber keeps bile acids from being reabsorbed into the system by binding to them. 

Fiber doesn’t affect blood sugar like other carbohydrates, and even is able to slow absorption and keep the levels lower after meals. 

There’s research to show the lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer for people whose diet is rich in fiber.  


Will carbs make you fat?


The short answer is No. The long answer is Absolutely Not.

Carbohydrates are not evil, nor do they have an agenda to come get ya.  

Any while some carbs are more nutrient dense than others, there is no dare danger in consuming them as well as having some sugary things (check out this post about sugar over here- it is a great addition to this post) in moderation.  


Is there any reason why you shouldn’t have carbs?

There’s research to show that for type 2 diabetes, it is beneficial to follow a lower carb diet. However, this is your friendly reminder that we are not doctors here and if you have any concerns about having high blood sugar or diabetes you should talk to your doctor and figure out a plan of action together, rather than deciding to cut down on a macronutrient yourself. 


Low carb diets can also help with insulin sensitivity and if you’re severely overweight. But remember you only need to go low carb for a period of time likely. Additionally, a low carb diet is much different than keto. Keto is even more on the extreme end while a low carb diet can be more doable for more people. Remember, this is “low carb” not “no carb”.


What about the glycemic index? 

We established already that when you consume carbohydrates, blood glucose level rises and then goes down. This process is called-glycemic response. 

It tells us how quickly the food gets digested and glucose gets absorbed, and the effect on insulin in managing the blood glucose levels. 

What does the glycemic index take into? It takes the type of food into consideration, the type of sugar that forms it, structure of the molecule(different between simple sugars and complex), the way it was cooked,  the amount of other nutrients in the food. 

Foods high on the GI list cause a bigger blood glucose response than the ones that are low. Low GI foods are the ones that are slow carbs, and take a while to get absorbed, so they don’t spike blood sugar right after a meal. 

There are a couple of great resources for Glycemic Index foods, where you can find all the different foods you want to check, if any.

Click here if you want to check it out: 

I can keep this party going and throw a bunch of myths in and break them into pieces, because no matter the myth, the truth will remain the same. 

Carbs aren’t bad for you, like some people made you believe.

And while something like a donut would be considered a not-as-healthy carb, guess what, they are also not bad in moderation. We use sugars for fuel, and we burn through it. Going for slower and more nutrient dense carbs is generally a better pick for a well-balanced, healthy diet. 

And hey, if you are someone who doesn’t work out every day and doesn’t need the amount of carbs for the activities at hand, and does feel good on a lower carb diet, do what feels good. The goal of it all was to educate you and show that carbs are not to be avoided if you crave them. Especially if you’re on a diet that has low-carb and the only reason you’re doing it is that you’re scared but miss them daily, maybe throw in some each day to come back to normal.