How often should you have carbs?
I was recently speaking with someone who reminded me of a diet myth about how often we should have carbs: you can only have carbs at one meal per day. I think many of us subconsciously follow this rule. In fact, I actually recently caught myself thinking, “I had a bagel for breakfast so we shouldn’t have pasta for dinner.” I caught myself – WHY NOT? Who said we can only have carbs one meal per day? Is there any legitimacy to this?
This diet rule arose out of the low-carb and keto diet craze. And it stems from this belief that carbs are bad for you and cause weight gain. Surprise, surprise, like most diet rules, there is no science to back this one up.
You can have carbs for every meal of the day if you want.
- Carbs don’t cause weight gain. There is no single food that causes weight gain. Weight gain is a product of calorie excess and other complicating factors such as hormonal status.
- Carbs are not bad for you. Our bodies need carbohydrates and are designed to run on them. It’s our body’s preferred fuel source. In fact, our brain is extremely dependent on carbs for its fuel. Our bodies are not designed to burn fat as our primary fuel source – ketosis is a survival mechanism.
- Carbs are nutritious. Different carbohydrates contain important nutrients and, if we’re restricting our carb intake dramatically, we could be missing out on that nutrition. Take fiber as a prime example.
- Eating for enjoyment is important. We, as humans, eat for many reasons. Enjoyment being among them and just as legitimate as every other reason to eat. If you’re not enjoying what you eat, you’re not going to be satisfied by it. And when that happens, you’re probably going to continue to eat more as you seek out that satisfaction. This can lead us to feel frustrated and out of control around food.
For more information about low carb diets, check out this blog post.