What’s the deal with carbs?

by karen on June 8, 2020

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Low-carb diets have been around since the 60s (remember Atkins?), but recently the fad has been given a rebrand: Keto. This low-carb, high-fat diet was designed for children with epilepsy to help prevent seizures, but is now being touted across the web to help you shed pounds. So, what’s the truth?

They say “keto,” we say “nonsense.”

The ketogenic diet aims to force your body into ketosis; instead of getting energy from glucose (carbs), the body relies on ketone bodies (fat). Our bodies run on carbs that convert to glucose, and glucose is essential to good health. Ketosis happens when the body goes into “survival mode,” altering the metabolism to save glucose for the brain which is unable to use fatty acids for energy. The level of fat (particularly saturated fat) allowed in the keto diet has numerous risks, including nutrient deficiency, constipation, liver and kidney problems, mood swings and slowed thinking, and increased risk of heart disease. 

Instead of chowing down on oils, enjoy a diet that gets roughly 45% of its calories from carbs. Carbs change brain chemistry and alter mood, so it’s no coincidence that during times of stress we often prefer carb-rich foods like pastas, sandwiches, and sweets. Indulging these cravings in moderate amounts can, and should, be included as part of a healthy diet. In fact, treating ourselves to small amounts of low-nutrient foods as we crave them helps prevent bingeing and, in turn, can promote weight loss.

  1. Carbs equal energy. Carbs are good.
  2. The keto diet is not ideal, or safe, for most people.
  3. Craving sugars and refined carbs is normal, and should be indulged in moderation.
  4. A balanced diet includes carbs at each meal. 
  5. Healthy carbs include whole grains, milk and yogurt, fruit, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas.

Missed us last week?
In observation of the tragic death of George Floyd and the widespread American protests, we elected to postpone the release of our bi-weekly newsletter. All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter, and it has never been more important to listen to and learn from our fellow Americans. We hope you spent this last week, as we did, listening to and amplifying Black voices. We can’t wait to see the change that we, together, will create.

If you’d like additional consultation on your personal goals, we’d love to hear from you. Please schedule an appointment by calling (775) 360-6500, or visit NutritionConnectionNV.com.

Karen Fisher, MS, RD, LDN, CDE is a dietitian in Reno, Nevada, happily promoting the benefits of healthy foods at her nutrition consulting firm, Nutrition Connection. Find her website at www.NutritionConnectionNV.com

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