Rethinking Carbohydrates…Again


If you’re as old as I am, you’ve been around the block with the carbohydrate question too many times to count.  Even if you’re younger, you’re still likely a veteran of the carbohydrate wars.  Has any nutrient gotten as much negative attention over the last 50 years of weight worrying in America as carbohydrates?

Yet I’ll bet most of us take a second look any time we see something else written on the subject.

That’s what I did when the most recent Journal of The American Dietetic Association (JADA) crossed my desk.  And believe me, it takes a lot for me to crack one of those babies open. Usually it’s because I need to get a few extra continuing education credits.  (Nothing personal, JADA; my time is just consumed with other things these days…like Twitter.)

What got my attention was a study of healthy Canadians that showed eating less than 47% of calories from carbohydrate was associated with a greater risk of being overweight or obese.  And eating as much as 64% of calories from carbs was still associated with healthy weights.  Suggesting that low-carb diets increase chances of becoming overweight or obese.

The researchers weren’t able to look at specific types of carbohydrates consumed but through some machinations, were able to conclude what most of us also already know: the quality of the carbohydrates is key.  It’s those in whole grains, vegetables and fruits that are going to help keep us healthy, not their refined cousins.

Which led other scientists to emphasize in an editorial that as the U.S. embarks on another revision of its Dietary Guidelines, it’s time to “refine” the association between carbohydrate intake and obesity.

Everyone’s trying to be a comedian these days.

How about you?  Can you laugh at your past weight loss efforts?  If you can, it may be a good sign that you’re through the worst of it.

For some yummy whole grain goodness, check out the Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins with Cranberries & Walnuts from Pinch My Salt.

6 responses to “Rethinking Carbohydrates…Again”

  1. Hanlie says:

    I would never go low-carb, but I absolutely avoid refined carbs like flour products, sugar, etc. I eat lots and lots of fruit and vegetables, but not many grains, apart from brown rice 2-3 times per week. I have legumes most days, which are also rich in carbohydrates.

    This is working out extremely well for me!

  2. Did someone say ‘pumpkin muffins?’ 🙂

    I can and do laugh at my previous weight loss efforts, especially at my attempts to severely limit my carb intake. I’ve always loved fresh fruit and veggies, even when the bulk of my diet was horrendous. Why I ever thought it was a good idea to yank out the healthiest of what I was eating is beyond me, but try I did. And then felt like a failure when I didn’t last more than a few days.

    But I’m older and wiser now. Which may explain why I’m also 100 pounds lighter. 🙂

    Thanks for the info!

  3. Gina says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t see that research yet, I’ll have to read my JADA this time (like you, I rarely have time to read it). This sounds very interesting to me, as I’ve only recently read the opposite conclusions. I am not into the low-carb idea, unless someone is seriously morbidly obese and they need to lose weight fast as a life-saving mechanism. Choosing whole-grains also makes all the difference in the world. People don’t realize that simple carbs = sugar. So when you are eating a bag of oily potato chips, you are consuming a lot of fat, salt, AND sugar. It’s a concept that people are slowly learning.

  4. Sagan says:

    That muffin looks super good. I adore carbs- as long as we choose the right kinds, we’re golden. We NEED plenty of carbs to keep energized!

  5. Marsha says:

    True that healthy carbs are the bomb! Taste great and make us feel great, too. What could be better than that??

    Sounds like you definitely found out what works for you, Cammy! And so great to meet you at BlogHer.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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