Despite popular belief preached by low-carb enthusiasts, not all carbs are created equal. We break down a few myths about carbs, so you can better navigate the most infamous nutrient on the menu.
"Carbs make you fat."1 of 9
Sure, munching on white bread, pasta and doughnuts can open you up to certain health risks. However, cutting out other healthful categories of carbs like beans, fruits and veggies can leave your body deprived of essential nutrients.
For sustainable, long-term wellness, focus on the quality of carbs, not just the carbs themselves.
"Fruit isn't healthy."2 of 9
Many low-carb diets discourage eating fruit due to its sugar and carb content, but fruits aren't bad for you and they can satiate your body's craving for sugar. Most experts encourage everything in moderation, and these nutritious sweets are no different.
Remember, fruits aren't just (naturally-occurring) sugar—they also pack fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.
"All carbs are sugar."3 of 9
Sugar is a type of carb, but starch and fiber are carbs, too. When several of them combine together, they become complex carbs, which take longer for your body to break down.
That doesn't mean you have to ignore sugar content altogether. Since the average American does consume 70% more than the recommended daily limit, it's best to be aware of it.
"All complex carbs are good."4 of 9
Complex carbs can come pre-packaged and processed, too.
Stick to all-natural complex carbs such as quinoa or beans without additives, and don't forget your simple carbs like apples to maintain a balance.
"Net carbs equals less carbs."5 of 9
Net carbs is the term for sugar and fiber carbs, subtracted from the total amount of carbs. This fancy term is actually completely made up by food manufacturers in order to make products appear low-carb. Don't buy into it.
"You should avoid carbs post-workout."6 of 9
No matter what type of workout you're doing, you'll need protein, carbs and water to replenish. The protein encourages muscle recovery and the carbs restore your energy.
"Eat carbs earlier in the day."7 of 9
You cannot dictate when your body will break down carbs, and the hour at which you eat them doesn't matter. The body knows what to do, so don't worry if you're craving some grains come dinnertime.
"The body doesn't actually need carbs."8 of 9
You can't survive without carbohydrates, period. Even on a low-carb diet, you need them to sustain energy, which is why most low-carb diets are only successful short-term.
If you've decided to follow a low-carb diet, be sure that you're still getting plenty of veggies, and don't forget that carbs aren't the enemy – you'll need the good ones sooner or later.