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Lie #8: Carbohydrates make you fat
Dr. Atkins wrote, and I quote, “Carbohydrates are the very food that makes you fat.” He also wrote, “Diets high in carbohydrates are precisely what most overweight people don’t need and can’t become slim on.”
These are very misleading statements of half-truth.
The “carbs make you fat” myth is probably the most pervasive and damaging lie about weight control ever told. It’s caused tremendous confusion and frustration to already confused and frustrated dieters.
First, focusing primarily on any macronutrient (protein, carbs or fat) or macronutrient ratio should be secondary to energy balance. What makes you fat is eating too many calories.
Truth is, you can’t blame all “carbohydrates” as a group for why we are getting fatter. What type of carbohydrates are we talking about? There are good carbs and bad carbs. The “bad” carbs are the refined ones; white flour and white sugar products like white bread, white pasta, sugar sweetened cereals, candy and soft drinks.
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To avoid confusion, I would suggest never using the word “carbohydrate” without putting the adjective “refined” or “natural” in front of it.
Ironically, Dr. Atkins does make this distinction in his book, yet he still chose to recommend removal of almost ALL carbs during the induction and weight loss phases of his diet – even the good carbs that are proven healthy. This creates rapid weight loss and the appearance of a hugely successful diet right from the first week.
Again, the real questions are: What kind of weight was lost and can you keep the weight off for good?
A healthy, maintainable fat burning diet should be centered on natural foods – and for most people, that includes natural carbs in moderation – not the total removal and demonizing of all carbohydrates.