Debunking Common Myths About Carbohydrates: The Good, the Bad, and the Truth

There have been a lot of misconception about carbohydrate. From fad diets teaching their total elimination to misleading information about its effect on health, it is very easy to get confused about this important macronutrient. In this article, I aim to clear up misconceptions around some common myths surrounding carbohydrates and share the truth about their role in our diet.


Myth 1: Carbs are bad for you.


One of the most commonly believed myths is that carbs are bad, unhealthy, and should be avoided at all costs. However, the reality is far from this. Carbs are essential for body building and providing energy for our bodily functions and physical activities. Although complex carbs are different from refined carbs.

Truth: The key element of consideration when choosing carbs is to consume complex carbohydrates over refined ones. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are complex carbohydrates, and they are an excellent choice of carbohydrate all day. These types of carbs will prevent spikes in blood sugar and provide sustained energy levels.

Myth 2: Carbohydrate leads to weight gain.


Another common myth is that carbs are entirely responsible for unwanted weight gain. This has led to the condemnation of carbs from many popular diets, encouraging the total removal of carbs to lose weight quickly

Truth: While it is true that the overconsumption of refined carbs like pastries can lead to weight gain, carbs aren’t the sole culprit. All foods can make one gain weight. Research has shown that moderate consumption of complex carbs can support weight management. Their high fibre content helps to create a feeling of fullness and satiety. It is the calories that cause weight gain, not the carbs.

Myth 3: All Carbs have the same Nutritional value

Another very common misconception is that all carbs are the same in terms of their nutritional value and their effect on health. This has led to the belief that whether it is a bottle of soda or a fruit, the body processes them the same way.

Truth: In actual fact, carbs differ in nutritional value and in the way the body uses them. Whole, unprocessed carbs are slowly absorbed by the body because of their fibre content, while refined carbs, on the other hand, cause a spike and crash of blood sugar, leading to overeating and cravings because their fibre has been stripped off during processing.

In conclusion, it is essential to debunk these myths about carbs and understand their significant role in nutrition. Whole, unprocessed carbs can be eaten in moderation while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.



Harafat Busari is a Lifestyle Medicine Nutritionist and is Senior Nutritionist at Ariella Health and Fitness, Africa’s first digital Lifestyle Medicine Practice.