By Nicole Dynan

1. “I’ve heard that carbs make you fat…..”

‘Carb phobia’ is a phenomenon that we see almost daily in our private practice, due largely to popular diets like the Paleo, Atkins and Dukan. Confusion is everywhere, particularly when it comes to carbs and weight management.

The truth is carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for our brain and body (providing 17 kilojoules or 4 calories per gram).

When we eat any type of carbs, our body converts them into glucose (sugar), which is then absorbed into our cells with the help of insulin (think of insulin as a key which unlocks the cells).

Our brains and muscles then use this glucose as fuel to help them with everyday functions like breathing and walking. Unused glucose is either stored in the liver or muscles for later use or converted to fat, for longer-term storage.

If no carbs are available, our bodies look for balance by converting the other macronutrients, being protein and fat, to glucose (although this is not our body’s preference).

It’s important to know that while protein provides the same energy per gram as carbs (17 kilojoules or 4 calories per gram), fat provides a whopping 37 kilojoules or 9 calories per gram!

So next time you think about leaving out the carbs, think about what foods you are replacing them with, as often these foods contain the same or more calories.

And, no matter what the source of your calories, excess consumption will cause weight gain.