Ask a friend or coworker about carbohydrates and you could get an earful: They’re bad for you. They’re fine—but only if you work out. They’ll make you gain weight. Or maybe: Low-carb diets are the only way to go.
Confused? You’re not alone. There’s a lot of legit information out there, but there’s also a lot of pseudo-science, making it hard to translate any of it into daily, healthy practices.
But before we dive into separating myth from fact, let’s get a few of the basics out of the way. Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients your body needs, sometimes called macronutrients (There are three macros: carbs, protein, and fat). Carbs are the most important source of energy for your body. Your body will break down carbs into glucose (the sugar found in your blood), and your blood helps transport this fuel all over your body to provide the energy you need to do everything from run and jump to sit and sleep.
Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, carbs are part of an overall healthy diet. But not all carbs are created equal, so it’s important to learn which (and how much) you should be eating. Here are some of the most common carb misconceptions—and the science-backed truth.
Carbs: The Good, The Bad, and The Bogus
1. Myth: Carbs will make you fat.