3 myths about carbohydrates
Publication date: 18-08-2021
Updated on: 01-03-2023
Estimated reading time: 1 min
Is it true that if you eat pasta and bread in the evening, you will surely get fat? Answer of the expert to this and other myths about carbohydrates
There are many myths about nutrition that are difficult to eradicate and often counterproductive. Myths that often discredit carbohydrates come to the fore during the summer season.
We will analyze the 3 most common myths with Dr. Lelio Morricone, head of clinical nutrition at Palazzo della Salute - Wellness Clinic.
1. Pasta and bread make you fat
One of the most common beliefs about carbohydrates, such as pasta and bread, is that they promote weight gain. It is often thought that in order to lose weight it is necessary to reduce carbohydrate intake in general, but this is a serious mistake.
In fact, it is absolutely wrong to demonize carbohydrates as such. However, it is necessary to distinguish between simple sugars (which should be consumed in moderation) and complex sugars. In fact, there are no foods that make you get fat or lose weight: all foods should come into your body in the right proportions, as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as pasta and bread, and:
- are our main source of energy;
- contribute to a proper sense of satiety;
- contain fiber, which promotes intestinal transit and protects against colon cancer.
2. Eating carbohydrates at dinner can make you fat
Another common myth to be debunked is that carbohydrates consumed at dinner contribute to weight gain. It does not matter at what time of day you eat carbohydrates, but rather you need to pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates consumed daily and the total number of calories in your diet.
This myth is based on the mistaken belief that if carbohydrates are consumed before bedtime, they are more likely to turn into fat in the absence of subsequent physical activity. In fact, energy consumption during sleep is not much different from any other sedentary activity that can be performed during the day. In addition, dinner, which also includes carbohydrates, promotes a night's rest by stimulating the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone.
3. Low-carbohydrate diet promotes weight loss
A balanced diet that helps to maintain health should provide enough carbohydrates, with a predominance of complex and whole carbohydrates. According to the major scientific nutrition societies, carbohydrates should comprise at least 50-55% of your calorie intake.
There is no evidence that drastic carbohydrate restriction leads to any real benefits, including in terms of weight. Faster weight loss is observed only during the first period of such a diet, but later the benefits are no longer observed. Reducing carbohydrates inevitably means increasing fats and proteins, which, if taken in excess, can be harmful. Final confirmation comes from a 2018 study published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet: Low-carbohydrate diets increase risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease.
Thus, we stick to our eating habits according to the Mediterranean tradition and do not exclude pasta from our diet, even if we need to lose weight!