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In defense of Carbs

When the Atkins craze finally bit the dust, you couldn’t have found a happier girl than me.  However, all too often I still hear my friends, family members, and fellow bloggers voice a fear of:

The Big, Bad Carbohydrates

Dun dun dun.


(Click for more on the Alfredo Pasta meal above)

Pick up any health magazine, and you have a good chance of seeing a celebrity interview where said celebrity credits her slim physique to:

1. An absolutely-no-bread diet
2. Eschewing all carbs after 7pm
3. Steering clear of pasta at any cost… after all, pasta is Satan in noodle form, right??

This is ridiculous! I would argue that these celebrities are thin thanks to regimented workout routines (hello, personal trainers!), low-calorie diets that do not include very many Mexican-restaurant gorges or Dunkin Doughnut runs (meal delivery service, anyone?), hectic, on-the-go schedules, and industry pressures that motivate and remind them to keep up these practices. It’s not the carbs! I feel sad every time one of my friends admits to a fear of carbs—pasta in particular.

You deserve to eat pasta! Real pasta. There’s a reason carbohydrates exist: protein repairs and rebuilds cells, fats provide hormonal functions for cells, and it’s the job of the carbohydrates to energize cells. Cut out carbs, and you cut out energy. You’re doing your body a major disservice, especially if you’re highly active.  We live in a society that deems any weight loss a good thing. But on low-carb diets, the major source of weight loss is muscle loss (which, in term, slows one’s metabolism) and water loss/dehydration (which presents a problem for one’s kidneys and can cause one’s body to go into a very dangerous state called “ketosis”). So yes, one may initially lose water weight and muscle weight on a low-carb diet; but in the long run, it means a sacrifice of one’s metabolism and muscles.

And a lack of carbs in one’s diet has also been associated with inferior athletic performance and brain function.  Glucose (from carbohydrates) is the favored fuel for one’s muscles, brain, and central nervous system, so a breakdown of glycogen (the storage form of glucose) causes fatigue and confusion, thus inhibiting the desire and ability to exercise.  Part of the reason carbs get a bad rap is that people fill up on highly-refined grains—cookies, white flour, etc.  But restrict whole-grain carbohydrates and you’ll be missing out on fiber, B vitamins, thiamin, niacin, and even protein (surprisingly enough, grains offer quite a bit of protein).

Most of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now, because how can one little blog post successfully counter a message that’s been drummed into Americans’ minds for years and years and years? But consider the source. While I’m not going to get into specific numbers (the subject of this post is not my weight; if you’re interested in that, please see my FAQ page), I’m nowhere near overweight. I adore carbs. You know this. Carbs fuel my super-active runner lifestyle, fill my body with essential nutrients, and—most importantly—taste delicious.





And yes, pasta too.

CCK Pasta Love:





Pasta Substitutions

One of my friends told me the reason she stays away from pasta is that it’s such a small serving and, for the same amount of calories, she can eat a much bigger serving of say, spaghetti squash.

True, a big bowl of something like my favorite voluminous oatmeal recipe can be much more filling than a small bowl of pasta. But sometimes you don’t want to feel bloated after eating (such as if you have a date that night!). Also, I’d argue that if one tries to fake oneself out with a pasta substitute, he or she subconsciously won’t feel as satisfied after eating because his or her brain knows it’s a substitute and therefore doesn’t register that the food craving was met.  This can thus lead to bingeing as the brain attempts to satisfy the craving for the desired food, so, in the long run, a person can end up taking in way more calories than if he or she had simply indulged in a small amount of the real stuff to begin with.  It’s like those studies that have shown people who use artificial sweeteners actually end up consuming more calories than those who don’t.

This isn’t to say spaghetti squash is not satisfying in its own right; it’s only when such foods become replacements for others that a problem can arise. Although spaghetti squash, zucchini spirals, mushroom pasta, and those Asian shirataki noodles can be super-fun to eat it’s sad when they completely replace pasta in one’s diet. 

This doesn’t mean one should quaff down a quadruple serving of Fettuccine Alfredo every day because “CCK said it’s ok” (especially since the sauce, not the pasta, is filled with unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol). Everything in moderation. But it’s recommended that the average person take in 6-11 servings of whole grains per day (depending on activity level; athletes obviously need more carbohydrates than sedentary people).

So go ahead and eat those carbs (especially if they’re served to you by a cute boy)! 😉

Published on September 30, 2009

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  1. DJ says

    All I can say is, here-here! We loves carbs at Skint Vegan Towers – how else am I going to keep my little vegan dynamos fuelled? Plus on a cold and miserable day, when you’re alone in the house and feeling down in the dumps, what better mood-enhancer than a big baked potato with watercress pesto and a grating of cheeze? Or baked beans on wholemeal toast? Or a bowl of wholewheat pasta with spicy tomato sauce and loads of nooch? Not much in my book…

  2. *Andrea* says

    i love your pasta stirfry! i can never quite recreate it as beautifully 😉

    i used to ‘fear’ carbs during my latter high school years… i wouldn’t eat any bread or pasta and ended up feeling deprived 🙁 i agree that when i eat my carbs (COMPLEX carbs – whole grain not white) i am HAPPIER and can run FASTER 🙂

  3. Maggie says

    I love carbs! Well, I actually don’t like pasta or rice… but I love bread, and oatmeal, and oat bran, and most other grains. Have you ever tried cooking oatmeal in the rice cooker? I just did that for the first time yesterday and it totally rocked. I’ll post my method soon 🙂

  4. jcd says

    Yay for Katie! I never understood the no-carbs craze either. Carbs are good for you, they are incredibly tasty (homemade pasta, anyone?), and keep you fueled up and full longer than a plate of salad ever will.

    On another note, whole grain carbs (like brown rice) are better than processed carbs (like white bread), so maybe that’s how things got out of hand. Someone could have thought white bread is ‘bad’, so maybe whole grain breads, other whole grains, and thus all carbs must be ‘bad’ too. Or, because people eat a mountain of spaghetti and think it is one serving when it’s actually five or six, and thus blame carbs for being overweight and unhealthy. That’s overeating + under-active in general, not those carbs you just ate. I don’t know. Society has issues.

    If people stopped labelling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ the world (at least North America) would be much better off. Even full-fat double chocolate sundaes with chocolate chunks, chocolate sauce, and chocolate sprinkles is absolutely fine to eat once in a while! (Unless you’re diabetic.) Everything in moderation people…

  5. Janna says

    I love love loveeee pasta. And most carbs in general. And I never shy away from them.

    I think the problem is with the “white” carbohydrates.

    I don’t eat those because I know they are “bad” for you.
    I tend to choose whole grain bread, brown rice, ancient grains like quinoa, oatmeal and whole wheat, soba or brown rice pasta.

    I also do the “fake” pasta sometimes like zucchini or spaghetti squash.

    But truthfully, sometimes I just want a big ‘ole plate of white spaghetti and tomato sauce 🙂

  6. janetha says

    there is nothing better than a big plate of carbs! in fact my favorite foods are bread and cereal.. i could never survive on a low carb diet. PLUS we need carbs for energy! great post 🙂

  7. RunToTheFinish says

    Amen sistah friend!! I hate it when people tell me they won’t eat carbs after a certain time…really they aren’t evil, but clearly we all know that it is probably better to have some whole grains than a cookie. Yet…my cookie isn’t going to kill me either.

  8. Bianca- Vegan Crunk says

    Hear, hear! I actually have a tee-shirt that says “I Love Carbs!” And I do. I steer away from white pasta and white flour, unless I’m eating out or at someone else’s house. And then, it’s game on. At home, I eat tons of whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, oats, brown rice, quinoa, all that yummy stuff. People who cut out carbs are trying to find an easy way to lose a few pounds without getting off their lazy asses … and that just ain’t healthy.

  9. The Foodie Diaries says

    Amen, I feel like I wrote this post. When I was like 15, I tried the Atkins diet and ended up gaining weight on it because I would ultimately give in and eat carbs. A diet that banned fruits and veggies? WHAT!? Still, I agree that though the no-carb diet phase is sort of over, I know a lot of people who either swear off carbs or feel guilty when they eat them. I’m personally not a huge pasta girl–and I prefer the veggie and tofu replacements. But, do not get me started on rice. It’s my carb of choice (you know we all have a #1), and I can’t get enough. And couscous, ahhh. I would never deny myself something I love just because it is “calorically dense.” I truly believe that no food should ever be off limits in a diet–even for someone trying to lose weight. There’s always a way to fit in what you love with a little will power and moderation…

    Ah I’m ranting but seriously great post. I love that you love yo carbs!

  10. ellie says

    I never understood the low-carb phase. I bought into the fat-free hype big time, but carbs…never seemed fear-inducing to me. Though I have never been attacked by a potato so maybe I am just living a sheltered life. Weight issues aside, if my diet is lacking in grains, my mood plummets- I need serotonin at frequent intervals. BRING ON THE BREAD!

  11. Angelina says

    I was also glad when the Atkins craze dwindled. I never really understood why it emphasized consuming lots of animal protein and deemed nutritous foods such as whole grains and fruit as fattening.
    I am a big fan of whole grain carbs and I have them at most meals. I eat brown rice, whole wheat pasta, oats, and whole grain breads most often. Sometimes I have bulgur, quinoa, amaranth, ect. I don’t have access to a health food store so I don’t get to eat more exotic grains as often as I’d like.

    • trajayjay says

      The atkins diet may have dwindled but it’s ashes still remain. I find people on the internet who still shun carbs, particularly pasta, bread, bananas, bagels, and potatoes

  12. Sarah says

    4 noodles? Wow, anon needs her eyes checked. Jealous much, anon?

    Katie, this post was beautiful! Exactly what a recovering anorexic like myself needed to hear.

  13. anon says

    come on, i mean look at those 3 first plates of pasta; if that’s called a plate of PASTA i’m a greek goddess. jealous much? of my plates looking a whole lot more full of pasta? hmmm.. not really, especially considering i have a bmi of 18.5; not underweight not overweight, just perfect.

    • laura says

      actually ANON a serving of pasta is 1/2 cup YES only 1/2 and two servings would be a 250ml cup, if you actually measure that out you realize how little pasta that is and why so many americans are obese because their potion sizes are OUT of control (I’m a canuck and eating in the states also astounds me) maybe its time the rest of us practice proper portion control

      • trajayjay says

        YES! people blame pasta for their weight gain when, but it’s because they pile it high on their plates (olive garden much?) You will gain weight if that is done to any food, even lettuce, though you’d probably feel to sick to eat an amount so large it makes you significantly heavier.

  14. Sarah says

    Hmm, your bmi might be perfect, but your manners suck. And OBVIOUSLY you have disordered eating, because a NORMAL person wouldn’t spend her time writing rude anonymous comments on peoples’ blogs!

  15. anon says

    HA, get a life. just because YOU are a recovered anorexic doesn’t mean we have all been. me eating is pretty ordered thank you and i love how my body looks

    and i’m sorry but a NORMAL person wouldn’t spend her time writing rude comments on other people’s own comments. POINT MADE.

  16. Sarah says

    I’m not denying I have eating issues. You are.
    But you’re right. I’ll stop wasting any more of my precious time with you. Bye bye poor troll.

  17. VeganWoman says

    Excellent article! I hear this all the time..”no bread” blah blah blah. It isn’t the bread and pasta it is the gluten being pumped into it preventing the body from absorbing nutrients. Yes, if someone eats white bread then they should have “no bread”. Great pics and again well done!

    • trajayjay says

      I hear that a substance called phytic acid exists in most grains, beans, legumes, and nuts. Fortunately it can be removed by soaking the food, then dehydrating/cooking it. I wonder if ancient cultures, whose staple food was grains, knew about phytic acid.

  18. eatingmachine says

    mmm i love pasta!
    the key if you’re worried about it being bad for you is to fill it up with veggies-i add broccoli to the pot i cook the pasta in, and then there’s an added veggie without using an extra pot! more veggies is better-but keep some noodles!

  19. Kiersten says

    THANK YOU KATIE! I hate it when people think that carbs are bad for you. There are even people who won’t eat fruit because there’s “too many carbs” ! I love carbs, there is no way that I’d be able to follow a low-carb diet. I do limit my intake of white flour and try to stick to mostly whole grains though. Don’t even get me started on how ridiculous the Atkins diet is!

  20. Diana (Soap & Chocolate) says

    HAHAHAHA – “healthy controversy”: check. But mostly you’re getting comments of agreement, which is absolutely appropriate! I think our society is slowly but surely just starting to recover from carb fear, thank goodness. I for one am WAY happier since I abandoned the South Beach mentality many years ago. It’s easier said than done, but the bottom line is very simple: it’s the QUALITY of the calories that matters, whatever the food may be!

  21. Maria says

    Yay for this post! Carbs are definitely my food group of choice (yummy bread, oats, rice, pasta, squash, corn, I can go on and on!), and I would hate it if I could never have it. I do admit though that I’m afraid to have it in larger quantities sometimes, but a serving or so per meal is no problem at all, and in fact, is required for that taste satisfaction (for me at least)!

    I also completely agree with your “no substitution” theory. A little bit of the real thing is a whole lot better than a lot of the fake stuff.

    Love ya too, girlie!

  22. Jessica says

    I love my carbs too 🙂 I could never give up pasta or nice crusty bread!! I actually tried spaghetti squash the other day and liked it a lot, but it could not replace noodles!

  23. Clay says

    Being a vegan, if the good carb didnt exist then i have no idea what i would do with my life (especially seeing that a ‘no carb’ pancake is DO-able, but not edible to say the least. Also, and i am SO glad this is over with… but having recently overcome an eating disorder (where i was the same ‘carbs are the devil’ way) i cannot tell you how much i relish in taking in a clif bar in the morning. Or making some pasta or brown rice stir fry. Hell, i was even scared of things like sweet potatos and bananas. These are staples in my diet now and i thank the Pancake gods daily for them. And im nowhere NEAR being a runner… but lifting weights… thats another story!

    Also, i think you might have a tuba player for the Banana Butter Band. Actually just had some on a bagel and i think i want to marry it, or at least take it out for a wonderful steak dinner. Check it out –

  24. Heather Eats Almond Butter says

    I’ve tried life without carbs, and it just wasn’t a life worth living. I’ll admit, pasta and bagels still frighten me, but give me a big bowl (and I mean BIG) of grains, and I am a happy girl. 🙂

    Love you Katie…oh, and guess who just bought some ripe bananas this morning? Guess what I’ll be making very soon??????

  25. natalie says

    I did atkins once back in my crazy days maybe 5 years ago. It was not any fun. Carbs are an important part of my meals!! I’m not afraid of carbs, infact that’s one thing that has never bugged me…fancy that !:)

  26. Liz says

    Thank you SO much Katie! I’m currently staying with my dad and step-mum, and both of them swear by a low-carb, high (animal) protein diet. They say it totally works for them. I love them both, but sometimes I feel like pointing out that it obviously doesn’t work because, well… neither of them is slender, to be blunt. I feel awful saying that, but it makes me so sad to see them cut out such yummy foods and it’s not even doing what they want it to do 🙁
    Maybe I’ll show them your post! Love!

  27. leslie says

    katie, if i was standing next to you right now, i’d be hugging you. i couldn’t agree more with this post. i think the problem is that people were told to stop eating refined carbs and those got lumped with real, whole grains. we need to eat the right carbs, just like we need to eat the right fats or the right proteins. i thought the most ridiculous part of atkins was how even fruit was limited because of its carbs. i mean – fruit? seriously?

    i agree that it’s fun to experiment – i love zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash and eat them happily, but i also love soba and udon, not to mention other grains. i really love your whole food philosophy!

  28. Jenny R. says

    wow Katie…I was seriously having the worst day ever and you just made my day so much better with that post. Since I’m a holistic nutrition major this is like music to my ears. And since I know all the science behind this stuff I’m so impressed with how well you know your stuff! p.s. you guys high protein low carb is the worst worst worst thing for athletic people…it will kill your performance and put a huge burden on your liver/kidneys. Don’t do that to yourselves!! I love grains so much I’m naming my next dog oatmeal…yea I’m a huge weirdo

  29. Erin says

    I’m so happy for your carb defense!! Carbs don’t make you fat. I certainly find it easy to eat too many of them when there’s fresh bread from the oven…but it’s worth it every time! There are few things better in life!

  30. elle888 says

    I really loved reading this post. 🙂 everything is so true that you said about carbs, it is so sad when girls are afraid of them, myself included,well i am not scared of them as much as i have been in my past, i eat starch at each meal now…and i know all the benefits of carbs, and kitosis, been there, not lovely at all, you get a metallic smell to your breath its disgusting, and aswell like you said it slows down your metabolism…well having anorexia, my ED is always making new fears around foods or certain food groups, but i am so happy that now in my life carbs and fat are not on that list of fears at all 🙂
    off to make a brown rice squash, kale and cashew stir fry 😉

    lots of love

  31. Reigne says

    Hi Katie.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while but this is my first time commenting…

    Earlier on this year, I completely avoid carbs. Of course, as a result of this, I became extremely skinny and weak, my immune system went out of whack (this was probably due to a lack of food in general – but I’m sure the low carb diet was a major contributor), and I was almost always tired and grumpy. It wasn’t until I started reading health blogs – like yours – that I realised that carbs will not make me fat, and are indeed the basis of living a healthy and energetic lifestyle. Now that I’ve become addicted to whole grains, my body is finally starting to get back on track.

    What I don’t understand is why the media gives carbs a bad image, when they are obviously an essential part of staying alive.


    • Helen says

      Hey =)
      I am in a similar situation- not having eating carbs in any form at all for more than a year now – I find I gain uncontrollable much weight with just a very small portion of whole grain pasta, brown rice or fruit. So how did you reintroduce carbs in your diet? Or did you just from one low-carb day change to high-carb the next day, all days?
      Please help!

  32. Jenna- The Tofu Lush says

    I have to admit that I bought into the ‘fear of carbs’ craze years ago… and I was miserable!!! I have tried every ‘diet’ on the planet, but have NEVER been happier than I am now, where I eat my beloved carbs in balance with plenty of veggies, fruit, and other good stuff :)!

    Hip Hip, Carbs! 😉

  33. ohkansascity says

    Personally, I choose to get my carbs from fruits and vegetables over grains because my body doesn’t digest grains well at all, even my gluten-free ones. Eating them give me a sore belly, and other unpleasant effects, and leave me sluggish and tired (even the healthy ones, which I choose over processed foods.) But I’m definitely not a lowcarb girl. I can’t imagine not eating fruit any more! Crazy!

    • trajayjay says

      well, as long as you’re avoiding grains because they hurt your stomach, not because you sheep to the media and believe that they actually inflate you.

  34. Abby says

    Super post.. I could not agree with you more!! Your bod need em.. dont deprive yourself. THe photos are fab.. Im gonna go make myself a nice bowl of noodles! mmmmmmmmmmm 🙂

  35. Melinda says

    Exactly. And someone can eat 1200 kcals a day in chocolate cake and not get fat either (I mean only the 1200 kcals ferom cake–and this does in fact lead to many healthy problems, but makes a point), it is calories in general. Calories in=cals out to maintain your weight. And yadda yadda, we all know where this is headed. Great rant on the pasta and carbs. There’s specific proportions for all macronutrients throughout the day that are science based. All the foods looked great.

  36. Annabananabomb says

    I’m going to disagree, and agree. I’m a huge believer in different strokes for different folks, I just can’t function happily and normally without carbs in my life, I LOVE them. Pasta makes me happy and I want to be happy.

    But then I have met people who do better on less carbs and more protein because it makes them feel fuller for longer and keeps them more satisfied. Note I said LESS carbs, not NO carbs.

    So yeah, I agree, but I disagree too. Hope you don’t mind!

  37. Becky says

    Ok Katie, I feel like this post was written for me! Just last night I wrote a post about craving carbs like mad because my brekkie and lunch were lacking them. I came home and had a carb fest….not cool. I mean, I really need to incorporate them into most meals/snacks so I don’t go crazy. I will admit that I get a little kooky about eating too many carbs and is something I need to work on for sure. My goal this week and maybe next, is too eat healthy carbs at most meals/snacks and see how much better I feel! Great post.
    Don’t worry, anon is just jealous 🙂

  38. Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) says

    I love carbs, but sadly they don’t seem to fill me up!! Grrrr! I love love love anything carbalicious- and I’m only just now introducing “Real” bread (vs “light” bread) back into my life. I cannot resist sweet potato fries, and I ate all (ALLLLL!) of my brown rice at sushi lunch today- shocked even myself. Thanks for the post though and for making the point that many people can live carb-friendly lives. Sure more delish, no doubt! Man (woman) can’t survive on egg whites and lettuce alone- I should know…I tried!!

  39. Jenn says

    Hey Katie I love carbs! But i actually got another question for you – ive been vegan for about a year now and I recently had a blood test done and it showed that im anemic. How do you make sure you get enough iron and B12?

  40. Anne K. says

    Great post! We were just discussing how the Atkins diet is dangerous (and why it doesn’t work) today in kinesiology class. Carbs are the most efficient source of fuel for our bodies. Your brain needs glucose (from carbs) in order to function! If you exercise at moderate to high intensity without enough carbs in your diet, you’re gonna eventually conk out. And even if you never get to the point where your brain can’t get enough glucose, you’ll be sluggish because your fuel system isn’t working efficiently.

    AND in order to burn fat, you need to have carbohydrates. In the words of my professor, “fat only burns in a carbohydrate fire!” And since we WANT to burn off the extra fat, it makes no sense to avoid carbs.

    No idea where the carb hatin’ came from. Thanks for helping get this info out there 😀 Your pasta dishes look delish!

  41. Devan Newman says

    i am definatly one who fears pasta 🙁
    I dont want to fear it.. i just do.
    i want to learn to love my carbs, and protiens, and so on.. I want to learn to nourish my body.. and feel i DESERVE good for me foods 😀 and ALL foods. such as pasta, and bread..
    🙁 sigh

  42. Tyler says

    i love carbs, too, but i actually think that the recommendation for 50% of our diet is too much. carbs do give us the quickest source of energy, but they are not our only source of energy- the body can also convert protein and fat into glucose as well. (carbs or glucose can not become protein). the reason i think that 50% is too much is because you can get a much more concentrated source of the nutrients in whole grains from vegetables than pasta, bread, rice, etc. too many carbs over time can cause insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. obviously, whole grains are a much better choice and are easier on your insulin than refined carbs, but i think a greater portion of the calories in our diet should come from proteins and fats.

    also ketosis is not a dangerous state at all…it just describes the higher levels of ketones that occur when the liver breaks down fat for energy. it is completely normal. ketosis is frequently mistaken for ketoacidosis, which is dangerous! ketoacidosis occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to control ketone production. ketoacidosis commonly occurs in type 1 diabetes; a low carb diet will not cause this condition.

    all that being said, i love my whole grains. i think we can be healthy without them, but i’m still going to eat oatmeal in the morning. i guess i aim for a lower carb diet without avoiding carbs completely (because really fresh bread and homemade pastries are sooo good!). it’s all about balance and moderation. carbs aren’t the best thing for you, but they are not the worst either. especially if you avoid sugar. sorry if my comment was a downer, but those are my thoughts!

    • Gina says

      Thank you for having the most educated answer.

      You are correct; we do not need carbohydrates for our exclusive source of energy; the body is incredibly adept at converting fat and protein into glucose. And 50% of one’s daily caloric intake of carbohydrates is simply too high. Over time, such a high consumption of carbohydrates can cause metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance.

      Grains, are also full of toxins and anti-nutrients that we cannot absorb; which is a shame since they are incredibly nutrient dense.

      And yes, you are correct; ketosis is not a dangerous state. One’s daily caloric intake should come from 60% fats, 18 – 20% carbohydrates, and 20% protein. And the protein must be from animal-based sources; over-indulgence of legumes, grains and nuts can cause diverticulitis and ruptured intestinal linings.

      Fruit should also be consumed in moderation; it can be very fattening. Try to eat fruit that that gives you the most bang for your nutritional buck: fibrous, full of antioxidants and nutrients.

      The idea of needing to ‘carb load’ is also a dangerous fallacy. The body does not deplete it’s glycogen stores until it has been in a state of exercise for more than 90 minutes; at which point, yes, you will need a simple carbohydrate to quickly convert to an energy source. Otherwise, you can be fat-efficient, burning fat to fuel you — which is a wonderful thing, and one of the reasons why the best time to exercise is actually in a fasted state.

      I shed weight like water when I restrict my carbohydrate intake to 50 – 100 g a day. Some of you reading this, if you’re unable to lose weight, check your carbohydrate intake.

  43. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    It’s only taken me all day to read this and write back 🙂 As the 52nd comment, it’s all been said. But girl, I love agave, fruit, oats, sugar (yes real cane sugar not fake sweeteners), and I love chocolate and all things that have sugar in them. I too am super active with running, yoga, and runnin after my 2.5 yr old 🙂 so I need fuel. I find that nothing fuels me better than carbs. I could never be a low carber. Heck no, I love sweet things and since I am not over weight I indulge, with pleasure 🙂 Great post and I also cringe when I read people carb-bashing, or even bashing fruit b/c it has “sugar” in it. Yeah, so? LOL girl. Anyway, I dont eat as many processed grains as others b/c I am GF and cannot digest gluten but that’s ok. Bottom line, carbs are cool. Thanks for the post!

  44. Rachel says

    Carbs have always been a problem…but this positive reinforcement is really what I needed. Bring on the carbs–we NEED them to live, after all:)

  45. Jenna says

    I was at the gym today and I heard a heavyset diabetic lady talking about how she eschews CARROTS because of carbs! It completely made me think of this entry. Yes there are carbs in carrots, it is a vegetable high in sugar relative to other veggies, but diabetic or not, the benefits of the micronutrients – potassium and vitamin “A,” plus the blood-glucose-balancing macronutrient, fiber – totally outweigh the potential negatives.

    And really, when you think carbs, do you think *carrots*? I’m still amazed. THEN she and the other lady in the conversation went on to praise sugar-free chocolates…! Good lord, the sugar alcohols and crazy artificial substitutions….I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with sugar alcohols, and I’m glad I realized what was causing my problems before I developed some real nutrient deficiencies. I just hope people like that can educate themselves as well – it’s not worth the ignorance or the health detriment!

    The “forbidden foods” discourse in general is, I think, a bad way to look at things because it’s definitionally negative. Learning to listen to your body is a slow process, yes, but it creates the framework *within* you for a successful daily diet, instead of putting the blame outside of you and displacing responsibility.

    Anyway, I’m rambling because I’m avoiding work on my thesis, but that’s my two cents. I’m a veggie queen! Had to defend my carrots =)

  46. broccolihut says

    Once again, we are SO on the same page. My view is, as long as they’re whole grain, healthful carbs, and I get enough of the other macronutrients, why hold back?? I have a post from a while back entitled “True Life: I’m a Carb Queen.” I think that pretty much sums up my feelings on the issue:)

  47. The voracious Vegan says

    FABULOUS post Katie, thank you so much for addressing this topic!

    This is one of my pet peeves, actually. When people here that I’m vegan they sometimes say ‘oh, i could never be vegan, all the carbs would make me fat.’ First of all, it isn’t just carbs I eat, a vegan diet has plenty of protein, fat, etc, too! And second of all, look at ME! 3 years veganism and I’m slender and fit!

    HEALTHY carbs, like whole grains, fruits, veggies, etc, are HEALTHY. Unhealthy carbs, like fried chips, white flour, white sugar, in overabundance are unhealthy.


    Well written, Katie, I enjoyed reading this.

  48. jace90 says

    what a great post! I love carbs-but still avoid simple carbs, i.e. non wholegrain/whole meal.. but if its in front of me, and i like it, i’ll eat it!

  49. CaSaundra says

    There’s good carbs and bad carbs, it’s just all about making HEALTHY choices as with anything else. Obv if you eat pasta smothered in fat-laden Alfredo sauce or something it’ll be worse than pasta in homemade tomato sauce, ya know? And of course everyone’s bodies respond differently, so some may have carbs “stick” to em more, but man–I love me some carbs!!

  50. Laura says

    wow i can’t believe how many comments are here already! i am a registered dietitian and hardcore vegan, and i am here to tell you that you’re absolutely right….carbs ARE good for you! they are the ONLY ONLY ONLY form of energy your brain can use. ONLY. and YES ketoacidosis is dangerous for your body when deprived of carbs. it causes a lot of inflammation, not to mention decreased immune function, delayed wound healing, lack of concentration, poor memory, and general irritability. all from no carbohydrates. i work in an eating disorder inpatient treatment facility and it looks like a lot of people commenting on here could be patients of mine. i think everyone needs to take a look at their own intakes instead of criticizing katie, or other commenters. myself included. 50% of your intake is the MINIMUM amount of carbohydrates you should have each day…and what kind counts, too. whole grains are obviously more nutritious than processed, “white” grains. i think people who aren’t educated in nutrition or dietetics should really go see a dietitian if they have questions about food and diet, so they don’t do anything dangerous or harmful with their diets and lifestyles…and there are vegan dietitians out there! check us out!! 🙂

  51. ~Jessica~ says

    While I don’t have an issue at all with other people’s decision to remove or limit carbs per se, I certainly do object to the holier-than-thou reasoning behind it and the tendency to impose such rigid dietary restrictions on others via the media’s favourite medium: guilt. I dislike the virtuous attitude attached to low-carb regimes and (for the most part) the people who follow them. Obviously I don’t support diets where animal protein is consumed in the sickeningly vast quantities that they generally are with low-carb regimes, but I suppose it boils down to how you define ‘carbs’ ~ for example a raw diet wouldn’t include them aside from the naturally occurring variety in fruits and some veggies and I wouldn’t say that that’s necessarily unhealthy.

    I practically live on carbs so I’m in total agreement with you about them from the pleasure perspective. I’d find it extremely miserable to be deprived of my lovely sweet potatoes and gluten-free bread.

    Fantastic post as always 🙂


  52. Marissa says

    I really have to disagree with you. I lost 150 lbs by cutting out grains and sugar. My brother recently lost 50 by cutting bread from his diet completely and limiting his grain to only brown rice.
    I don’t workout heavily anymore, I haven’t for months and the weight still is kept off of me.
    I don’t limit my carbs, but the definitely don’t come from grains. Grains are a very poor choice when it comes to nutrient density per calorie. When I eat grains it makes me want MORE grains, and they never satisfy me.
    For years I argued that I could eat my grains (pasts, bread, cereals…and all whole grain I might add) and be healthy, and that i was just meant to be fat. Not so. As soon as I cut the grains down to 1 serving of whole grains a day (1 slice of ezekiel bread is 1 serving) the weight melted off me. I lost 30 lbs in the first 3 months, and I was only walking, no other exercise at all.
    Grains are drugs. I highly recommend the book “Eat to Live” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman as he spells out why you shouldn’t have a lot of grains in your diet.
    also I suggest looking into the SCD diet, as it improved the lives of many people (especially those with autism).
    I don’t get kickbacks by any of these people or diets, but I know it worked for me.
    150 lbs weight loss…you cannot really argue with that.

    • trajayjay says

      You might have lost a lot of muscle too. If you eat too few calories, (a low carb diet is usually low-cal) your body may break down muscle for energy. Muscle burns calories, even if you’re at rest. So by not eating enough calories, you may be lowering your metabolic rate.
      That being said, what works for you works for you. I don’t agree that 45-60% of calories must come from carbs or that 10-35% of calories must come from protein and same with 20-35% from fat.
      If a food is healthy and nutrient packed, I say you may eat it in a suitable quantity that works for you, I probably get 45% of my calories from fat, but I eat mostly nuts and oils. Just don’t go above you’re calorie limit. And eat a varied diet

  53. trustingmyintuition says

    carbs are the best!!! 🙂 I would never cut carbs and think the idea is also crazy. We need to stop looking for one evil food/ingredient!! There is no magic secret!
    How crazy is this…someone I know does the South Beach Diet pretty religiously for like many years (at least 6..maybe get the idea). So she started running. Still restricts carbs. Verrry little pasta when she does allow it, no potatoes, and nothing white obviously. Breakfast from what I have seen is like 1/2 cup of egg beaters or cottage cheese, lunch-salad w/cheese, and dinner chicken/some other protein and vegetables. Maybe like 3 spoonfuls of rice. I don’t know how this person survives. Maybe they eat more when I’m not around. So she tells me she just ran 13.1 miles for the first time and we were discussing race aid stations. I said they have water and sports drink at least every 2 miles, and she said she doesn’t drink the sports drink, just water. So I asked about energy gels or some other ENERGY source during these long runs, and she said no just water. Meanwhile she was running for over 2.5 hours on NOTHING BUT WATER! Then she told me she didn’t even eat anything before, but had a banana after!! This is sad….and she’s an adult. like 50’s

  54. trustingmyintuition says

    I have to add that it bugs me when people say “OMG bananas are the worst fruit for you”!


    • trajayjay says

      They say bananas are high in calories (hi -cal doesn’t even mean bad, not every being on the earth wants/needs to lose weight for his life to be fulfilled) but I just don’t understand how 120 cals for an 8 in banana is so fattening.
      Apparently bananas are known to raise and lower your blood sugar sharply which can cause hunger. But I think the fiber, potassium, and other nutrients, and especially the taste outweigh this.
      If you were really scared of it being hi-GI, then you might eat it with a low GI food, such as any type of fat or protein (peanut butter is delicious on bananas) or oatmeal.

      • trajayjay says

        oh yes, whenever you see that side advertisement that says “5 foods that you must never eat for weight loss” you will 80% of the time see a banana. So sad to see an innocent fruit fall victim to so much hatred.

  55. Anne says

    Sorry Marissa, but I have to disagree with you. Maybe you’re the exception to the rule, but whole grain carbs, which are high in fiber, have been proven to keep peoples’ weights in check. Why do you think the Atkins Diet went bankrupt? I’d say it’s the types of carbs you choose to eat. The slimmest and most energetic people I know, such as Katie, eat lots of carbs, while many many many of the people I know who are overweight are carb counters. Carb counting just doesn’t work!

  56. Rachel says

    Mmm…I love carbs. Carbs baby all the way – whole grain that is, w/ a healthy dose of veggie and all else that makes a whole, balanced diet. It so bugs me when girls won’t dare have “bread w/ pasta” or pasta alone when at a restaurant or w/e. You gotta have some bread w/ the pasta ladies! too delish. Great post CCV 🙂 makin’ me hungry for tm. nt’s meal already! 😉

  57. snackface says

    THANK YOU for this post! I have tried the substitutes for pasta, but when I want pasta, I want the REAL thing! And bread? If there is fresh bread in front of me, I’m attacking it every.single.time, and LOVING it!

  58. Rebecca says

    I agree with Katie, but I can also see others’ points about carbs. Just because Katie is thin and eats carbs doesn’t mean that ANYONE can eat lots of carbs and be skinny. Katie is thin because she has a fast metabolism, runs 8 miles five days a week, and eats an extremely healthy vegan diet. She is not gorging herself on white bread, white flour, crackers, pretzels, and french fries. She is right when she says that all carbs are not the enemy. However, carbs in the form of white sugar and white, refined flour are just not healthy. (Katie does not eat these though; she eats whole grains to get her carbs.)

    Personally, I am also naturally thin and very athletic, and I eat plenty of carbs. I try not to eat too many sugary or refined foods, though – I try to eat whole grains for carbs instead of white bread and sugary cereals. I think it’s easy for thin people to say “carbs aren’t bad!!!” because we can eat them and still be skinny. But, if you’re overweight and struggling, I can understand wanting to cut out some carbs in order to jump start weight loss. Carbs can be addictive and unsatisfying. It’s better to eat mostly lean protein and veggies with some whole grains as well. Moderation, moderation, moderation. Katie’s meals are mostly vegetables with small servings of carbs. So yes, carbs are OK — whole grain carbs. And if you’re skinny and burn 800 calories a day, eat them up because you’ll need them. For most of the rest of civilization, I can understand limiting refined carbs.

  59. Tiffany S. says

    I think it is a case of different approaches to whatever works best for an individual – Marissa gets her carbs from fruits and veggies but not from grains.

    I eat about one serving of whole grains a day and wouldn’t be able to lose weight on much more. I don’t have Katie’s metabolism and am not a runner.

    I eat my zucchini noodles and am 100% satisfied. I’ll eat an occasional piece of bread paired with protein or white rice if I’m in a situation (like a conference yesterday) when that was my only choice, but I don’t choose to eat that regularly. I also feel like I’m “losing control” if I eat corn items so I avoid them.

    I’m certainly not afraid of carbs, but I’ve experimented enough to know what works better for my body.

    Remember that Susan Powter chick – she said you should eat like 6 bagels a day! Now, that was nuts! But I know that’s NOT what Katie was saying. Carbs have their place. I hear ya!

  60. Gena (Choosing Raw) says

    So I know I’m late to chime in, cutie, but I really enjoyed this post! Bravo. Obviously, the quality and quantity of grains eaten matters (quality for all of us, quantity depending on the person), but the tendency to villify carbs is absolutely wrongheaded and so frequently misunderstood. Way to call attention to this!

  61. Liz says

    Hey Katie, or anyone else,
    I have a dilema. I want to like carbs and want them to be my friends, but I’ve been scared of them for so long that I don’t know how to start adding them back in. I’m worried that I’ll eat a normal sized bowl of pasta and not feel satisfied afterwards and then it will trigger a binge. Or my body will think that I’m going to restrict them again, so it will want to get as many carbs in as fast as possible. I know a lot of you have struggled with a fear of carbs in the past, and I was wondering if you had any advice or personal stories to share with me about how you got over this fear. I’d really like some reassurance that if I start eating grains like bread and pasta and even starchy veggies and fruits again, I won’t gain tons of weight. I want to have a good relationship with carbs again!


    • laura says

      Hello Liz,

      As a Kinesiologist and soon to be Naturopathic medicine student, the main thing is portion control and choosing the right carbs. For example, if you just eat a giant bowl of plain white pasta, you will have a huge spike in your sugar because of its high GI (glycemic index) and rapid absorption. Instead of eating carbs on their own try, pairing them with protein to help keep you full and eat fibre filled carbs to slow the digestion process. here are some examples
      1. bowl of steel cut oats with nuts and soy or almond milk
      2. quinoa stew with chickpeas beans and lots of veggies
      3. if you aren’t vegan, try a stirfry with chicken/shrimp lots of veggies and 1/2 cup cooked whole grain brown rice, or sub tofu
      4. for breakfast, make sure you keep your portions in moderation (no more than 1 cup of fibre rich, low sugar cereal) and always add a protein source. Since I’m gluten and lactose intolerance, I swear by Holy Crap cereal with almond or soy milk
      fruit is VERY healthy, however just watch your portion sizes (i.e. don’t have a huge banana and two apples for breakfast) its better to spread your fructose throughout the day. ALWAYS chose whole unpeeled fruit over juice or canned fruit, and frozen berries are also a delicious addition to many breakfast items
      5. the WORST thing you can do if you are also avoiding gluten, it load up on gluten free snacks and breads that are full of refined white rice flour and potato starch. Instead, I make homemade larabars for snacks, and muffins/breads using almond flour, quinoa flour and GF certified oats.
      6. if you love pasta, try making a soup with it (i.e. minestrone) because the added stock (choose low sodium) and veggies will help keep you feeling full and make the portion size feel bigger

      I, like Katie, am blessed with a fast metabolism, BMI has always been low even though I consume over 2,000 calories a day (I also strength train and run and bike every other day). I am not afraid of carbs, I just always try to chose the right ones and this helps me keep my energy up, without them my workouts suffer so you definitely need carbs to fuel your activity! let me know if you have any other questions 🙂

  62. Anonymous says

    Hi Liz!

    My only advice would be to start off slow. Maybe add a banana in as a snack, or just cook as much pasta as you’re going to eat in one sitting (no left overs) so you cant binge.

    Good luck, I’m so glad that sharing the carb love has made you want to join in!


  63. ajoyinclass says

    Hey Liz!

    I have been in your exact position 🙂 I would suggest going very, very slow, or else you might freak out….since it is fall and more root veggies are coming into season, why not take advantage? Make a stir-fry or a soup and add some yams (not a lot, just some dices), for example. I just had an amazing vegan split-pea-spinach-yam soup that 4 years ago I would have been terrified of. The key is to make sure you know what you are taking in is going to be recognized by your body, only going to fuel you, and that there are no “bad” ingredients (unneccessary oils, tons of butter, heavy cream). Add some banana slices to your fruit salads. Eat even just half a high-fiber, whole-grain bar like Gnu (which will clean OUT your system, not stick TO your system!).

    I still do not eat many bread-y carbs, but I am not afraid of them, nor have they been completely cut from my life…I found the ones which worked for ME. It’s all about finding your personal balance 🙂 good luck!!!

  64. Scarlatina says

    Marissa – I completely agree with you. (And I love Dr. Fuhrman – after reading Eat to Live, I immediately became a vegan). I think it’s much better to get your carbs from nutrient-dense sources (i.e., fruits and veggies). And I do not think you should ever restrict your fruit and veggie intake due to their carb count or the amount of sugar they have in them. Grains are very addicting – just look at people’s comments on here. I think, generally speaking, people crave carbs much more than say spinach or carrots or other vegetables. Now I know some people are going to jump all over this comment and say, “I crave spinach, carrots, etc”. So please don’t get defensive; this is just my opinion. Another way to look at it, which shows that carbs have an addicting potential, is would you ever overeat a plate of red bell peppers or mushrooms? No. But do people have problems overeating breads, pastas, chips, cake, etc? Yes. I try to avoid any food which could cause me to overeat and then feel guilty and bloated afterward, because in my mind that tells me that those foods have control over me. So basically that leaves me with fruits and veggies and beans, which I believe are the best choices, any ways!

    Katie – you have a very nice blog, but sometimes I think you forget that all your readers cannot eat like you do and stay as thin as you are. You have made comments before about how you don’t have to count calories and how you think counting calories is a “big, fat (excuse the bad pun) waste of time”. Now it’s easy for you to say that, because you are thin even if you consume 2,000+ calories. But to someone who needs to count their calories (or avoid carbs, as in response to this post), it may seem a bit offensive… as if you are rubbing in their faces how you stay thin and can eat “x” amount of calories or carbs. Now, I really don’t think that is your intention… but you may want to consider that when you post some of the things you post. But this is your blog, and you can post whatever you want… of course, that goes without saying. But it’s just a thought. Because, again before everyone jumps on my case, aren’t this comments supposed to stimulate thought and sometimes be the opposite of what the original poster thinks? I think it would be quite boring if every comment was, “Yes, Katie, I totally agree with you !!!”. Unless that is what you are shooting for when you write your posts…

  65. Anonymous says

    I have to disagree with Marissa and Scarletina.

    Maybe WHITE, REFINED carbs cause people to overeat more than something like a plate of red peppers would. But would you seriously want to live a life just eating veggies and beans all day without ever allowing yourself a slice of cake or piece of bread? I mean isn’t the whole point of life to LIVE it?

    Yeah, you might die three years later, and you might weigh five pounds less if all you eat are “safe” foods all day, but at what cost?

  66. Jenna says

    Liz –

    I’ve been there. Very recently, actually. Before this summer, I restricted my intake – not too low, but I always ended up cutting carbs along with fat because I was trying to maintain my weight without exercise (<- *alarms going off*). Then this summer, I reintroduced carbs into my diet, and I did exactly what you fear. Every time I ate a snack bar or handful of graham crackers…BINGE. I did that all summer, and I gained a good 8 pounds.

    I'm telling you this first of all because I think it's very, very good that you're being realistic, and reaching out for help. You really need to give yourself credit for that.

    And second of all, I'm saying this because readjusting your diet is a *process*. God, I hated that thought, because that meant *time*…that I didn't want to spend.

    So it's not summer anymore, obviously, and now I'm 3 pounds away from my normal weight again. But most importantly, I can eat carbs until I'm comfortably satisfied, and then STOP.

    So what happened in-between?

    Time. Trial-and-error. Frustration, too, but always optimism. It's so important to know that this is a process whereby you'll learn a lot about yourself. For instance, I had previously assumed that I'd just always have my mom's extreme sweet tooth and it would always be something I'd have to deal with, but now I see that I don't even *like* extremely sweet things very much – which seems so crazy to me still! I know what foods I can't put down, I know how far pre-portioning foods will go in terms of helping my self-control, I know that I prefer crunchy carbs when I'm snacky but when I balance it out with smooth/chewy foods I can better control myself…

    So in the end, what you learn is SO important, and that's what you have to keep in mind. I don't even really care about those last few pounds, because now that I know so much about myself, I know that they will come off without my worrying. *WITHOUT my worrying* (I had to say it twice…it's so freeing). What you learn about yourself, as long as you consciously make smart decisions, is priceless, and will last you much longer than any pitfalls you might encounter. I know this isn't providing you with any solutions, but I hope it helps, and I wish you luck with your own process!

    – Jenna

  67. Peanut Butter Bliss says

    Dear Katie,
    I know I am SO late in posting this comment, but THANK YOU FOR THIS POST. its about time someone said this. My friend, who is constantly dieting, always tells me that it isn’t fair that I can eat carbs and be thin. I feel so bad for her that she fears whole grain good carbs. pasta is one of the best meals. ever. Carbs allow for our bodies to function. We need them. End of story.
    Peanut Butter Bliss

  68. Marianne says

    I have never seen a reason to not eat carbs. Any diet that tells me I “shouldn’t eat something because it will make me fat” screams big ol’ lie. Eatint food x doesn’t make you fat. Eating too much of ANY food will make you fat – if your calories in are greater than your calories exerted, you will gain weight. Plain & simple. Whole grain products offer so many beneficial nutrient/vitamins, as do fruits, veggies, legumes, dairy, meats, etc. Any real food should never be excluded from your diet if you enjoy it. It’s all about balance. And you know, it’s even okay to enjoy a piece of fluffy white bread from time to time too – it’s not going to kill you.

    As for carbs being addictive – I don’t buy it. You like what you like, and you are going to crave those foods you really enjoy regardless of their nutrient make up. I think alot of the “addictions” we hear about stem from other issues, not the food itself. But it’s alot easier to blame the food that face what’s the true cause.

    And let’s not forget – you cannot survivie without adequate carb intake. Certain cells in your brain cannot function without carbohydrate intake. I believe the minimum carb intake is 120g, but I I’m only remembering that off the top of my head, and I could be wrong.

  69. jcd says

    Liz –

    It may help you to add in carbs alongside your regular meals, starting small and gradually adding them into your diet:
    – Adding a handful of barley, rice, or small pasta to soups
    – Adding some granola or toast to your breakfast
    – stuff half a pita (or a mini pita) with salad, if you’re eating plain salad
    – fill a tortilla with tofu scramble or stir fry to make a burrito
    – serve stir fry over a little bit of noodles or brown rice – not much to start, just 1/4 cup or so.
    – Mix 1/4 cup oats with chopped medjool dates, chopped nuts, and dried fruit, cover it with almond milk and let it sit in the fridge overnight – it makes a great tasting (and filling) addition to any breakfast.

    If you add just a little bit, but keep eating what you normally do, you should feel full already. That way, you won’t have to worry about the carbs making you feel empty. On the other hand, a toasted sandwich with peanut butter and banana or an oatmeal carrot muffin will always fill me up.

    Your meal or snack doesn’t have to centre around grains to incorporate them into your diet. Adding them in small amounts to things you are already eating should help prevent the binge. Avoid processed carbs like cookies, white flour, etc. since those have empty calories and leave you empty -> and that leads to binge – avoid it.

    And, Jenna (above) has some very good points in her post too.

    I’m not saying it will be easy for you, but if you make the grains available at every meal, they shouldn’t be so scary after a while. Best of luck!

  70. Liz says

    Thanks so much to everyone who left me advice! And thanks Katie, for mentioning it. It really helped me a lot.


  71. Marissa says


    First off I never said carbs were bad. I said I don’t believe grains are necessarily healthy.

    I don’t believe in diets, and especially do not trust any diet that apparently “went bankrupt” because I also don’t think that “diets” should be businesses. I have also never seen any study that shows that a high intake of whole grains keeps any group of peoples’ weight “in check”, unless you mean it keeps them at a set weight, which is possible…but I am not going to say that it would necessarily be a healthy weight.

    Atkins, by the way is a low carb diet, I do not recommend that at all. I say grains aren’t the best for you, and I can show you studies that show that information to be true. But when it comes down to it studies aren’t really going to tell you much. We can debate all day long about this as there are opposing studies. I can tell you that I lost 150 lbs and the main things I did was to cut the grains and cut the sugar.

    I was 300 lbs, I was fat, and I could tell you all I ate was junk and sugar…but that wasn’t the case. I lived on whole grains, ate who grain pasta, Ezekiel bread, Oatmeal…you name it. And I was still morbidly obese.

    Carb counting DOES work when it comes to weight loss. I don’t believe it is healthiest, but yes…it does work. But let me say it again, I don’t count carbs.

  72. Tricia says

    Ugh, my mom went on a low carb diet once, and IT SUCKED!! Without carbs, i’m like a zombie. I’m one of those people who needs carbs (preferable whole grain). Without them, i won’t be able to run 3-4 miles a day 😛

  73. pixelfairy devnull says

    Carbs are just the new whipping boy for people bad habits. If they were that evil, the fruity people (LFRV) would all be fat, have diabetes and die of heart attacks.

    Its no surprise that cutting out processed junk and exercising will make you healthy. Any change in diet for the purpose of getting healthier usually comes with other changes usually like drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Those two changes alone make a world of difference and yet people give credit to the twinkies.

    LOVE your yummy healthy blog!

  74. StraightOutTheGardenGirl says

    I agree totally, Katie. People need to realize that it’s calories in and calories out. It’s not what you eat that makes people gain fat, it’s how much. Of course, nutritionally dense foods are better for overall health, but it’s not rocket science to listen to your hunger and thirst signals. GO CARBS!!!

      • trajayjay says

        I know. People love to find a single, simple culprit, but weight loss really isn’t that simple. And I hate it when people demonize a HEALTHY food just because it’s high in calories (can you say, potato, nuts, oats, olive oil), as if we were put on this earth to lose all kinds of weight, and shun calories. If 33% of americans are obese, 67% of us are NOT and can afford to eat these high cal foods

  75. trajayjay says

    I don’t know how anybody could survive a low-carb diet, that’s like cutting out 80% of foods.

    Carbs probably are frowned upon because….

    People only know white pasta, white bread, white rice, cookies, cake and pies, all of which are high in much refined carbs. When they learn other sources of carbs, specifically whole wheat pasta and bread, the carb=unhealthy connection remains.

    Yes, carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. What is energy measured in? Calories! And thanks for the very nice people in the media, we all know that calories are these little monsters that sneak into your belly and give you obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and athersclerosis.

    Would you like to be called doughy? Probably not, and think of what dough consists of carbs. People might fear that if they eat carbs, they’ll become doughy.

    When we cut out carbs, we lose weight exponentially, and it has been funneled into our heads that the more weight you lose the better. Even if you look like a 2 month old sapling. Carbs are getting in the way of getting that sexy anorexic figure!

    Go to any chinese restaurant, you’ll get a bin bigger than your head half full of white rice. Go to olive garden: unlimited breadsticks, a mixing bowl full of spaghetti. People consider these portions one serving. In reality they can be 4+ servings. People blame it’s the carbs but if they’d moderate the amount they’d eat (1/2 c of cooked grains, 1/8 of a 9 in cake) they’d find the fat not stick to them.

    Carbs are either simple carbs or complex carbs. Simple carbs are used for energy upon digestion. Complex carbs consist of simple carbs bonded together. By digesting these complex carbs, the body breaks the bonds and converts them into simple carbs. A simple carb is sugar. And we all know that sugar is bad. (Fruit isn’t bad because it has fiber and vitamins).

    Protein builds muscle, which carbs aren’t famous for, so they probably just turn into fat.

    But carbs are only bad if they’re overconsumed and refined: oh wait, that’s all foods

  76. Anonymous says

    Carbs aren’t bad, grains are. Fruits, veggies, soaked beans and nuts are awesome. Grains contain phytates which blocks the absorption of minerals. They also contain lectins, and some contain gluten, which is also bad for you. Also, carbs aren’t actually necessary, you can live off of fat and protein just fine.Traditional Inuit peoples did it. For a more detailed explanation on why grains are bad:
    Enjoy your veggies, but don’t dismiss all anti-grain diet ideas.

    • trajayjay says

      If you believed everything you heard about the healthiness/unhealthiness of food, you’d just be eating spinach,, egg whites, and water.

  77. trajayjay says

    I find it interesting that you pointed out that this society deems any weight loss a good thing. So when they find out that you can lose weight fast on a low-carb diet, they assume they’re healthy. Well, you could also get leukemia and lose weight, but does that mean you’re healthy, NO. I’d honestly rather get all my nutrients than lose weight, but our society is so weightloss-centric

  78. trajayjay says

    I also find it weird that people only point out pasta or bread for being high in carbs. It’s like if you said the word carbs, only pasta would come to mind, not oats, or quinoa, or beans, or fruit. It’s as if pasta was the only food that had any real carbs.

  79. Laura says

    I’m so glad I found this article. Several years ago (10 or so) I tried Atkins and I was miserable the entire time, low energy, no weight-loss. Now, my paleo naturopath has put me on a grain-free diet. I eat a mostly vegan diet now, so all I’ve been eating for weeks is lots of fruit & veg (which is good) and beans and nuts.. I’ve GAINED 5 lbs (and I’m already overweight), and like before, I feel like CRAP and I have NO energy. The only good thing I’ve gotten from all this is how to incorporate more veg/fruit into my diet, which I will continue to do.. but bring on the quinoa, oats, rice, and spelt!

  80. Sophia S. says

    Wow..if carbs made people fat then don’t you think China would be the fattest nation in the world? I also grew up in China and for school lunch everyone’s lunchboxes were at least 2/3 filled with rice. Only those who could afford dairy and meat products were on the chubby side.

  81. Kay says

    I realize that for some people, carbohydrates do not pose a problem, and I’ve heard that runners and other athletes need more carbs for their bodies to function optimally. However, there have been scientific studies that show that carbs, not fat, are the thing to minimize in order to lose or maintain weight, as well as to prevent diabetes and other health problems. As much as I enjoy looking at your blog (I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet because we don’t have some of the ingredients, and I’m a bit lazy), it is a major pet peeve of mine when people defend carbs as an essential nutrient. They are good for athletes and growing children, and you are right about choosing whole grains over refined stuff. However, the majority of carb intake for anyone who wants to lose weight, as well as for many people who simply want to maintain their weight and be healthy, should come from vegetables (which are rich in fiber) and some fruit (not bananas, which is sad considering it would make going low-carb a lot easier if I could eat bananas) rather than whole-grain bread or pasta. Anyway, my point is that you don’t have to eat all meat (as in the Atkins diet) and there’s nothing wrong with being a vegetarian or vegan, but carbs are not all that good for you. And let me reiterate that by carbs I do not mean complex carbohydrates such as those found in broccoli and carrots, but I do mean the ones in bread, pasta and potatoes. It’s totally counter-intuitive, but many people would be better off eating stir-fried veggies, or an apple with peanut butter, or even bacon and eggs (for the omnivores out there) for breakfast, rather than oatmeal or granola. When I say “many people” I am NOT pointing at you specifically, as you seem to be staying healthy eating carbs, as some people can.
    Okay, I’m done. I do not mean any of this in an offensive way. I am simply interested in health and nutrition, as it is obvious that you are, and I like to share my knowledge with those who might be interested. Thank you. And I’m hoping to try some of your desserts sometime…I do love chocolate and I am not against desserts in moderation 🙂

    • Kay says

      P.S. In case I wasn’t clear, I am not only talking about weight when I talk about health. One can be at a healthy weight and be prediabetic or even diabetic (not saying you are, but just clarifying what I meant by “health”). I guess I’m just saying be careful with carbs, that’s all. Nothing to see as big, bad, and scary, but rather another reason to pile your plate high with veggies and peanut butter (okay, maybe not on the same plate). And of course, plain ol’ bakers’ chocolate (I think you mentioned in another post that you like it)…yum!

      • Gina says

        You are correct.

        I was steadily gaining weight when I was cooking the “CKK way”; I would consider it insidious weight gain, because I am an incredibly active individual (hot yoga, ashtanga, HIIT, and weight lifting every week) that could not keep the weight-gain at bay unless I maintained highly-consistent activity levels.

        I also experienced incredible shifts in mood/energy with a disastrous mid-day crash and early-evening coma-like energy depletion.

        My GERD also came back with a vengeance (due to Katie’s proclivity to put legumes in her desserts) and I could not unravel the mystery until I worked backwards and analyzed my food intake in the MyFitnessPal app.

        With CCK’s desserts (all very high carb per serving) I realized my daily caloric intake was about 45 – 60% carbohydrates; and my fats took a nose-dive, and my protein was sub-par.

        At 5’4, I went from 112 – 117 lbs in about 3 weeks with Katie’s carb-laden treats. No one’s fault but my own, I realize; but I, too, was seduced by the promise of ‘healthy’ desserts, completely disregarding the carb content.

        Now, that I restrict my carbohydrates to less than 100g per day (which severely limits the recipes I can play with on this website) I realized just how carb-intensive her recipes are; some of her SINGLE-SERVING desserts smash through the DAILY QUOTA of my carbohydrate allotment. No wonder I was gaining weight!

        Now I am incredibly discriminating with which recipes I make here. I love the chocolate ones, and a few that eschew high carb counts. By doing this not only have I lost the insidious weight gain, but I’ve normalized my leptin/ghrelin and energy levels, and no longer suffer the mid-day or post-day crash.

        And my GERD cleared up.

        So, needless to say I’d be overjoyed if she made a low-carb index for recipes (;

  82. Anonymous says

    I just found myself looking through all this comments…
    Yup, I guess I’m the one who is a little scared of carbs. But to be honest, when nobody knows who I am, I can tell you I’m scared of a lot of things – and is diagnosed right now with an eating disorder. And I’m totally confused know, because IS carbs good or not? Can we all agree on, that you need to be careful with carbs, but not avoid them totally?
    Just asking:)

  83. Kaela says

    Just to be devils advocate here, I have been low carbing for a few weeks. I have failed miserably on every diet and/or lifestyle change I have ever tried to do. Low carbing is the only thing I have stuck to, that I was able to stick to, that makes me feel great and have lots of energy. I DO eat carbs… I just dont get them from refined flour pasta. I get them from veggies and healthy ‘from the earth’ foods.
    I am not a celebrity, and I dont have a personal trainer either 😉 In fact, the only ‘working out’ I do is walking with my friend, for about an hour, 3 times a week.
    I have lost 15 pounds in a short amount of time, and have ever felt better!
    Google ‘ketogenic diet’ for anyone who is interested. Doctors put patients on it all the time.

  84. Kathy says

    As a lifelong carbivore who loves the rawest, darkest, most ancient grains available along with chocolate in the 80-100% range, I was flabbergasted when I got my blood test results two years ago: prediabetic. Really? I’ve never had sugar highs or lows; my energy level is very steady; I’m never hungry. I can’t blame genetics (no one in my family is diabetic), my weight (130 at 5’6” at the time), or a sedentary lifestyle (I dance, work out, and/or speed-walk 2 miles daily). My doctor said it was age (mid-50s) and/or diet and said to go low-carb. I immediately started retooling my diet, and the weight just fell off. I continue to eat 1200 calories a day and have the same exercise regimen; I just changed what I was eating. My energy level is just as high as ever, but I’m 15 pounds lighter, and my blood pressure and cholesterol are much lower.

    I miss all the bread and pasta I used to live on. I now compromise with one grain item and about 2 ounces of high-quality dark chocolate per day. Please know that some of us haven’t just drunk the low-carb Kool-aid—it’s a medical necessity. Low-carb chocolate recipes are especially appreciated!

  85. Lauren says

    Carbs are not evil BUT most Americans eat entirely too many!! 100 carbs a day is plenty enough to fuel the body, but most ppl eat way more and ppl who don’t food journal have no idea how many they are eating.

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