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The age-old carbs versus fats debate that has divided the nutritional community has finally been put to rest in this exclusive video from PBN.
Do carbs really make us fat? A number of world-renowned plant-based doctors have shared their thoughts on carbohydrates – and their answers might surprise you.
Mainstream media has demonized carbs, and glorified protein and fats. But what is the truth?
Here’s how top nutrition experts answered the question.
1. It’s not potatoes and carbs – it’s what you do with them
“I’ve got diabetics get off of their chair and hug me when I tell them they can eat potatoes,” Dr. Pamela Popper, PhD, told Plant Based News.
But she argues it’s not the potatoes that make us fat; it’s the butter we cover the potatoes with, and the oil we fry them in.
“People think pizza is a carb food,” added Dr. Martica Heaner, PhD.
“But, in fact, there’s more fat than carbs in a pizza – same with french fries.” She explains further, saying that eating processed, high-fat carbohydrate food will make you fat.
2. The fat we eat is the fat we wear
“I think fat makes people fat,” said Dr. Stephen Neabore. He goes on to say that: “Carbohydrates are used for energy right away, fat is our storage for energy.”
According to him, the more fat people eat, the more fat they store for future use – which naturally, is what makes them fat.
3. Low-carb diets put you at risk of colon cancer
Eliminating carbohydrates from your diet means eliminating the fiber, which puts you at risk of colon cancer, argued FFL Instructor Lisa Karlan.
She adds: “That’s not how our bodies are meant to function. We need the carbohydrates.
“What we don’t need – is the fat.”
Karlan argues that diabetics should eat carbs: whole intact grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are the fundamental components of a whole food plant-based diet.
4. People should increase their carbohydrate intake
“I went from eating 100 grams of carbohydrates per day to 900 grams,” said Cyrus Khambatta, PhD.
“There’s never a question of ‘Am I gonna get fat as a result?’, because the molecular biology just does not add up,” he added.
In his coaching program, Dr. Khambatta teaches people to eat more carbs, which prompts them to lose weight, feel better, and improve their health.
5. ‘Two billion Chinese people never got the message’
Dr. Pamela Popper has argued that the Okinawan diet is focused on sweet potatoes and rice – contrary to what people thought was a fish-based diet.
Elderly Okinawans have among the lowest mortality rates in the world; they also have the world’s longest life expectancy, as well as the world’s longest health expectancy.
“Not only do carbohydrates not make us fat, starch doesn’t make us fat,” she says.
6. Complex carbs will make you lose weight
Simple carbs, such as white flour, cookies, and cakes are ‘not your dietary friend’, clarified Dr. Robert Ostfeld.
However, truly complex carbs – like vegetables, fruits, whole grain bread, beans, lentils, chickpeas – they do not make you fat, according to him.
“The overwhelming majority of patients in my clinic who adopt a whole food plant-based diet lose weight and get better,” argued Dr. Ostfeld.
7. Ancient civilizations thrived on a carbohydrate-based diet
Dr. Anthony Lim quoted Dr. McDougall, saying that across time, ancient civilizations have thrived on carbs.
“Whether it’s rice in Asia, corn and beans in South America, or the barley for Roman gladiators – they thrived on a starch-based, carb-based diet,” he told PBN.
Dr. Lim also points out that back then, you wouldn’t be able to find a single overweight person in any of these areas.
8. At least 80 percent of your calories should come from complex carbohydrates
Chef AJ explains that “We need glucose. Our brain runs on glucose.”
Carbohydrates make you thin, she says, but people mistakenly lump carbs all together. It’s the simple carbs that will make people put on weight.
“People keep gravitating towards these crazy low-carb, ketogenic, paleo diets that are unsatisfying, and unsustainable for both health and the planet. Yes, they will lose weight temporarily, but they are also making themselves sick in the process,” added Chef AJ.
9. Falling into a media trap
“If you really think carbs are making us fat, you’re really not paying attention,” said Dr. Susan Levin.
She goes on to say: “People who think carbohydrates make us fat are unfortunately falling into a trap of believing what some media outlets will tell you.”
Dr. Levin explained that it’s meat, dairy, and eggs that will make people grow bigger.
10. Fats, sugar, and processed foods make us fat
Dr. Lim believes high-fat foods, sugar, and processed foods as the culprits for making people fat.
“What makes us fat is eating foods that fool our brains. And whole plant foods tend not to do that,” concurs Dr. Alan Goldhammer.
The best strategy is to adopt a whole food plant-based diet that is free of sugar, oil, and salt, he argued.
“If you think it’s carbohydrates, you need to look at your produce aisle one more time,” added Dr. Levin.