Nutritionist says carbs as a weight-gain culprit is a myth

Dr. Atkins and the South Beach Diet may be taking the carbohydrate craze a little too far.

“Half the people who participate in these diets end up dropping out,” said Sean Talbott, nutritionist at the U College of Health. “Each person needs a specific diet that is perfect for them.”

Most people who begin these diets do not realize that it’s the caloric intake that results in weight loss, not the carbs, according to Talbott.

“Cutting the carbs is a big myth,” Talbott said. “But you should limit your refined carb intake.”

Sticking to the phrase “if you eat white and fluffy, then you’ll look fluffy,” is a good way to differentiate the good carbs and the bad carbs.

Eating refined carbs such as white bread, pasta, pastries, and cereal can keep on the pounds, according to Talbott.

These white and fluffy carbs remove all of the healthy nutrients like whole grain, fiber and protein.

“You might as well eat cotton candy instead of a piece of white bread,” Talbott said.

Whole-grain carbs, fruits and vegetables are vital nutrients needed in order to stay healthy.

“Having a low intake of good carbs such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains will take away essential nutrients and antioxidants that fight cancer and heart disease,” Talbott said.

The carb craze resembles the low-fat craze that happened about 15 years ago.

“History repeats itself,” Talbott said. “Every company would make the low-fat version of their product, and people felt they could eat larger portions of it. The obesity rate has increased since then.”

The obesity rate in America has increased 57 percent since 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five people in the United States is obese.

“Our biggest fear is that the same thing is going to happen that occurred 15 years ago,” Talbott said.

In order to lose weight in a healthy way, Talbott recommends going to a nutrition clinic.

Based on data collected from a person’s body-fat level, metabolic rate and cholesterol, clinics can determine what diet best fits.

“My recommendation for students would be to drink less soda and eat more fruit and vegetables,” Talbott said. “Drink diet soda instead of sugary soda.”

Aspartame, a sugar substitute common in diet drinks and food, has had a rumor for causing cancer.

Talbott said that eating or drinking aspartame is better for you than eating the sugar, and won’t cause cancer.

“[Eating aspartame] is a lot less of a problem,” he said.

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