Is cutting carbs really the answer?

Plus: Recipes to enjoy your carbs and feel your best.

Tuesday. Michigan beat Washington to claim the college football national title last night. I only know this because I checked the score this morning. It takes an entirely different level of commitment to stay up late to watch a sports-ball game on a weeknight. How people do it is something I just don’t understand. I also don’t understand how people cut carbs from their diet. Is that even the best thing to do for optimal health? Let’s dive in.


Do You Need To Cut Carbs?  

Hungry Loaf Of Bread GIF by F*CK, THAT'S DELICIOUS

Here is another common trend that starts making the rounds this time of year: cutting carbs, low-carb this, low-carb that.

But is that really the best way? Do you need to obsess over carbs to improve your eating habits this year? 

Not necessarily. 

All carbs are not the enemy. Sure, many of us unknowingly consume a lot of ultra-processed foods like sugary cereals and white bread, which are often high in empty calories—calories that lack essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, not all carbs are detrimental to your health. Though sometimes high in carbs and calories, foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are packed with beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, B vitamins, and more.

Some experts go on to point out that while low-carb or keto diets might seem like a quick fix for weight loss, they’re not always sustainable or suitable for everyone. To be clear—keto might work for you, and if it does, great! 

However, these diets can also lead to missing out on crucial nutrients found in carb-heavy foods. Essential vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants are abundant in many carbohydrate-rich foods, supporting everything from metabolism and digestion to immune health.

Carbohydrates are also crucial for brain health, as they are the preferred energy source for the brain. Low-carb diets might initially lead to brain fog or mood swings due to the sudden loss of the body’s primary fuel source. 

When it comes to muscle building, carbohydrates also play a vital role alongside protein. Glycogen, a carbohydrate storage form, is essential for quick energy boosts during high-intensity activities like weightlifting. Post-exercise, carbohydrates aid in quicker muscle repair and replenish glycogen stores, emphasizing the importance of carbs if you are active and interested in building and maintaining lean muscle mass. 

Additionally, a study published in The Lancet also emphasizes the health benefits of a fiber-rich diet, which usually comes from carbs. Those who consume fiber-rich diets—around 25 to 30 grams per day—significantly reduce their risk of diseases like diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease. 

To increase fiber intake, you’ll want to incorporate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oats into your diet. Fiber supplements can also be a viable option for those who find it challenging to consume enough fiber-rich foods, although whole-food options are always preferred. 

Not only does a high-fiber diet contribute to better health, but it also supports weight loss. Fiber-rich foods are more filling, reducing cravings and the likelihood of overeating. 

The key takeaway? Remember, the most effective diet is the one you can sustain over the long term. Before you cut out carbs, consider factors like affordability, stress, and personal food preferences when choosing your diet plan. When making changes to your diet, the goal isn’t to blindly follow a trend but to find a balanced, enjoyable eating plan that suits your lifestyle and nutritional needs.

If that means using high-quality carb sources to fuel your workouts, build muscle, and feel your best, then great. Remember—carbs aren’t the enemy, but processed foods are. 

Tonic Shots

1. I Mean Who Doesn’t Love Noodles?

These sesame noodles are a great way to get some carbs alongside some protein and veggies so that your blood sugar doesn’t spike and you still get some fiber. Enjoy!

2. Gluten-Free Granola For The Win

This recipe is a must-try and so much better than anything you can buy at the store. Enjoy!

3. So Much Fiber, So Much Protein, So Much Flavor

Acorn squash is packed with fiber. Add some turkey and you have it all! Enjoy!

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