Do Carbs Make You Gain Weight?

the truth and myths behind eating carbs

With just the scroll of your finger, you can access endless streams of content specific to health, nutrition, diet, and exercise. Think about it…your pointer finger can unlock the answers to just about anything:

Most effective diet for fat loss….
Exercises during pregnancy…
How to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks….
How to track macros…

We’re all guilty of reading news articles, social media posts + blogs that immediately influence our behaviors – from how we think and feel to what we eat and drink (or don’t). Smack dab at the top of the list….the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to CARBS!

Oh, hell naw CARBS??!! I’m going Keto!

A quick Google search on carbs and there you are – the Tasmanian devil doing a kitchen makeover to rid the house of every carb sight. Because everything you read makes you feel like it’s wrong to eat carbs. Your brain is programmed to think carbs are bad.

Nod your head if you’ve ever read, thought or been told the following:

“Carbs make you fat.”

“Need a diet that works? Try low-carb. I lost like 10 pounds in 2 weeks!”

“I’ve gained so much weight – that’s it! No more carbs!”

[Timeout]: If you haven’t (yet) paused to consider the source of who you’re following – their actual level of knowledge, training, expertise + education – you may be misguided or worse yet, led to believe something that actually isn’t true (gulp).

Why does that matter?

Like we said, what you think and feel impacts the decisions you make when it comes to what you eat and what you don’t eat. If you’re serious about losing weight, getting stronger or just want to feel healthier, isn’t it important you make decisions based on undisputable facts versus opinions? YAAAAS…now we’ve got your attention!

Sometime during your life, you were told carbs are bad – they make you fat. Whoever told you this, call immediately once you’ve finished reading this blog and tell them the….



These truths will empower you to make better decisions about what’s best for you, your body and your goals. With this knowledge, you will become an even more educated consumer, skilled to differentiate between truths + myths during your next social media scroll session:

Truth #1: Carbs don’t make you fat.

The biggest misconception of all time is the belief carbs make you fat.

Spoiler Alert: Carbs don’t make you fat. Carbs don’t make you gain weight. Gaining weight is the direct result of eating too many calories, not by eating carbs. The truth of it all is this – you need carbs. Especially when you train hard like you do with us at RF.

Yes, your body literally needs carbohydrates to properly function. Carbohydrates are a vital energy source for your body, they fuel your muscles, and play an important role in brain function related to mood, memory, and more. Ever been hangry on your low carb diet? Eat some damn carbs, Karen!

Depriving your body of these sugars (gasp, sugars?! More on this below) can lead to unpleasant side effects. Think about it -if you’ve ever eliminated carbs from your diet, you’ve probably experienced extreme fatigue, sluggishness, lack of energy and the aforementioned hangry.

Now, if you, your sister, co-worker, friend or mom have ever done a variation of a low-carb / no-carb diet and lost weight, we’re not calling your bluff. But it wasn’t because you didn’t eat carbs. By removing foods you normally eat, you’re eating less. By eating less, you consume less calories. When you consume less calories than you burn, you lose weight.

Bottom Line: Any elimination diet equates into eating less. And in order to lose weight, you need to consume less calories. You can still achieve weight loss by eating SMART carbs and as we mentioned, your body actually needs these foods.

Commonly, carbs are the first to get cut during diets.  WHY?  Because they’re easily consumed in excess, and we tend to eat the wrong kinds (more on this below). If you’re eating the right types of carbs and the appropriate portion of these foods, you’re giving your body the proper nourishment + fuel it needs.   This means you can eat CARBS and still lose weight, get stronger and have more total body tone + definition.

The goal with any sort of diet or nutrition plan is to find something that you can do forever. A plan that fits into your lifestyle, schedule and goals without restricting certain foods. If you can’t imagine yourself doing this one year from now, it’s probably not a good fit.

Truth #2: Not All Carbs Are Created Equal.

The best carbohydrates to consume are those high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, potatoes, squash, beans, and whole intact grains. These carbs, better known as smart carbs, provide your body with value – a high level of nutrients and fiber – which is pretty damn important if you are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Smart carbs are the kinds of carbs you should be eating, in the right portion sizes, with your meals. These are the carbs that will have a positive impact on the way you feel, your performance when exercising and your level of daily energy.

Let’s get one thing out of the way real quick. Carbs are sugars. Sugars are carbs. “But isn’t sugar literally the devil incarnate?”

No, sugar is simply a building block of food. It is what we call all the different forms of carbs, much like we do with Amino Acids and Protein. The sugar that’s found in fruits, once in your body, is broken down into the exact same sugar found in, say, a Reese’s Cup. It is what happens during the eating and breakdown process that makes them so different.

Ultra-processed foods like cookies, cereal, and ice cream are full of sugar (carbs) without any of the benefits that Smart Carbs have – fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients – and most importantly, I have never seen someone binge on oranges like I have binged on ice cream.

Carbs To Crave: Fruit (any and all), Veggies, White and Sweet Potatoes, Quinoa, Black Beans, Chick Peas, Butternut Squash, Steel Cut Oats, Sprouted Grains, etc.

Comparatively, the “other” carbs or refined carbs are those that might taste fantastic but have been stripped of fiber and nutrients thus have nothing to offer in terms of value to your body. These are going to taste and go down the gullet better, yes, and that is exactly why we should moderate their intake.

Carbs to Consume in Moderation: These are foods like pasta, white breads, cereals, flavored yogurt, chips, candy, most protein/energy bars, etc. These bad boys should be enjoyed in moderation.

Here is a delightful infographic courtesy of Precision Nutrition.  Each graphic illustrates a proportionate way to build your plates for both men + women.  Notice each plate contains a lean protein, healthy fat, SMART carb and veggies – yeah baby!  Your goal is to make each meal match these portion guides.  As always, choose foods you genuinely enjoy versus trying to stuff raw kale down your throat.





Need a quick way to determine if a carb is one of the better ones? Ask yourself, would it be easy to binge this food on the couch at 2am while watching Netflix? There is your answer.

In a world where you can immediately find what you’re looking for, let’s stop and smell the roses before giving credence to the latest social media influencer and get back to the basics about the safest, healthiest and most effective way to achieve the way you want to look + feel.

It’s important to remember we all live in the real world and whatever it is we aim to achieve – weight loss, getting stronger, building more definition, losing that belly – takes time, patience, consistency and valiant effort.  Your goal is to make better decisions – not be perfect – when it comes to what you eat.  Can you still enjoy ice cream and potato chips? Yes! But majority of the time, opt for the SMART CARB so you can perform at your best when exercising, lose weight, build tone + definition , have more energy, and get stronger!





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