UVa Professor Says Carbs Are Not the Enemy

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

October 2, 2007

“Americans have been getting fatter,” said Glenn Gaesser, UVa Professor of Exercise Physiology, “since about 1980 the average weight of the average American has been getting heavier and heavier, this true at every age group.”

Gaesser added it’s not the carbs your eating that's expanding your waist line, but the increased number of calories.

Zone diet, Atkins, and South Beach are popular diets telling you to put down the carbs and pick up the protein.

These weight loss plans swept the nation several years ago, selling how-to-books, cook books, and pre-made meals.

Gaesser said you can throw all of that away and eat that cookie you've been dying to try. “I think there is a place for all types of food, it's a matter of balance and proportion.”

In an article in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association Gaesser weighs in on the results of a number of recent studies.

“Most studies indicate that people who consume a lot of carbohydrates generally are thinner than those who do not,” said Gaesser.

Meaning, the idea that carbs are fattening is not scientifically supported by these studies.

Gaesser said it all comes down to the calories and portion size and registered dietitians agree.

If you choose a donut one day for breakfast, it's not going to kill you, it's not going to lead to obesity. If a higher percentage of choices are bad choices then it will lead to obesity,” said Catherine Boucher, Registered Dietitian.

If you want to keep the weight off Gaessers said try a low fat diet not low carb.

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