Low carb diets have come in and out of fashion and along the way have given carbohydrates a bad reputation – eating carbs makes you fat.

We have all grown up thinking donuts, cake, candy, and ice cream are treats we love but make us fat. These foods are all carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are also apples, oranges, green beans, and pistachio nuts. If you demonize carbohydrates, you are including a lot of essential foods in your diet.

A healthy diet must include carbohydrates. Carbs provide energy for the body. They power your heart and brain. They fuel anaerobic activity like weightlifting. Carbs help with energy recovery by replenishing carbohydrate stores. Trying to eat low carbs or zero carbs will lower your overall energy and health. If you do not get enough carbohydrates the level of sugar in your blood drops below a healthy range and you may get hypoglycemia. Its symptoms are hunger, dizziness, shakiness, confusion, and weakness. Eventually your body will start burning muscle for energy. Your body will not let you go exceptionally long with no carbohydrates.

Zero carbs or very low carb diets are not sustainable. It is better to deal with facts. Eating carbohydrates does not make you fat. Eating too many calories makes you fat. If you consume more calories than your body can burn the excess is stored as fat. It does not matter if you are overconsuming carb calories, fat calories or protein calories. Too many calories create weight gain.

Remember the saying, “Everything in moderation.” Carbohydrates need to be eaten in moderation. Especially the carbohydrates made primarily with processed sugar. Processed sugar foods have little nutritional value. A large banana has 120 calories and is high in potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, and Fiber. Candy and sweets are empty calories with little to no nutritional value. You get the same amount of energy from a banana or a candy bar though. Your body does not care about what kind of energy it is. It all gets broken down and put somewhere.

Everything in moderation means eating the right type and amount of carbohydrates 80% to 90% of the time. For a daily diet of 2,000 calories per day, between 225 and 325 grams is recommended. Eating 100 to 150 grams per day is very low. Eating 400 to 500 grams per day is very high. Figure out the right range of carbohydrates for you to lose weight, maintain or gain weight depending on your needs. Do not remove carbohydrates from your diet. Eat them in a moderate range. Limit your carbs coming from processed sugar and eat more healthy fruits and vegetables.

Including rice in your diet is not going to make you fat. One cup of cooked white rice contains nearly 200 calories with 41 grams of carbohydrate. This is not going to make you fat. What increases fat is eating 3,000 calories when your body requires 2,500 calories.