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Is a high carbohydrate, low fat diet healthy?

Elizabeth Casparro, MPH,RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

A high carbohydrate, low fat diet can be healthy. It depends on the types of carbohydrates and fats in the diet. For carbohydrates, there are two main types: simple (sugar, honey, candies, etc.) and complex (fruits, vegetables, etc.). There are also some complex carbohydrates that are better than others because of more fiber such as 100% whole wheat bread versus refined white bread. For fats, there are three main types: saturated (more in animal products), unsaturated (more in vegetable products), and trans fat (more in processed foods). Unsaturated fats are better for overall heart health.

This style of eating without caloric restriction may be healthy for some individuals who can tolerate high amounts of carbohydrates in their diets. As with any nutritious diet, the carbohydrates should come primarily from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Often, however, people attempt to replace fats with highly refined, sugar-containing foods. Instead of eating two eggs, greens, and whole-wheat toast with butter for breakfast, we might go for a white flour bagel with jam. The bagel breakfast may be lower in calories and provide for quick energy, but it lacks the nutrient value and sustaining power of the egg breakfast.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.