A High Carb Diet Does Not Make You Fat

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Another Study affirmed that a Low-Fat High-Carb diet does not cause Weight Gain

Researchers found women following a diet low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables and grains actually lost weight, not gained weight. Published in the Journal of American Medical Association in January 2006, the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial followed close to 50,000 post-menopausal women for more than 7 years. Results showed that, in the first year, the women trained to eat a healthy low-fat diet lost about 5 pounds. After 7 1/2 years, they still maintained a modest weight loss compared to the women who did not receive education on healthy eating.

Editor’s Note – Finally: hooray for a low-fat high-carb diet!

Many diet books blamed high-carb diets as the reason for the obesity epidemics. Healthcare professionals, for years, have been explaining to the public that it’s not the carbs – it’s actually the total calories that contributes to weight gain. This long-term randomized trial with a large population is a perfect study to prove these diet books wrong. Indeed, it is important to note about this study – these women actually lost weight despite the fact that they were not intending to lose weight at all. Weight loss results would be even more dramatic if they were trying to do so. As the author Dr. Howard noted, the results of this study demonstrated that “long-term recommendations to achieve a diet lower in total and saturated fat with increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and without focus on weight loss, do not cause weight gain.”

Carb 101

Carbohydrates are found in fruits and vegetables. Emphasize on choosing a variety of fruits and dark green leafy as well as bright-colored vegetables which are loaded with antioxidants and fiber. In addition, carbohydrates are also found in grain products. The American Dietary Guidelines recommend eating at least half the grains as whole grains – that’s at least 3 servings of whole grains a day. For more information about whole grains, refer to our Whole Grains Guide.

To Cut Fat In Your Diet

  • remove skin and visible fats from meats
  • choose leaner cuts of meat such as skinless breast from poultry. For beef, choose eye of round, top round roast, top sirloin and flank; for pork, choose tenderloin and loin chops.
  • occasionally substitute meat products with fish and seafood (high in omega-3 fatty acids), soy products (high in heart-friendly soy protein) and nuts (high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber)
  • use lower-fat versions if available of salad dressings, spreads, dairy products and cooking sauces etc


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