Debunking Myths About Carbs and Weight Gain

This post is sponsored by Potatoes USA-Philippines. All opinions are mine.

Myth 1: You gain weight when you eat carbs

Fact 1:

When you exercise and eat adequate carbohydrates, you may experience weight gain due to glycogen being stored (along with water) into your muscles, liver, and brain [1].

Glycogen is not bad – it serves as stored fuel that your body can use when needed such as
during endurance exercises.

Fact 2:

Energy intake that exceeds energy expenditure (energy surplus) is the main driver of weight gain [2].

Carbohydrates, along with protein and fat, are energy-giving nutrients, aka “macros” (short for macronutrients).

It is the total energy or calorie surplus that causes weight gain, not just carbohydrate intake. Therefore, any excess in calories, be it from carbohydrates, protein, or fat, or a combination of the three, can cause weight gain.

Therefore, when you gain weight:

  1. You may be gaining glycogen and not necessarily fat.
  2. It may not be just because of carbohydrates alone but because of your energy or calorie intake from protein and fat as well.

Studies show that people who eat adequate good-quality carbohydrates tend to be in better shape [3] than those who are on low-carbohydrate diets [4].

Good quality carbohydrates contain other important nutrients and fiber, such as:

  • Whole grain cereals – brown/red rice, rolled oats, corn
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Root crops and tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, ube, and gabi.

1 medium-size potato (148 grams) provides about 110 calories and contains about 26 grams of complex carbohydrates with 2 grams of fiber. It also contains essential nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C, plus 3 grams of protein. On its own, it contains zero fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

This shows that not all carbohydrates are equal. When you are trying to manage your weight, go for carbohydrates-rich foods that are both nutritious and satisfying.


  • You don’t need to give up carbs to lose weight
  • You need adequate carbs especially if you are physically active
  • Eating high-fiber carbohydrate-rich foods can help you lose weight and keep the weight off.


[1] Murray & Rosenbloom (2018). Fundamentals of glycogen metabolism for coaches and athletes.

[2] Romieu et al (2017). Energy balance and obesity: what are the main drivers?

[3] Dam & Seidell (2007). Carbohydrate intake and obesity.

[4] Merchant et al (2009). Carbohydrate Intake and Overweight and Obesity among Healthy Adults.

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