Once everyone’s fat fears simmered down, carbohydrates became the new pariah. The low-carb Atkins diet swept the nation in the ’00s, and men who’d long struggled with their weight were suddenly dropping pants sizes by ditching pasta, potatoes, bread, and beer. At restaurants, they’d order a double bacon-cheeseburger, hold the bun, no fries, with a side salad with extra bleu cheese dressing.
Even though legions of people lost weight on Atkins, many gained it right back. Because their bodies were so carb-starved, they’d fall of the wagon. But regardless of pounds lost or gained, most people’s lax interpretation of the diet left them tragically nutrient deprived. “One really good thing to come out of the Atkins craze was is got people away from eating white bread, pasta, cookies, and other refined carbohydrates,” says Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian in New York City. “The negative part is that many people went too extreme with avoiding carbs and even took beans, fruits, and vegetables out of their diets.”
Here’s a much better carb strategy: “You should get one-third of your calories from fat, one-third from protein, and one-third from carbohydrates,” Glassman says. “People usually end up getting a little more of their calories from carbs—and that’s actually okay, so long as the carbs come from the right places, such as whole grains, beans, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.”
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