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When you are starting out on a keto diet, or even considering going on the keto diet, you may be wondering “Do You Need Carbs?” After all, many people will critique this diet because they believe you do. “Isn’t that diet unhealthy?” they will protest. They assume you need carbs to be healthy. But Do You Need Carbs? That’s the question we want to explore in this brief article today.

Do You Need Carbs: The Standard American Diet (SAD) Myth

The Standard American Diet (SAD) can be considered the model by which most people measure healthy eating. Think of the food pyramid you looked at in school. If you asked the teacher “Do You Need Carbs?” that teacher would say, “Of course! Just look at the bottom of the pyramid!” But with keto diet enthusiasts in the house, this standard belief is being challenged. After all, there is just as much a political as much as health agenda to federal nutrition standards. Maybe even more so. After all, this isn’t a healthy country. So our traditional diet wisdom may be failing us on a fundamental level anyway.

Do You Need Carbs: Changing Minds About This Macronutrient

If you were to ask people Do You Need Carbs, they would probably say yes. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 45 to up to 65 percent of your calories should come from this macronutrient. So America eats a LOT of carbs. And not all carbs are made equally either. But it is apparent that most Americans want carbs, even if they don’t need them. So it’s understandable why the question “Do You Need Carbs?” is mocked and met with reactions like “I can’t believe you would even asked such a preposterous question!” But it’s not that crazy. Because the truth is that you can survive without carbs. But it’s difficult to changes people’s minds on this subject. Since most people can’t even imagine a life without carbs on the centerfold of their “What-Are-We-Having-For-Dinner-Tonight” magazine.

Do You Need Carbs: The Main Problem

So we know that Americans love carbs. But we don’t need them. What’s the main problem then, besides just the myth? Well, when you eat carbs, your body breaks them down and converts it into glucose. When glucose goes into your bloodstream, it works to regulate red blood cells, bodily functions, and brain activity. Important stuff! But even though blood glucose is important, carbs don’t have to be. Since you can get blood glucose from a process called gluconeogenesis instead of through carbohydrate breakdown. Gluconeogenesis involves non-carb compounds that are converted into glucose anyway.

Do You Need Carbs: The Keto Approach

When you go on a keto diet, Do You Need Carbs? Not really! Keto dieters tend to eat only 5-10% of carbs as part of their whole diet. They rely on Gluconeogenesis that occurs when chemicals called ketones burn fat for energy instead of carbs. However, it’s not smart to cut out carbs altogether. You still need trace amounts at the bare minimum. So for keto dieters this would mean complex carbs you find in fruits and veggies mostly. People who go keto will make the mistake of eating mostly fat and protein and skimping in the plants. But losing out on the complex carbs in plants can lead to deficiencies in vitamins, nutrients, and fiber that can result in constipation and other bodily inefficiencies and discomforts. This is where the macros vs the micros count.

Do You Need Carbs: Not All Carbs Are Made Equally  

It’s true that we don’t need carbs. But if you want to eat them, it’s more important to understand the differences between different kinds of carbs. Because there are some carbs that we don’t even have to ask about whether or not you should eat them. Do You Need Carbs that are refined and simple sugars? If you still think you need carbs, you should at least ditch these unhealthy ones. If you think you can’t live without carbs, opt for complex carbs over simple ones.

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