Good carbs, bad carbs

Eating bread, potatoes and pasta will pile on the pounds, right? Forget what you've heard—our bodies need carbs. Here's how to enjoy them without adding extra inches.

The bottom line

Dropping carbs from your diet won’t drop the pounds from your body for good. But you can learn valuable lessons from the low-carb diets. Rhea Akler did. Two years ago, Akler, 35, and her husband gave the Protein Power diet a try. She lost a few pounds, but now that she’s pregnant and off the diet, she’s gained them all back. The experience taught her some important lessons about her body and nutrition, though. While she used to be weak around bread, pasta and especially potato chips, she now focuses her meals on lean meats and heaps of vegetables. “The original diet started as no-carb but eventually I took it to low-carb. Now, low-carb is a lifestyle,” she says.

Instead of looking at carbs as an enemy food group, conspiring to make you gain weight, consider eating high-GI foods in moderation. Then combine this knowledge with the tried-and-true rules about weight loss: control your portion size, reduce your fat intake, fill yourself up on low-calorie foods such as green vegetables and get lots of exercise. Do it now, so when the next diet craze comes along, you’ll feel healthy enough to simply ignore it.