Are Carbs Really the Bad Guys?

It seems like everyone is cutting back on carbohydrates making it seem like carbs are not a healthy choice. It’s important to understand the science of nutrition to help you make an educated decision on your nutrition plan.

We survive on three primary macro-nutrients which include carbohydrates, protein and fats. All serve a critical function to our overall health. Any diet that severely restricts any of these nutrients has consequences and is often not sustainable for the long-term.

Carbohydrates (CHO) are fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads, pastas and rice. Carbohydrates in your diet will be sent to your liver and either burned for energy or stored as fat with a 70% conversion ratio. It’s important to note that the preferred fuel source for your brain is carbohydrates.

Those who resort to an extremely low-carb diet often wind up feeling tired, irritable and have a hard time focusing. The most common recommendation is a 45-65% carbohydrate intake. Some of us will thrive on more carbohydrate intake and others will need less. A good place to start for many is a 50% intake and adjust from there based on how your body responds. Those who are very active and have a higher metabolism may require more CHO intake and those who are not as active, with a slower metabolism or trying to lose a significant amount of weight, may need less CHO.

It’s helpful to get in tune with your body to determine which nutrition approach seems to provide the best results while also making you feel great. If a certain diet produces results but you feel terrible, that’s not the way to go.

There are definitely some carbs that would be considered healthier carbs and this is where your focus should be.

Plenty of Plants

We will give you full reign on fruits and veggies which are rich in carbohydrates, nutrients and fiber. No one ever gets unhealthy eating too many apples and broccoli!

Starchy Veggies

Sweet potatoes, yams, squash, potatoes, and corn are great if you’re minimizing grains but still want to assure you have lots of energy.

Whole Grains

These items can definitely be part of a healthy nutrition plan and will provide good energy but portion is key. So if you want to enjoy whole grain breads, pasta and rice, remember that your portion should only be around a cup, the size of a tennis ball or your palm. Sometimes it’s not that eating carbs is the problem, it’s just that most eat way too many of them. The American way is to eat a huge heaping plate full of pasta and this is where the problems surface.


Simple carbohydrates in the form of cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy etc. should be limited. Avoid any foods where sugars like High Fructose Corn Syrup are listed as one of the first few ingredients.

Carbohydrates are definitely not the bad guys and critical for health but be sure you understand how best to incorporate them into your diet.

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan


Join us for the Couve Clover Run (3, 7 & 10 Miles) March 22nd, 2020!

Join us for the 6th Annual Couve Clover Run and celebrate in your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.




Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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