Have We Gone Carb Crazy?

Experts clear up the confusion over the low-carb craze

By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Questioning your carbs? You're not alone.

The explosion of low-carbohydrate products and even special "Atkins-approved" menus at grocery stores and restaurants is enough to make even an Italian think twice about pasta.

Nearly 30 million Americans are now counting their carbs thanks to the popularity of diets like Atkins, South Beach, and the Zone. But millions more are also becoming "carb aware" or even fearful of carbohydrates and cutting back on carbs -- not because they want to lose weight, but because they think it's the healthy thing to do.

But are carbs something the average person should be concerned about? WebMD asked the experts to clear up the confusion on carbs.

Low-Carb Doesn't Mean Low-Cal

The rising popularity of low-carb products has manufacturers scrambling to meet the demand. In fact, more than 400 businesses recently gathered for the nation's first Low-Carb Summit in Denver to discuss ways to capitalize on the low-carb craze.

But nutritionists say the marketing of low-carb products is way ahead of the science, and it's giving carbohydrates a bad reputation that they don't deserve.

"Low-carb has become new fat-free and the new 'health' label," says Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, spokesman for the American Dietetic Association, "and it's just as inappropriate as it was to think of fat-free as a health label because it doesn't tell the whole picture."