In the movie Mean Girls, Regina George—who, due to some shenanigans, is attempting to lose weight via a high-carbohydrate diet—famously asks her clique if butter is a carb. Cady Heron, the frenemy responsible for her misguided nutritional plan, replies in the affirmative.
We all know that Cady was being a real jerk: there’s no research supporting high-carbohydrate diets for weight loss, and butter is indeed a fat. But the question raises an important point. So many diets over the years have shunned various macronutrients, and the trends all contradict one another. Once the low-fat diet loses its popularity grip, the high-fat, low-carb one is right there to take its place. These fads can so easy taint our perception of what is actually healthy. Let’s take a hard look at what carbohydrates, fats, and proteins actually are—and how they keep you healthy.
Butter, bread, what’s the difference? When we consider the nutritional profile of a food, it’s often broken up into macro and micronutrients. Macronutrients essentially make up the bulk of human energy. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the primary players. Each of them are unique in their chemical compositions, as well in how our bodies break them down for fuel.
Excerpted from Popular Science