Carbohydrates are absolutely essential to our health. They are an important energy source and should be part of every meal. Carbs are especially crucial for physically active people; if you're trying to get into shape, you don't want to do without a steady supply.

Of course, some carbohydrate choices are healthier than others. Aim to eat complex carbohydrates, typically found in whole-grain breads and cereals and in fruits and vegetables. Try to limit simple sugars, which are often in high quantities in snacks and prepared foods.

And as for those high-fat/low-carb diets: Medical experts stress that eating excess calories -- whether they come from carbs or fat really doesn't really matter -- is what leads to weight gain.