How Many Carbs Should You Eat Per Day To Lose Weight
Low carbohydrate diets can be very effective for weight loss, according to research.
Reducing carbs tends to reduce your appetite and cause automatic weight loss, or weight loss without the need to count calories.
For some people, a low carb diet allows them to eat until fullness, feel satisfied, and still lose weight.
The number of carbs a person should eat every day for weight loss varies depending on their age, sex, body type, and activity levels.
This article reviews how many carbs you should eat per day to lose weight.
According to the Food and Drug Administration , the Daily Value for carbs is 300 grams per day when eating a 2,000-calorie diet .
Some people reduce their daily carb intake with the aim of losing weight, cutting down to around 50150 grams per day.
Research has shown that low carb diets can be part of an effective weight loss strategy.
This diet restricts your intake of carbohydrates including sugars and starches like bread and pasta and replaces them with protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.
Studies show that low carb diets can reduce a persons appetite, lead to them eating fewer calories, and help them to lose weight more easily than in other diets, provided they maintain the diet .
In studies comparing low carb and low fat diets, researchers need to actively restrict calories in the low fat groups to make the results comparable, but the low carb groups are still usually more effective .
Youll Lose Water Weight
A sudden lack of carbs will make you lose weight. Itâs mostly water weight at first, though. This is mostly because cutting carbs also wipes out the glycogen stores in your muscles. Glycogen helps your body retain water. You may also lose some salt along with the carbs you cut out. When you start to eat carbs again, the water weight comes right back. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for ketosis to rev up and start to burn fat.
Standard Low Carb Diet
If you’re not sure which low carb diet plan is best, it might be good to start with a standard low carb diet. In comparison to a very strict low carb diet like keto, you probably won’t lose as much weight following a standard low carb diet.
A standard low carb diet allows for more total carbs per day: up to 100 grams. Some even allow up to 150 grams which is still lower than the average American diet.
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Skipping Meals Will Not Make You Lose Weight
It sounds simple enough dont eat and the weight will come off but skipping meals can fail. Not only will starving yourself result in feeling tired and lethargic, your body is more likely to miss out on essential nutrients. Then when you do eat, youre more likely to overeat and to make poor food choices. Over the long term, skipping meals is unlikely to help with weight loss at all.
The important thing to losing weight and keeping it off is to make small, achievable changes to your eating and exercise habits:
- Choose from a wide range of foods every day.
- Eat less-processed foods.
- Have a regular pattern of eating.
- Increase the amount you move each day to burn extra energy.
Keto Diet Benefits And Risks: Medical Expert Weighs In
When people get the diet right by limiting carbs, eating moderate amounts of protein and embracing fat, they feel full and naturally restrict calories without having to count them, Volek added.
He and his colleagues consider the weight loss a side benefit because they often use the low-carb diet to treat Type 2 diabetes, he noted.
Voleks studies have found people on low-carb diets can lose more than 10% of their body weight and keep it off, something that Haines says has been a game-changer.
I feel great. Its easy for me to get up. Its easy for me to go to sleep. I feel a lot more comfortable with myself, she said.
This new approach also eliminates some of the stigma surrounding obesity, which is typically treated as a behavioral problem. Doctors often assume people are overweight because they eat too much or have low willpower. This approach takes the blame away from the patient and looks at obesity as a biological problem, focusing on regulating the hormone insulin.
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How Long Should It Take To Lose 50 Pounds
At a weight loss of two pounds per week, you will lose 50 pounds in 25 weeks, or a little less than six months. Remember, as you start losing weight, you will need to readjust your energy needs and move to a lower calorie level for every 10 to 15 pounds lost to keep losing weight at a consistent rate.
I Learned To Be Very Creative In The Kitchen
It’s almost impossible to eat at a restaurant and keep your keto status. Luckily, I consider myself an adventurous cook, frequently cooked at home before the diet, and am willing to try new recipes.
Write the recipes down, use a meal-tracking app like MyFitnessPal to record the ingredients, and you can figure out if a recipe can work for you. It takes a bit more work than an average meal plan, but it’s worth it.
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Focus On High Protein Foods
If youre a fan of carbs but still trying to cut back, one of the best ways of keeping yourself satisfied is to focus on high protein foods.
Protein has been shown to help increase satiety, which means it helps you feel fuller longer. It may also help you eat less throughout the day .
Additionally, protein has a slightly higher thermic value than fat or carbs, meaning your body requires more calories to digest it .
Adding foods that are higher in protein to your meals can help you feel fuller, fight cravings, and boost your metabolic rate for a brief period.
Youre Eating Too Many Healthy Sugars
When following a low carb or ketogenic diet, eating sugars marketed as healthier alternatives like coconut sugar or raw cane sugar isnt necessarily good for your health.
All sugar is high in carbs and can prevent your body from adapting to the low carb diet.
This also applies to:
Low calorie sweeteners are fine for most people, but you may want to consider limiting them if you have trouble losing weight. Some products contain digestible carbs as fillers.
Despite being natural, sweeteners like honey and raw cane sugar are just as high in carbs as regular sugar.
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The Risks Of Beefing Up On Protein
Protein is a really big molecule, and it has to filter through your kidneys. So there was an initial fear, back when high-protein diets started to pop up,that people who consumed excessive protein might be leading themselves on a path toward kidney damage.
You can’t really study this kind of thing, though, because it’s unethical to say, “Let me feed you a bunch of protein and see if you go into kidney failure.”
But according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diets high in animal proteins like those found in meats and fish could be a problem for people with compromised kidney function, since the body already has trouble metabolizing waste products.
And because uric acid is a byproduct of protein, a high-protein diet in someone who is susceptible to gout could lead to flare-ups. If you have impaired renal function and aren’t on dialysis yet, too much protein can accelerate kidney damage, leading to kidney failure.
So I would say if you have any history of kidney problems or kidney stones, you should check with your doctor to see if a protein restriction is necessary. For this type of individual, a low-carb diet would not be a good choice.
Science Matters When It Comes To Weight Loss
The amount of information available on food, diet and weight loss is endless and not much of it is credible or correct. Popular media is full of fad diets and magic weight loss potions endorsed by celebrities and supported by personal success stories.
Much of what is claimed is based on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence and, many times, there is something to be gained by the person or organisation behind the claim .
Unlike other fields where experts are trusted when it comes to nutrition and health, it seems that everyone is an expert.
While its true that were all different and what works for some may not work for others, proper scientific studies include a wide range of people to account for individual differences.
If you would like to lose weight, a good start would be basing your diet on foods that fit within the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. Or see a qualified health professional who will give you dietary advice that is evidence-based, tailored to your nutritional and health needs and suits your lifestyle.
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Why Are Carbs So Controversial
This is partially because of big food companies. The vast majority of the brands you see on the supermarket shelves, in commercials, and even online are owned by a few massive food conglomerates — “Big Food”, the food version of Big Pharma.
These companies discovered a few decades ago that sugar and carbohydrates is extremely cheap and easy to source and grow. To keep costs down and increase their profits, they pack their “food” offerings full of these ingredients.
So, they’re extremely prevalent.
Unfortunately, they’re also very addictive and easy to overeat. However, that doesnât mean that ALL carbohydrates are bad. We just donât tend to choose the ones that do our bodies good.
You Can Even Eat More Calories And Still Lose Weight
The second study concerns weight loss in obese teenagers. A group of adolescents, average age 14, were assigned to either a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet.
The low-carb group was instructed to keep carbohydrates at less than 20 g a day for the first 2 weeks, but increasing to 40 g a day in weeks 3 through 12. They could eat as much as they wanted.
The low-fat group was instructed to keep fat at < 40 g a day. They also could eat as much as they wanted.
Here are the results.
The low-carb teenagers averaged 9.9 kg of weight loss, compared to 4.9 kg in the low-fat group. That was despite the fact that the low-carb group ate over 1800 calories a day, while the low-fat group ate 1100 calories a day. Thats the power of lowering carbohydrate intake. Also, its guaranteed that the low-carb group was less hungry.
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The Challenges Of Staying The Course
Low-carb diets are extremely hard to sustain because people look at cutting carbs as restricting themselves. And what do you want when someone tells you that you can’t have something? The exact thing you can’t have.
So behaviorally, it’s not realistic to think that someone could stick to something like severely limiting carbs long-term.
What I recommend is that you stay moderately low on the carbs most of the time. In the Prevention Center, we call it “the Perfect Plate”: Half the plate should be nonstarchy vegetables one-fourth of the plate should be protein and one-fourth of the plate should be healthy carbs.
The United States Department of Agriculture plate actually has four categories they say a quarter plate of nonstarchy vegetables and a quarter plate fruit but I prefer half a plate of vegetables.
What Happens To Excess Glucose
You can try to stuff as much junk in there as you want, but the closet is only so big, and eventually, the door will burst open and the junk will start to pour out and make a mess on the floor. Once your glycogen stores have been filled to the max, ANY excess glucose gets converted to fat and stored in new fat cells, which your body is MUCH more reluctant to use for energy than glucose from glycogen. So, at the end of the day, itâs not fat that is making you fat â itâs all that darn sugar!
Our bodies prioritize the metabolism of macronutrients in the following order:
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Measure Your Progress Wisely
Tracking successful weight loss is sometimes trickier than youd think. Focusing primarily on weight and stepping on the scale every day might be misleading, cause unnecessary anxiety, and undermine your motivation for no good reason.
The scale is not necessarily your friend. You may want to lose fat but the scale measures muscles, bone and internal organs as well. Gaining muscle is a good thing. Thus weight or BMI are imperfect ways to measure your progress. This is especially true if youre just coming off a long period of semi-starvation , as your body may want to restore lost muscle. Starting weight training and gaining muscle can also hide your fat loss.
Losing fat and gaining muscle means great progress, but you may miss this if you only measure your weight. Thus its best to quantify body composition as you lose weight. You can do this with a DEXA scan, hydrostatic weights, plethysmography scales and others. But if these are not available, it is smart to also track the disappearance of your belly fat, by measuring your waist circumference.
Heres how to do it:
I recommend aiming for good but its not always realistic. Young people can usually achieve this, but for some middle-aged or older people, it may be a major victory to get all the way to decent.26
Consider The Carb Content Of Restaurant Meals
Eating out can be challenging during the initial stages of a low carb diet or after deciding to really downgrade your carb intake.
Even if you order meat or fish with no breading or gravy, youll typically get a starch on the side, such as potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread. These starches can add 30 or more grams of carbs to your meal, depending on the portion size, which is often large .
Keep an eye on portion sizes when ordering a meal from a restaurant , and consider ordering a side salad to increase your fiber intake to help you feel fuller quicker .
Ordering extra vegetables to offset larger servings of potatoes, pasta, rice, or bread when eating out can save carbs. Taking home half the carb portion of the meal can also help.
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Ask About The Risks Of Insufficient Intake Of Carbohydrates
Your body needs carbohydrates to produce energy and function normally.
Low-carbohydrate diets followed properly will not cause serious health problems, but a severely restricted intake of carbohydrates may be associated with risks.
- If you fall into an extreme and consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, you risk developing ketosis.
- Low Carb Low Fat Diet. This happens when ketones accumulate in the body because of the excessive breakdown of stored fat to make energy, causing nausea, fatigue, headaches, and bad breath
- During the first or second week of a low-carb diet, you may experience symptoms of ketosis, nausea, headache, bad breath, etc., as your body adapts to a reduced intake of carbohydrates. However, this should pass and you should feel better.
- Some health professionals believe that low carbohydrate diets may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer over the long term because of the significant amount of animal fat and protein consumed, but the long-term risks of a low carbohydrate diet, just like their benefits, still remain assumptions.
Replace Your Sandwich For Lunch
Take out all the ingredients that are in the sandwich, avoid the bread and you will have a low-carb lunch.
- Roll deli meats in a salad leaf. Add mustard, a little cheese, a pickle, or other ingredients of your choice. Add vegetables of your choice, carrots, celery, pepper slices, etc.
- Put some chicken or shrimp in the salad and avoid the bread. Use your fork and eat vegetables at the same time.
- A low carbohydrate pizza could be your lunch one day and your lunch the next day.
Drink, you know it now, water. Can an iced tea or a light soda every now and then ruin your diet? No.
But make a habit of drinking water during your meals .
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The Final Word On Low
I would say the best advice I can give is to avoid extremes.
Make sure you’re getting enough protein to ensure good health, but don’t make it the centerpiece of your diet. Don’t gorge on carbs, but don’t eliminate them, either. And lastly, load up on the veggies!
It’s become such a cliché moderation and finding a balance. But when you look at all the components of both weight loss and weight maintenance, that’s really what it’s about: finding behaviors that you can stick with and that don’t feel like deprivation.
I’m also a big advocate of not cutting out everything you love. People will say things like, “Im not going to eat cake ever again,” or “I’m swearing off chips forever.” Well, that’s probably not true. If you eat cake or chips every day now, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll never have them again.
So instead of deprivation, look at making improvements. How often are sweets a part of your normal routine now? If it’s every day, cutting back to two or three days a week is an improvement. If you eat chips with lunch every day, substituting a salad or moving to the smaller size bag of chips will be more realistic than swearing them off for life.
Think about it this way: If you’re going to try to change something, ask yourself, “Can I do this forever?” If the answer is no, you probably want to rethink what you’re trying to do.