If you are trying to lose weight, you have most likely considered a low carb diet, which is a great idea in theory. Reducing the carbohydrates that your body needs to feed can lead to fat extraction. Eating low carb has even been linked to greater weight loss and maintenance than eating low-fat or Mediterranean-style, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. But there is a trap. Isn’t there always? You have to cut the carbohydrates the right way. Otherwise, you will do more harm than good while depriving yourself of pasta and bagels, which seems like a losing situation. We know it is confusing to be vaguely warned against eating too much or too little in the carbohydrate department. Wondering how many carbohydrates you should eat to lose weight? We speak with Jim White, RD, ASCM and owner of Jim White Fitness Nutrition Studios for you. And he gave us concrete numbers.
If your numbers are lower than you expected, don’t worry. Try any of these best low-carb packaged snacks to lose weight and reduce your carbohydrate levels exactly where they should be.
How many carbohydrates should I eat to lose weight?
For someone weighing 150 pounds, White recommends 150-200 grams of carbohydrates a day and 200-250 for men. The rest of us will have to do a little math to measure our perfect carbohydrate levels. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbohydrates should account for 45-65 percent of your daily calorie intake, so a low carb diet is classified as one where less than 45 percent of your calories come from Carbohydrates. So, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, that’s less than 225 grams of carbohydrates.
This is a good place to start, but White defines a low carb diet as less than 125 grams a day, as long as you are aware of your cut. Instead of just paying attention to how increases or decreases in carbohydrate levels make you look, consider how they make you feel too. You want to reach a sweet point of fuel that leaves you energetic rather than slow. “Many people stop consuming carbohydrates but also other macronutrients such as proteins and fats,” White explains. “This can cause many deficiencies, slow down metabolism and decrease energy levels that affect overall health.”
Where to cut carbohydrates?
Being aware also means being selective about what carbohydrates you are choosing to cut. Simple carbohydrates such as soda and white bread can increase blood sugar and accelerate the feeling of hunger, so you should cut them before cutting complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains and vegetables and are known as “dietary starches” that constantly release energy. However, even these healthier options can add up, so watch for low-carb options: half a cup of sweet potatoes has 21 grams of carbohydrates and a slice of double-fiber wheat bread Nature’s Own has 11 grams.
So, if it’s not clear yet, we’ll give it to you directly: there is no universal amount of carbohydrate intake to get the best weight loss results. It is different for each person and is strategic. Do you still have questions? It seems that you should consult these carbohydrate questions, answered in five words or less.