Here’s The Truth To How Many Carbs Per Day To Lose Weight – It’s Not What You Think
Much of the information available as to how many carbs we should eat per day to lose weight is quite inaccurate for the average person. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that about half of our daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
Seriously? That’s not good.
I’m not one of those “no carb” guys but I think this is a bit absurd for the majority of adults. Sure, if you are a very active person, play sports or are young and growing, you could use close to this amount of carbohydrates, but the majority of us don’t burn that much energy throughout the day.
Yes, tracking the amount of carbs you eat on a daily basis is important, but choosing foods with the right kind of carbs is even more important.
Tracking the amount of carbs you eat on a daily basis is important, but there is more to it than just the amount.
When it comes to carbohydrates, I try to take in whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits & vegetables. One gram of a carbohydrate from an apple is going to be much better for me than one gram of a carbohydrate from a french fry or candy bar … obviously, right!?
How Many Carbs Per Day To Lose Weight?
The Wrong Answer: As mentioned above, the USDA and other nutritional authorities suggest 150-300 grams of carbs per day (half of your daily calories coming from carbs) as outlined by this formula:
1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
That means that if your diet consists of 2,000 calories that you should take in 250 grams of carbs per day. This seems crazy. This is why Americans (on average) are gaining weight every year — because we are told incorrect figures.
In case you are wondering how a carb stacks up to a gram of fat or of protein:
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
A Better Answer: 50-100 grams per day for weight loss and 100-150 to maintain weight.
Following the recommendation from the USDA on how many carbs to eat everyday would probably result in weight gain and at the least in not losing weight — assuming you were eating the right amounts of other foods.
By sticking with 50-100 grams of carbs a day, you can still lose weight and do so in a much more healthy and reasonable fashion. Most of these carbs should come from fruits and vegetables, but some whole grains are good for you while a beer or glass of wine is just plain good for the soul.
If you want to take an aggressive approach you can limit yourself to less than 50 carbs a day.
No Carb VS “Low” Carb Diets
As I said, I don’t really care for no carb diets. How can a diet be healthy if you are not allowed to eat certain vegetables and fruit?
However, low carb diets are going to be much better for you than what the traditional food pyramid suggests.
There are many who say that you should try to eliminate all grains from your diet — even whole grains — but I’m not quite on board with that approach either. Really, you just have to find what works for you and stick with it.
The amount of carbohydrates you eat do play a role in losing weight, but there are other factors that come into play. A big one is insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is when insulin is no longer able to efficiently remove blood sugar from the body’s blood stream. When this happens this increases fat storage and decreases fat burning.
Ideally, you want four things to occur when you eat carbs:
- Minimum insulin release
- Quick and efficient blood sugar clearance
- Maximum glycogen uptake
- Minimum fat storage
So if your body is going to respond appropriately to carbs, your insulin sensitivity must be up.
In the end, if you can find a diet that creates a long term calorie deficit, doesn’t interfere with your lifestyle and is healthy and smart then you’ll find that losing weight isn’t as much about how many carbs per day to lose weight or counting the exact amount of calories you ate for the day, but it’s more about a calorie deficit long term and eating healthy foods.
If you are a “carb-nut” and you want to make sure that your body is responding as efficiently as possible, you can look into some supplements that help. My favorite is BioTRUST’s IC-5™ but there are many out there.