Good question! Scientists agree that cutting carbs (and not healthy fats) can help you lose weight (1). But not all carbs are bad. In fact, they are one of the building blocks and energy providers for the brain and body. So, to lose weight, you must avoid a certain type of carb. Also, depending on your body type, age, activity level, and metabolism, you have to fine tune the number of carbs you can eat per day to lose weight. How can you do that? Give this post a read to find out how many carbs should you eat per day to lose weight. Swipe up!
Why Do You Need To Consume Fewer Carbs?
You need to consume fewer carbs to lose weight and protect yourself from all obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, depression, cancer, and insulin resistance (2), (3). According to WHO, about 1.9 billion adults are overweight, and about 950 million adults are obese (4). So, why are so many people overweight or obese?
Well, it can be the genes and/or an unhealthy lifestyle. Consuming high-carb foods, such as burger, pizza, fries, sugary foods, high-sodium foods, bread, and pasta, over a prolonged period with little or no exercise are the main reasons for weight gain. Once you start avoiding these foods, you will start to lose weight without exercising.
Now, at the beginning of this article, I mentioned that except for a certain type of carbs, carbs are actually good for you and should not be avoided completely. So, for your understanding, let me tell you which ones you can consume and why.
Are Carbs Bad Or Good?
Both. Depending on which type of carb you choose, and how much you consume.
Carbs are of two types – simple and complex. Simple carbs are the dangerous ones – bread, pasta, sugary foods, pizza, fried foods, etc. These carbs are quickly digested and absorbed by the body, leading to a spike in blood glucose and insulin levels. Since junk food tastes good, people often overeat simple carbs. Over a period, this leads to weight gain and other diseases.
Good carbs are complex carbohydrates because of their high fiber content and nutritional profile as most contain essential vitamins and minerals. They have a low glycemic index and get digested slowly, leading to slow increase in blood sugar level. These help to maintain sufficient blood glucose levels and provide energy level throughout the day. They help in losing weight, preventing metabolic diseases, constipation and even colorectal cancers. Food like veggies, fruits (with peel and pulp), whole grains, nuts, and seeds are rich sources of dietary fiber.
Now, let’s see how much of carbs should you consume per day to lose weight. Scroll down.
How Many Carbs Should You Eat Per Day To Lose Weight?
As per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020), the carbs you consume must be 45-65% of your daily calorie intake (5). So, if you are in your mid-20s and lightly active, you must consume about 1500-1800 calories per day to lose weight, and your carb intake should range between 168-292g (6).
Also, remember, your friend’s low-carb diet might not be low-carb for you. The age, height, weight, medical issues, metabolism, current medications, and lifestyle of any two individuals are not the same. So, you have to customize your carb intake depending on all the weight loss factors. How do you decide how many carbs you can consume? Check out the list below.
Low-Carb Diet Guidelines
1. For All
Avoid all simple and unhealthy carbs.
2. People Who Are Active & Lean
Consume 100-150 grams of good carbs per day. With this amount, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight. Here’s how many carbs you can have:
- 4-5 servings of 5 different veggies.
- 4 servings of 3 different fruits.
- Moderate amounts of sweet potato, potato with skin, millets, oats, rice, etc.
3. People Who Want To Lose Weight Without Working Out
Consume 50-100 grams of good carbs per day. It will help you lose weight without having to workout. Also, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight. Here’s how many carbs you should consume ideally:
- 4-5 servings of 5 different veggies.
- 2-3 servings of 3 different fruits.
- Minimum amounts of sweet potato, potato with skin, and brown rice.
4. People Suffering From Obesity And Obesity-Related Diseases
If you are obese and suffering from diabetes type 2, heart disease, and high blood pressure, you must consume only 20-50 grams of good carbs. Along with exercise and good eating habits, you will be able to lose the flab quickly. In addition to this, if you consume lean protein (chicken breast, tofu, mushroom, fish, soy chunks, legumes, etc.) and healthy fats (olive oil, ghee, nuts, seeds, sunflower butter, etc.), your body will start using the stored fat as fuel source. As a result, you will start losing the flab. Here are the carb sources you can consume:
- 3-4 servings of low-carb and low-GI vegetables.
- A few berries.
- Good carbs and healthy fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.
NOTE: Everyone needs good/complex carbs. So, do not avoid them completely.
What happens to your body when you are on a low-carb diet? Of course, you lose weight. But how? Well, scroll down to know the interesting science behind the success of low-carb diets.
Science Behind The Low-Carb Diet
Carbs get broken down into sugar/glucose in your body. The hormone insulin carries the sugar molecules to the cells. And then, in the cells, the glucose is used to generate energy, which is required for all body functions. Now, when you are on a high-carb diet or consume too many simple carbs, your blood sugar and blood glucose levels rise, and over a period, you become insulin resistant, obese, and suffer from various diseases. If you follow a low-carb diet, three things happen:
- Your insulin and blood glucose levels go down, leading to active metabolism.
- Your body composition improves, i.e., you start shedding fat and building lean muscle mass.
- High insulin signals the kidneys to store sodium. And as a result, the body starts retaining water. A low-carb diet helps reduce the insulin levels, preventing the kidneys from storing salt. As a result, you start losing the water weight.
- Low-carb diets also help shed the most dangerous type of fat – abdominal fat.
- You become more active and energetic. Your lifestyle changes, and you lose weight.
Now, let’s take a look at the best carbs that you can consume to lose weight.
[ Read: 1300 Calorie Diet For Weight Loss ]
10 Best Carbs For Weight Loss
Pears are loaded with dietary fiber and are perfect for weight loss. Pears are low in calories, contain several vitamins and minerals, and are high in water content and fiber. It helps improve satiety levels, stimulates the colon, and fills you up without loading up on calories.
2. Black Beans
These small black beans are rich in protein and dietary fiber. Black beans, as part of a healthy weight loss diet, can help you lose weight. All types of beans are high in protein and fiber and low in fat. They not only keep you full for long periods but also make your blood sugar stable. Half a cup of black beans has approximately 100 calories and 6 g of fiber.
3. Boiled Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a more diet-friendly starch option than a white potato. It is considered as a low glycemic food that does not cause an instant spike in blood sugar levels, which helps in maintaining the weight efficiently. Sweet potato comes loaded with fiber, especially when served with the skin. Dietary fiber tends to absorb water, making you feel fuller and helping you to stick to a calorie restricted diet.
4. Green Peas
Green peasare low in calories and rich in both protein and fiber. Both these nutrients help in keeping you feeling full to ward off cravings and reduce appetite, ramping up weight loss even more and supporting blood sugar control.
Oats are great for weight loss. And one of the reasons they are so good for you is their dietary fiber content. Oat beta glucan, a type of fiber found in oats, mediates weight loss by promoting satiety, regulating digestive hormones, and affecting carbohydrate metabolism. It can also reduce abdominal obesity. Oat bran is as an excellent replacement for fat in meals as it can lower the calorie content of meals.
A cup of quinoa contains about 5 grams of dietary fiber. So, consume quinoa to improve your satiety levels, load up on dietary fiber, boost metabolism, and lose weight.
Garbanzo beans are packed with nutrients and are perfect for people who are trying to lose weight. The fiber in chickpeas helps you feel full by interacting with ghrelin. The nutrients and minerals in chickpeas energize your body and prevent fatigue. Consume these in salads, curries, wraps, etc. to increase your good carb intake.
Lentils are rich in complex carbohydrates, which boost the metabolism and help the body to burn fat. This is particularly useful for those who feel hungry all the time. You can add lentils to any dish like salads, stews, and soups. They not only make you feel full but also prevent overeating.
This butter fruit is full of fiber, low carbs, and healthy fats that are good for your body. This type of fat and the ample fiber will help promote faster weight loss in conjunction with a healthy diet.. One avocado may contain 9-17 grams of dietary fiber, depending on its size. Consume avocado toast with eggs for breakfast or half an avocado as a snack to help prevent loading up on high-carb, zero-nutrition foods.
Peaches taste and look good. But did you know that they are also great sources of complex carbs (dietary fiber)? A hundred grams of peach contains 1.6 grams of fiber. Peaches help in boosting metabolism. They also contain flavonoids (like catechins) that can help in boosting metabolism. This, in turn, helps in burning calories and aids weight loss. This is a medium GI food and must be consumed in limited quantities, especially if you are obese or overweight.
So, these were the 10 fiber foods. If you want to know more about high-fiber foods for weight loss and a high-fiber diet chart, click here.
Now, apart from consuming good carbs, there are certain things that you MUST do to lose weight and prevent regaining it. What’s that? Find out next.
Lifestyle Changes To Lose Weight And Prevent Weight Gain
Talking about lifestyle is as important as talking about diet. Your diet is a part of your lifestyle. So, if you do not take care of the rest of it, you will not be able to sustain the weight loss. Here are a few necessary steps that you should take to lose weight and maintain the new weight:
- Exercise Regularly: You can go to the gym, swim, dance, or run. Do it to speed up the weight loss and be fit and healthy.
- Sleep On Time: Not getting enough sleep increases the stress levels, leading to weight gain.
- Avoid Snacking After Dinner: Late night snacking is the worst thing you can do to your body. You will not be able to lose the weight no matter how less you eat or exercise. So, give it up NOW!
- Meditate: It may seem impossible at the beginning to meditate. So, meditate for 30 seconds. Do it every day, and slowly, you will meditate for 30 minutes. It will help you relax and release all the negative emotions.
- Learn A New Skill: A sedentary lifestyle can make you prone to weight gain. So, plan your weekends and learn a new skill so that you do not sit idle or sleep all day.
- Cut Down On Sugar: Another killer simple carb. It is such an integral part of our tea and coffee conversations that it is very tough to give up. What you can do is slowly reduce the amount of sugar you consume.
A good diet and a good lifestyle are all you need to shed the extra pounds. Overweight and obesity are dangerous for your health and body. Take care of your body because it deserves to be loved by you. Talk to your doctor and decide on a plan, work toward it, and I am sure you are going to get great results and win against all the overweight and obesity battles. Take care!
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