Just How Many Carbs Should You Eat Daily To Lose Weight?

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first picture was taken 11/13 the second after his first 5K race 9/14

If you are trying to lose weight a simple way to see results is to reduce your level of carbohydrates in your diet. One of the main benefits is that it tends to reduce your appetite which translates into weight loss. No need to count calories or measure your portions.  On a low carb plan you should not feel hungry. If you are, you may not be eating enough protein or healthy fats. This is what my hubby did and has lost close to 60 pounds, and eliminated his diabetes and high blood pressure medication.

For too long we have been told by health authorities that in order to lose weight we needed to restrict our calories and go low-fat. Unfortunately, when the low fat craze started many processed food manufactures saw this as a green light to remove fat and replace it with some form of sugar. Why did they replace the fat with sugar? Well the truth is food tastes pretty terrible without the fat and they had to find a way to improve the taste.

The “low-fat” and “fat-free” foods unleased a war on saturated fat, one of the biggest mistakes in the history of nutrition, in my opinion. The evidence of this type of eating was very weak, and now has been completely debunked. The problem is that saturated fats are actually harmless. It’s the polyunsaturated fats (PUFAS) that we need to be concerned with. The combination of too many PUFAS and all the added sugar is to blame for the increase in obesity and the diseases that come a long with a high BMI.  The other problem with low-fat or fat-free foods is that in general they are very processed foods, stripped of any health benefits.

There is thankfully a much better way, eating low carb. By restricting your intake of carbohydrates in the form of sugars and starches (breads, pasta, etc.) and replace them with protein and fat. For some this way of thinking seems radical, but the truth is that this is closer to how our ancestors ate back when there were no fast-foods restaurants.  Eating less processed low carb  foods is the most effective way to lose weight.

The news gets better, eating low-carb has benefits that go far beyond weight loss. They lower blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides. They raise HDL (the good) and improve even improve the pattern of LDL (the bad) cholesterol. This has been our experience. A diet that is high in carbohydrates causes more inflammation, and more inflammation translates into more opportunities to develop life-threatening diseases.

But Exactly How Low Do We Need to Go?

Here is where it can get a little tricky, because there is no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a “low carb diet” and what is “low” for one person may not be “low” enough for someone else. The average person not on a low carb plan eats upwards of 250 carbohydrates a day. So even slashing this number in half may help you lose weight. The problem is that many who are overweight also deal with a slowed down metabolism and the side effects of lifetime of yo-yo dieting. So a low carb plan of say, 100 carbohydrates a day is probably still too high to see significant weight loss.  A better number for most who want to lose weight is closer to 25 to a maximum of 50 carbohydrates a day. The other thing to keep in mind is that all carbs are not created equal. Carbs coming from a donut are not the same as those coming from fruit. Which is why if you’re going to go over your threshold of carbs, its best to do so with a fruit splurge or a higher carb vegetable. Keeping your choices as clean as possible.

Some other things to take into account is that an individual’s optimal carb intake also depends on their age, gender, activity level and even body composition.  People who are physically active and have more muscle mass can generally get away with eating more carbs, than those who have a more sedentary lifestyle. What’s more if your metabolic health is not ideal, this too will be a major factor and game changer. When someone is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, they become obese and are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.  So if you fall into this category understand that your body is now carbohydrate intolerant.

What does all this translate into? If you simply remove the worst carbs from your diet, like wheat, this includes whole wheat, pasta and added sugars you will see a change in your health. However, if you want to get all the metabolic benefits of eating low carb, you will need to restrict your carbs further.

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