Low Carbohydrate Diet: What You Need To Know

If you are trying to lose weight, regardless of which diet plan you choose, watching your carbohydrate intake can be helpful for several reasons. Benefits of counting carbs include:

  • Overall decrease in calories. Most of us eat a diet that is primarily made up of carbs. If you decrease the intake of your most significant source of calories, you will decrease your caloric intake overall. Decreasing carbohydrate intake is one of the easiest ways to decrease the amount of food you eat.

  • Healthier overall diet. A typical American diet includes more than enough white bread, processed crackers and cookies, soft drinks, juices, coffee drinks and sweetened teas. These foods often have little nutritional value. If you can replace them with better carbohydrate choices like fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll decease your intake of carbs, increase your intake of fiber and other important nutrients and feel less hungry throughout the day.
  • Increased protein intake. When you limit the number of calories you consume from carbohydrates you make room in a calorie-controlled diet for energy from other sources. That means that if you decrease your carb intake, you can increase your protein intake without increasing your overall calorie consumption. Lean protein will help you to build and maintain muscle and some recent studies have shown that dieters who consume more protein are able to maintain an improved metabolism over time.
  • More healthy fats. A lower carbohydrate diet will also give you room in calorie-controlled diet to include more fat. Why would fat make your diet healthier? Some fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, help your body to function more effectively and may contribute to a decreased risk of heart disease.
  • Improved medical conditions. Some medical conditions require that you count carbohydrates. The Diabetes Diet, for example, requires that you limit the number of carbs that you consume at every meal to 30-45 grams.


The Best Carb Count for Weight Loss

So how many carbs should you consume for weight loss? The answer to this question depends on your activity level and your size. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes of the Institute of Medicine, you should consume between 45% and 65% of your daily calories from carbohydrate. Guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics state that regular exercisers should consume between 2.3 and 5.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight depending on the amount and intensity of training.

Remember that counting carbohydrates does not necessarily mean restrictingcarbohydrates.  A low carbohydrate diet is not necessarily the best diet for you. The best diet for you is a diet that you can stick to. For some people, that is a low carbohydrate diet. But regardless of which diet you choose, counting carbs and making better carbohydrate choices will help you to improve the quality of your diet and your health over time.


Effective Plans for Different Activity Levels

Your first step to losing weight with a low-carb diet is to reduce or eliminate sugary foods and wheat (gluten). That’s just the beginning. Start slow and work your way up.

A good starting point for how many carbs you should try and stay under are:

100-150 Grams A Day

If you lead an active lifestyle or just need moderate results, then reduce your intake to the range of 100-150 grams a day.

Your optimum diet consists of all types of veggies and several servings of fruit. You can also eat some healthy starches such as potatoes, oats and rice as long as you control the portions.

50-100 Grams A Day

This level is great for people who have already seen great weight loss and want to keep the weight off.

Your optimum diet consists of several servings of vegetables and fruits per day.

To maintain your weight loss goals reduce your starchy carbohydrates to a minimum.

20-50 Grams A Day

If your goal is to lose weight fast,  but you aren’t very active or exercising regularity, then this is the level for you.

Eating less than 50 grams of carbs a day triggers ketosis, a metabolic response that will reduce your appetite and help you automatically feel full.

Be sure to eat low-carb veggies and fruits such as carrots and berries. You can also supplement your carb intake with walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

Everybody is Different

Don’t forget that everybody is different. Try new foods and experiment with new recipes to find out what level is right for you. Be sure to drink plenty of water during this process and consult your doctor before starting any new diet or workout routine.

Conclusion: With regular exercise, a range of 100-150 grams a day works best for healthy individuals. For people who need to see faster results, drop your carbohydrate intake below 50 grams.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Just because you choose a low-carb diet doesn’t mean all carbs are created equal. Be sure to choose healthy, unprocessed foods and stay away from low-carb junk food.

So what are good carbs? lean protein-rich meats like chicken and fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes are some good examples.

What are bad carbs? Refined grains like pizza crust, pretzels, and potato chips.

For more information on specific foods, check out this detailed low-carb meal plan and sample menu.

Conclusion: Be selective. Eat fiber-rich, whole foods whenever possible and avoid the junk food that is devoid of nutritional value.

You Can Be A Fat-Burning Machine 

group of carbohydrate products

Insulin is an important component to your weight loss equation. It’s a hormone that stores fat in your body. One of the benefits of a low-carb diet is its ability to lower the levels of insulin in your blood, thereby reducing the fat.

Insulin also regulates the amount of sodium retainedin the kidneys. A low-carb diet cuts back on the insulin your body produces and you can start to see lots of water weight reduction in the first week.

In a study that examined body composition, researchers found that low-carb dieting can s

low the effects of aging as well as increase muscle mass and help dieters lose large amounts of body fat.

When it comes to targeted weight loss, research shows that low-carb diets are especially effective at reducing that stubborn belly fat around the abdominal cavity that is so hard to get rid of.

Conclusion: Burning fat has more to do with body chemistry than exercise alone. Targeting specific hormones and problem areas will help you see results faster.



Originally posted at www.verywell.com and www.alivebynature.com

George A. Bray, MD . ” Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss .” Journal of the American Medical Association June 27, 2012.