How many carbohydrates per day to lose weight ?
It is easier to lose weight by eating less carbohydrates. But what does less mean? And is it bad to not eat enough carbohydrates? This article gives you all the answers and more.
After reading this article, you will know how many carbs per day you need to eat to lose weight and to optimally transform your body into a fat burning machine.
In this article, you will learn:
Why you should avoid carbs to lose weight
The other benefits of not eating carbohydrates
The health risks of eating too few carbs
How to calculate how many carbs you need per day to lose weight
1- Lose weight by eating low carbohydrates
All roads lead to Rome, but some are shorter and less difficult than others. This is also the case with weight loss.
There are many ways to reach your weight goal. Some methods will get you to your weight goal quickly and effortlessly, while others will be more of a struggle.
Over the past few decades, the low carbohydrate diet has emerged as the way to reach your goal weight quickly and effortlessly.
For example, on a low-carb diet, you will lose weight much faster than on a low-fat diet, and still feel better. And this isn’t just based on how people feel; scientific research confirms it too.
People who eat less carbohydrate per day report feeling fuller than those who eat low-fat foods and also lose more weight over the same period.
2- The different types of carbohydrates
If you lose weight by eating less carbohydrates, it is because there is a physiological reason. It’s largely based on lowering your insulin levels.
As you probably know, insulin is the hormone your body needs to absorb glucose from your blood. But insulin has many other functions. For example, high insulin levels send a signal to your body to store and retain fat.
All in all, high blood sugar is a sign that a lot of energy has been obtained from the diet and that the body can start to store energy reserves.
Clearly, you don’t want the body to retain fat, or worse, store fat, if you want to lose weight. Preventing the body from activating these mechanisms is therefore the number one priority in the search for your ideal weight.
Preventing your body from going into fat storage mode is possible. It’s all about keeping insulin levels low. You keep those insulin levels low by keeping your blood sugar low. You can do this by eating small amounts of carbohydrates per day. Easy, right?
Blood sugar levels rise more quickly when you eat certain types of carbohydrates. This is true for carbohydrates that are quickly broken down into glucose.
For example, a serving of French fries has a completely different effect on blood sugar than a serving of quinoa. Because the speed at which carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, and therefore can be absorbed into the bloodstream, is different.
French fries cause blood sugars to rise almost 3 times faster than with quinoa. Your body will have to produce a lot more insulin with the fries. And the body is still trying to get blood sugars back to normal values as quickly as possible.
The speed at which carbohydrates are converted to glucose is indicated by the glycemic index (GI). For example, French fries have a GI of 95 and quinoa has a GI of 35.
The GI of a food is determined by the complexity of the carbohydrates in the food, the presence of dietary fiber and the method of preparation, among other factors. For example, boiled sweet potato has a low GI while fried sweet potato has a high GI.
Cooking a food always gives the lowest GI, baking gives a higher GI and frying gives the highest. Cooking in water is always better, and the less time it takes to cook, the better the GI.
If something can be eaten raw, you can, of course, also eat it raw. The less preparation there is, the harder the food will be to digest, resulting in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream.
To make it easier for you, I’ve compiled a list of carbohydrate sources you should avoid if you want to lose weight:
French fries and baked potatoes
Candies, cookies, bars, pastries
Chips, salty snacks and other nuts
I have also listed what you can eat:
All vegetables, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and parsnips in moderation
Legumes and beans
All fruits, dried fruits in moderation
Whole grain cereals such as oatmeal
Whole grain rice
3- Health benefits of a low-carb diet
Low carbohydrate foods also have a number of important health benefits that go far beyond just losing weight and the question of how many carbs per day to lose weight.
In this way, you reduce the risk of heart and vascular disease by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol by lowering your carbohydrate levels. In addition, you reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar.
Because with a low carbohydrate per day diet, you target abdominal and body fat very effectively, it is very effective in preventing metabolic syndrome.
Symptoms that are covered by metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, cancer and dementia. A characteristic of metabolic syndrome is excess visceral fat.
To correct this is a health benefit inherent in weight loss in general. Studies show, however, that low-carbohydrate diets improve health more than traditional low-fat diets.
And for anyone suffering from digestive problems and abdominal pain: a small amount of carbohydrates per day reduces pain in many cases due to improved intestinal flora.
4- The health risks of a diet too low in carbohydrates
You may think that not eating carbohydrates at all will make you lose weight faster.
Your body needs vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. These all come from vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts. And they all contain carbohydrates.
Cutting out vegetables, fruits and nuts from your diet because of carbohydrates would be a big mistake, if it’s just to count how many carbs a day to lose weight. You really need these nutrients for your health.
Another problem with eating too little or no carbs is that you will start to feel bad. A diet in which you feel bad is hard to maintain. The chances of you giving up on your diet at some point are high. Also, you will lose your motivation to lose weight.
5- How to determine the optimal amount of carbohydrates?
Don’t expect a quick answer like: eat 80 grams of carbohydrates a day. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. But don’t worry, I’ll quickly get you on your way.
The right amount of carbs per day depends on a number of factors. We can think about:
As you can see, there are many variables. You will understand that a woman with a desk job burns fewer calories than a rugged guy who works in construction.
Depending on the greater or lesser need for calories, the need for carbohydrates will vary and the amount of carbohydrates per day will vary. So the first step is to determine your daily caloric requirement. Fortunately, we have tools for this.
5-1 # 1: Moderately Low Carb
With a moderately low carbohydrate diet and therefore providing a small amount of carbohydrates per day, you can use the following percentages as a guide:
A moderately low carbohydrate diet is suitable for anyone who wants to lose weight at a reasonable rate while improving their health at the same time.
To give an example. Imagine the calculation with the BMR calculator that you can eat 1,600 kcal per day to lose weight.
30% of your calories can come from carbohydrates and 1 gram of carbohydrate is 4 kcal. The calculation is as follows:
1,600 kcal x 30% = 480 kcal of carbohydrates
480 kcal / 4 kcal / gram = 120 grams of carbohydrates per day
Do you want to know how many carbohydrates are in a particular food? It is indicated on the package, for packaged foods. For unprocessed foods, you can easily find a list of foods and their carbohydrate content.
5-2 # 2: Very low carb diet
With a very low-carb diet, and therefore providing you with a very small amount of carbs per day, you can use the following guidelines:
A very low carb diet is suitable for people who want to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. If you follow this diet for a longer period of time, you may have a shortage of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber because you can only eat very little fruit.
A very low carbohydrate diet may be a solution if the excess weight is so high that it poses a significant health threat.
If you just want to lose a few pounds for cosmetic reasons, I would not advise you to follow such a strict diet.
Example of calculation
Caloric requirement according to the BMR calculator: 1600 kcal
1600 kcal x 20% = 320 kcal from carbohydrates
320 kcal / 4 kcal / gram = 80 grams of carbohydrates per day.
5-3 # 3: Really low carb diet
With an extremely strict low-calorie diet, and therefore providing you with almost no carbohydrates per day, you can follow the following guidelines:
I would not recommend this extreme form of diet to lose weight with a certain amount of carbs per day. Unless acute intervention is needed because of health risks due to severe obesity. Discuss with your doctor if you think your health is at risk due to obesity.
An extremely strict low-calorie diet may also offer a solution if you really need to lose a few pounds in a short time. Because you are getting married in 2 weeks and you don’t look good in your wedding dress, for example.
It’s not exactly the healthiest way to reach your weight goal, but sometimes the end justifies the means.
Caloric requirement according to the BMR calculator: 1600 kcal
1600 kcal x 10% = 160 kcal from carbohydrates
160 kcal / 4 kcal / gram = 40 grams of carbohydrates per day.
To give you an idea of what this represents, 40 grams of carbohydrates per day is equivalent to :
3 glasses of milk or
2 glasses of coke or
3 sandwiches or
2 slices of gingerbread or
Half a serving of French fries or
1 slice of pizza
After a breakfast of 2 sandwiches and a glass of milk, you have already reached the maximum amount of carbohydrates for the whole day.
5-4 Ketogenic diet
Finally, in everything we have the extreme, and this is the case with extremely low carb diets. We are no longer talking about a low carb diet, but a ketogenic diet.
In the ketogenic diet you eat extremely low carbohydrates and an extremely high amount of fat.
In the ketogenic diet, the ratio is as follows:
On a ketogenic diet, your body goes into full ketosis. This is a mode in which your body switches completely to burning fat instead of carbohydrates.