How Many Carbohydrates To Lose Weight
Society is slowing catching on that it may actually be our high carbohydrate diets that are making us ill and overweight, not the high fat diets like the government still suggests.
For the majority, a low fat diet does not bring as good a result as a low carb diet. A low carb diet improves fat oxidation and utilisation by managing blood sugar levels better and improved hormone regulation.
The problem we have now is that everyone is scared of carbohydrates and spiking insulin levels completely, therefore totally refraining from any starchy carbohydrates.
In my previous article, 'The Carbohydrate Sweet Spot', I claim everyone can have carbs in their diet due to their benefits such as increased metabolism (better fat loss and health), full glycogen stores (more energy and improved performance), increased leptin levels (controlled appetite and less cravings), improved libido (you know this one) and increased anabolism (more muscle mass/strength).
It's therefore important when losing weight to find your daily sweet spot based on your body type, body fat percentage and activity levels. However, in the past I have never put specific numbers on suggested tolerances as it can be so unique, but from experience, they are a number of ball park figures certain people tend to fall into.
So, how many carbohydrates should you eat to lose weight...
High Carb Diet - 100g+ per day
Some people do very well on a higher carb diet, and some of my clients can eat 300-400g per day while losing body fat. Most are not so lucky, and those who can, usually follow under the same category - young males, heavily muscles, active lifestyle and metabolically efficient.
If you do not tick all those boxes, chances are, you will not be lose weight optimally eating this amount.
Moderate Carb Diet - 50-100g per day
This is a very common daily carb range for the majority of active and healthy people looking to cut the body fat. This still allows for some starch in the diet, yet limits the amount quite significantly.
You still get all the benefits of having carbs in the diet (so we feel and perform good), yet lower the frequency of feedings and overall amount to therefore optimise fat burning (to look good).
Low Carb Diet - <50g per day
This can be described a ketogenic diet - one in which no starchy carbs (or very little) is consumed daily. This is when the body is forced to use fat for energy.
To do this, the person will go through a fat adaption phase, when the body releases ketones for muscle and brain fuel. This can be the most difficult part of such a diet , as energy levels can significantly drop until this process is complete. This energy slump is also common for those transitioning from say a high carb diet containing high sugar and processed foods, to a moderate carb diet plan.
Most people lose weight quickly on this type of plan, but suits those who are inactive, diabetic or seeking that last bit of fat loss. A low carb diet also works better with females, as they carry much less bodyweight than men, meaning they require less energy as a result.
The Magic 100
Without knowing or assessing someone, I typically suggest starting at 100g of carbohydrates (not including fibre) daily. This is a moderate amount of carbs for the majority and allows for ample amounts of starch too. It is in-between a low and a high carb diet, and a good starting point for most to adjust as they require based on results.
Adjustments should be gradual and calculated, unless you have greatly over/under estimated your needs. Reduce or increase by 20-30g at a time.
These recommendations only work when following a high protein and moderate fat diet. Further, your carbohydrate choices must be correct too, think fruit and vegetables and for starch we are talking rice, potatoes and oats. That's it.
For long term and sustainable success, the goal should always be to consume a varied and balanced diet that contains all macro nutrients. Finding your carbohydrate sweet spot is your opportunity to find the right level of carbs for you, while still achieving your weight loss goal.
Do not assume that you must follow a low carb diet in order to see results. If you are drastically underestimating your requirement for carbs, you will not reach your goals any quicker, and weight loss will actually stall out.
Take some time to discover your carbohydrate sweet spot, your body will thank you.