This article discusses how many carbs per day to lose weight.
Low carb diets have become very popular in the past few decades, and the most famous one is the Atkins diet. Since then, a lot of other low carb diets have become mainstream, for example The Paleo Diet, Protein Power and many more.
These diets have not only been successful at weight loss, but also with generally making people feel better and helping against diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. These diets, despite being deprived of certain high carb foods like grains, are able to provide people with all essential nutrients.
Extreme forms of low carb diets have been researched and their incredible health benefits well documented, take a look at the post The Ketosis Diet Plan and its Health Benefits for more info.
How many carbs per day to lose weight naturally
It is a known fact that starchy foods are broken down into glucose in the digestive tract, and when they enter the bloodstream the pancreas respond by secreting insulin in order to lower blood glucose levels (too high blood glucose levels are toxic).
Insulin also alters enzymes in the cells of the body to start producing and storing fat, and inhibits the fat cells from releasing it, therefore preventing weight loss.
This is the reason low carb diets are so effective for weight loss, they lower insulin levels, inhibit fat storage and last but not least, allow the fat in the body’s cells to be released. This is a biochemical fact.
When following a high carb diet, even when calorically restricted, insulin levels are still elevated and the fat has a hard time getting out. This makes the body become energy deprived, and usually the worst thing about weight loss plans is the hunger that follows them.
Eating a low carb diet helps reduce hunger levels, and this is another reason they are so effective for weight loss.
It is hard to tell exactly how many carbs per day to lose weight naturally, but reducing them to about 100-150 grams per day should be sufficient to start losing fat.
If that doesn’t work, then reducing them under 100, maybe even under 50 grams per day will probably do the trick. You will most likely experience quick weight loss during the first week on a low-carb diet, and this is mainly due to reduced fluid retention. Weight loss will slow down after that.
Cutting out sugar, grains and vegetable oils, and substituting them for meat, fish, eggs, vegetables and fruit may be enough to start losing weight, and is a good alternative to wondering how many carbs per day to lose weight and in fact a lot of people have succeeded admirably by simply changing the foods they eat.
There really is no need for people to consume a lot of carbs, since the body is able to produce the glucose it needs through a process called gluconeogenesis.
I would like to mention, though, that for athletes wondering how many carbs per day, that people who do a lot of high intensity exercise do need more than 100-150 grams per day. On how many carbs these people need, I would say 200-250 grams is more appropriate.
How many carbs per day for optimal health
Regarding the question on how many carbs per day to achieve optimal health, I’m not really sure it matters. I think eating real, non processed, non factory made food would be the best option for health instead of obsessing over macronutrient ratios. This means eating a lot of animals and plants.
People who are active or do a lot of high intensity exercise will be able to eat more carbs than inactive people, while people who tend to gain weight should eat fewer. It’s impossible to give a specific recommendation, but those carbs should come from healthy sources such as fruit, vegetables or tubers.
Organic food is the best, but not really necessary unless you can afford it. It is always preferable to go for the less processed option. It is also important to stay away from gluten grains (this includes wheat). Read my article on gluten intolerance for more information.
There have been populations in the world who were incredibly healthy, both eating high carb and low carb diets, but what they all had in common was that they ate real food that they could acquire in nature.
Modern diseases like the metabolic syndrome seem to pop up in any population that consumes wheat, sugar, vegetable oils or processed foods, no matter how many carbs per day the people eat.
To sum up:
How many carbs per day
- Athletes: 200-250 grams per day, or more
- Weight Loss or Maintenance: 100-150 grams per day
- Extreme Weight Loss: Fewer than a 100 grams per day
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