How Much Carbs Per Day to Lose Weight
Carbohydrate intake remains a controversial issue when it comes to weight loss and fitness. So how many carbohydrates should you eat to lose weight?
Carbs can be bad for a number of reasons. First, they’re usually highly processed. In fact, of all the foods we eat, carbohydrates are often the most processed. If we look at flour, for example, all white flours have been stripped of most of their nutrients, including the parts that contain vitamins, fibre, and protein. When you eat bleached or white flour, it’s digested very quickly and converted into sugar.
But even other grains found in cereals side dishes can be highly processed. So when you do eat carbs, it’s important to go whole grain. “Whole wheat” usually isn’t enough, as the nutrients in this case have simply been “put back” after being removed. “Whole grain whole wheat flour” or simply “100% whole grain” is what you’re looking for.
Breads and pastas also have a lot of sugar added to them, in addition to their natural sugar content, which we know is bad for weight loss. Corn is another culprit, despite the fact that it’s whole grain. And remember, sugar is a carb itself, so watch your labels. This is why you should also be careful with eating too much fruit. Although often rich in vitamins, it’s more effective for weight loss if you get these vitamins from vegetables.
So, how many carbs should you eat per day to lose weight?
The recommended daily intake of carbs for weight loss is anywhere from 70 to 100 grams per day. The lower end (70 grams of carbs daily) is appropriate when adopting only diet and moderate exercise. If you’re also lifting weights and training at the gym, then 150-200 grams of carbs per day is more appropriate. Your body will need these extra carbs for fuel and replenishing your muscles.
That’s an important point to keep in mind, and why I’m not a big supporter of “no-carb” diets. Your body needs some carbohydrates for energy production and for proper digestion of protein. This is why it’s important to consider all other lifestyle factors before starting a low-carb diet.
To get a handle on these numbers, the average slice of bread contains 12.7 grams of carbs, while a bagel can have as much as 38 carbs!
Where else are carbs hidden?
In addition to the obvious places (grains and sugary foods), there are a few other foods to watch out for in terms of carbohydrate content. These are especially important if you’re supplementing with a lot of protein.
The first is protein shakes and smoothies. Some of the smoothies you buy from grocery and supplement stores contain all of your daily carbohydrate intake, so be careful! But you should also watch out for protein powders and mixes. Here are some of the best, low-carb options I recommend (as low as 5 grams of carbs per serving):
The same is true for protein bars. I would recommend investing in a high quality, low-carb bar like Myoplex LIte Bars. At 26 grams of carbs this is far lower than some of the most recognized brands like Cliff Bars which have upwards of 40-50 grams of carbs.
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