Low carbohydrate diets can be very effective for weight loss, according to research.Reducing carbs tends to reduce your appetite and cause automatic weight loss, or weight loss without the need to count calories.

For some people, a low carb diet allows them to eat until fullness, feel satisfied, and still lose weight.The number of carbs a person should eat every day for weight loss varies depending on their age, sex, body type, and activity levels.

Why would you want to eat fewer carbs?

Some people reduce their daily carb intake with the aim of losing weight, cutting down to around 50–150 grams per day.

This diet restricts your intake of carbohydrates — including sugars and starches like bread and pasta — and replaces them with healthy fats, and vegetables.

Studies show that low carb diets can reduce a person’s appetite, lead to them eating fewer calories, and help them to lose weight more easily than in other diets, provided they maintain the diet.

In studies comparing low carb and low fat diets, researchers need to actively restrict calories in the low fat groups to make the results comparable, but the low carb groups are still usually more effective.

Low carb diets also have benefits that go beyond just weight loss. They can help to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides. They can also help to raise HDL (good) cholesterol and improve the pattern of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Low carb diets often cause more weight loss and improve health when compared to calorie-restricted, low fat diets that many people still recommend.

What counts as a low carb diet?

There’s no clear definition of exactly what constitutes a low carb diet, and what’s low for one person may not be low for the next.

An individual’s optimal carb intake depends on their age, gender, body composition, activity levels, personal preference, food culture, and current metabolic health.

People who are physically active and have more muscle mass can tolerate a lot more carbs than people who are sedentary. This particularly applies to those who do a lot of high intensity exercise, like lifting weights or sprinting.

Metabolic health is also a very important factor. People who fall into these categories are less able to tolerate a lot of of carbs.

How to decide your daily carb intake

If you simply remove the unhealthiest carb sources from your diet, such as refined wheat and added sugars, you’ll be well on your way to improved health.

There are no scientific papers that explain exactly how to match carbohydrate intake to individual needs. The following sections discuss what some dietitians believe about carb intake and weight loss.

Eating 100–150 grams per day

This is a moderate carb intake. It may work for people who are lean, active, and trying to stay healthy and maintain their weight.

It’s possible to lose weight at this — and any — carb intake, but you may also need to be aware of calorie intake and portion sizes to lose weight.

Carbs you can eat include:

  • all vegetables
  • several pieces of fruit per day
  • moderate amounts of healthy starches, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and healthier grains, like rice and oats

Eating 50–100 grams per day

This range may be beneficial if you want to lose weight while keeping some carb sources in the diet. It may also help to maintain your weight if you’re sensitive to carbs.

Carbs you can eat include:

  • plenty of vegetables
  • 2–3 pieces of fruit

before making any changes, because this diet can drastically reduce your need for medication.

Types of carbs and what to focus on

A low carb diet isn’t just about weight loss, it may also improve your health.

Low carb junk foods are often unhealthy.

If you want to improve your health, choose unprocessed foods such as:

  • lean meats
  • fish
  • eggs
  • vegetables
  • nuts
  • avocados
  • healthy fats

Choose carbohydrate sources that include fiber. If you prefer a moderate carb intake, try to choose unrefined starch sources, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, oats, and brown rice.Added sugars and other refined carbs are always unhealthy options, it’s recommended that you limit or avoid them.

Another thing that insulin does is to tell the kidneys to retain sodium. This is the reason high carb diets can cause excess water retention.It’s common for people to lose a lot of water weight in the first few days on a low carb diet. Some dietitians suggest you might lose up to 5–10 pounds (2.3–4.5 kg) this way.

Weight loss will slow down after the first week, but your fat mass may continue to decrease if you maintain the diet.


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