Most people believe that limiting the number of carbohydrates a day is the way to lose weight. It is, but it differs between men and women. Reducing the quantity of carbohydrates means that weight is reduced, and you can still eat until that feeling of satisfaction and fullness is achieved. Let’s take a look at what a low carbohydrate diet consists of and how many carbs that a person should have a day in order to lose weight.A Low Carb Diet
A low carbohydrate diet means that the person limits the amount of highly digestible carbs, (such as sugar, pasta, and bread) and increases the foods that have a higher percentage of moderate proteins and fats (such as beef, poultry, shellfish, cheese, eggs, nuts, fish, and seeds) and increasing foods low on carbs such as fruits, assorted berries, and vegetables. The amount of carbohydrates allowed in a low-carb diet varies with the diet.Ketogenic Diets
The low-carb diets are called “ketogenic” diets because they restrict the quantity of carbohydrates that is ingested which puts the body in a state of “ketosis”. This is a metabolic state in which most of the body’s supply of energy comes from the ketone bodies which are the water-soluble molecules produced by the liver and fatty acids. These ketone bodies replace glucose as the means to provide energy. In normal diets, the levels of ketones are regulated by insulin and glucagon which provides the normal supply of “food” (energy) for the cells.Determining Carbs
One of the most well know low-carb diets is the Atkins Diet. This diet requires knowing the quantity of carbohydrates that are in everything that is eaten. Let’s take a look at some general rules of thumb for carbs:
Recommended Carb Count
- Four categories of fruits and vegetables:
- Leafy veggies: These have the least amount of carbs, but are rich in phytonutrients, include spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, cabbage, and kale.
- Stems and flowering vegetables: These have low carb count and include veggies in which the stem and flower are predominantly sued, such as asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, and mushrooms.
- Fruits: These have a moderate amount of carbs and is the part of the fruit that contains the seeds. These include squash, peppers, tomatoes, okra, watermelon, citrus, green beans, eggplant, and other traditional fruits.
- Roots: These typically have the highest amount of carbs and include parsnips, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams. However, some roots, including jicama, carrots, radishes, and celery, are somewhat lower in carbs than the other roots.
- Low carb to higher carb vegetable counts are shown in this list (these are ½ cup portions):
- Some of the lowest carb counts include Spinach (0.2), Lettuce (0.5), Radish (0.5) Bok Choy (0.7), Celery (0.8), Mushroom (1.0), Garlic (1.0 for one clove), Cabbage (1.1), Broccoli (1.7) and Celery (1.8).
- Higher carb veggies include Parsnip (9.0), Brussel Sprouts (7.6), Artichoke (6.9), Beets (6.5), Peas (6.5), and Carrot (5.1).
- The rest fall in the mid-range and include Onions (4.0), Peppers, red and green (3.3 to 3.4), Rutabaga (4.0), Zucchini (3.3), and Tomato (3.2).
- Low carb to higher carb fruit counts are sown in this list (these are in ¼ cup portions):
- Some of the lowers carb counts include Avocado (0.5), Coconut (1.3), and Watermelon (2.6).
- High carb fruits include Oranges (12.9), Plantain (12.0), Grapefruit (9.0), Peaches (8.9), Plum (7.6).
- The rest fall into the mid-range and include Pineapple (4.3), Cantaloupe (3.0), Apricot (3.1) Honeydew (3.6) and Cherries (4.2).
- There are also a variety of berries that are included in this list (these are also in ¼ cup portions):
- The highest berries include Boysenberries (13.0), Gooseberries (9.0), Huckleberries, (8.0).
- The lowers berries include Raspberries (1.5), Strawberries (1.8), Cranberries (2.0), and Blackberries (2.7).
- The rest fall into the mid-range and include Acai Berries (5.0), Elderberries (4.0) and Blue Berries (4.1).
Each low-carb diet varies for both men and women, but a general rule of thumb is that the intake of carbs should be less than 40% to 55% of the total quantity of calories for the day, with some diets recommending no more than 20%. Once you have determined the total number of calories a day that is required to lose weight, it’s easy to calculate the number of carbs allowed. For example:
- 1600 Calories per day means 720 calories from carbs, and 180g of carbs at 45%
- 1400 Calories per day means 630 from carbs, and 157g of carbs at 45%
- 1200 Calories per day means 630 from carbs, and 135g of carbs at 45%
The count is different for men and women and for each individual. Generally you have to work with the counts for a week or two in order to determine what works best.