There are several low carb diets that are making their way to popularity. After all, who can resist a diet that encourages you to eat bacon. However, some people take it to extremes and try to cut out carbs altogether. Just how many grams of carbs, do you actually need daily and what happens when you get too little? First, let’s start by discussing how the amount of carbs is determined and what makes a low carb diet. The amount you require is based on the percentage of calories from carbs. For traditional diets, that amount is 45 to 65%. Low carb diets can be as low as 10% of your calories from carbs.
What is a carb?
Carb is a shortened version of the word carbohydrate. It’s a macronutrient like protein or fat. There are two types of carbs. The first is the simple carbohydrate, such as sugar, which digests quickly and sends blood sugar skyrocketing. The second group is complex carbs. These tend to be healthy options, like fruits and vegetables. Most carbs come from plant sources, but there are some animal sources, such as dairy. It’s the lactose, which is a sugar found in milk.
You can calculate the amount of carbs you’re eating by using math.
If you want a traditional diet, calculate your caloric intake and then cut it in half for a diet that’s 50% carbohydrates or multiply it by 0.65 for a diet that’s 65% carbohydrates. Then divide that number by four. Why do you use four? That’s the number of calories in one gram of carbohydrate. So if you’re using a diet that has 50% carbs and you’re eating 2000 calories a day, 1000 calories should come from carbs, which is 250 grams of carbs. On a very low carb KETO diet, only 10% of your calories would come from carbs, so that’s 200 calories and 50 grams of carbs.
If you’re going low carb, eat healthy carbs.
As David Carradine used to say in the Kung Fu TV series, “Choose wisely, Grasshopper,” especially, when it comes to eating carbs on a low carb diet. Carbs aren’t really the enemy of weight loss and you definitely need them in your diet because they’re loaded with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Choosing ones that are complex, like fruits and vegetables and avoiding simple carbs like sugar, which are empty calories, is the key.
- Each person will have a different carbohydrate gram intake, which is based on their overall calorie intake.
- If you aren’t sure how many grams of carbohydrates a food contains, it’s easiest to use a list that shows how many grams. For processed foods, always read the label to find how many grams per serving.
- Not only is sugar a carb you should avoid, so is white bread and food made with bleached flour. Choose whole grain option, not only for the nutrients, but also the fiber that slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
- If you have a high activity level, you need to increase your carbs to do your best. Otherwise, you’ll be depleting your energy and not functioning your best. Snack on a protein/carb combination before and after a workout.
For more information, contact us today at LIV Fitness