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How Many Carbs a Day Should You Eat to Lose Weight?

Published April 02, 2019
Kate Sullivan

Written By: Kate Sullivan, MS

Kate holds a MS in Business Psychology and is currently a PHD researcher in Well-Being and Performance Psychology.

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Kate Sullivan, MS" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/03/How_Many_Carbs_a_Day_Should_You_Eat_to_Lose_Weight.jpg" } }, "headline":"How Many Carbs a Day Should You Eat to Lose Weight?", "datePublished":"2019-04-02", "dateModified": "2019-10-11", "description":"Determining how many carbs a day you should eat to lose weight for your body type—and your long-term health goals—doesn’t have to be a guessing game.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/03/How_Many_Carbs_a_Day_Should_You_Eat_to_Lose_Weight.jpg" } </script> <script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What Are Carbohydrates?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Carbohydrates—carbs for short—are a type of macronutrient that contributes starch or sugar to a diet. The caloric value that carbs add to your diet is one gram of carbs to four calories. Choosing the right type of carbohydrates can help you lose weight faster." } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "What Is Considered a Low-Carb Diet?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "With a low-carb diet, you consume a smaller amount of carbohydrates and replace that gap in calories by eating a larger amount of fat. That’s why you often see a low-carb diet, or the keto diet, referred to as a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF). Following a diet that isn’t high in carbs allows your blood sugar levels to even out and your body to reduce its levels of insulin, a fat-storing hormone. This means that your body will increase its fat burning; leaving you feeling fuller for longer, have higher levels of energy and mental clarity, and of course—experience weight loss. Just for extra clarification, here’s a small list of foods that are safe to eat on a low-carb diet versus the foods you should stay away from:" } }, { "@type": "Question", "name": "How Many Carbs Should I Eat to Lose Weight on the Keto Diet?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The number of grams of carbs you should be eating a day depends on your activity level and lifestyle. Most low-carb diets fall in between 40 to 60 grams a day. Though people who are looking to follow along with the ketogenic diet should try to keep their net carbs under 30 net grams a day. For keto, it isn’t even unheard of to limit daily net carb consumption to between 10 net grams to 20 net grams.”" } }] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Are Carbohydrates?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Is Considered a Low-Carb Diet?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">How Many Carbs Should I Eat to Lose Weight on the Keto Diet?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Good Luck With Your Low-Carb Weight Loss!</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Determining how many carbs a day you should eat to lose weight for your body type—and your long-term health goals—doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Following a low-carb lifestyle, like the ketogenic diet, is a simple and efficient way to lose weight. Creating a healthier life for yourself without using diet pills or weight-loss surgery. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-holding-measuring-tape-around-waist-0125.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-holding-measuring-tape-around-waist-0125.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-holding-measuring-tape-around-waist-0125.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/man-holding-measuring-tape-around-waist-LR-0125.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="man-holding-measuring-tape-around-waist"> </picture> <p>But, how many carbs should I eat to lose weight on the keto diet? How many carbs constitute a low-carb diet? We’re going to dive straight into everything you need to know about losing weight by following a diet that advocates consuming less carbs.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section1"> <h2>What Are Carbohydrates?</h2> <p>Carbohydrates—<i>carbs</i> for short—are a type of macronutrient that contributes starch or sugar to a diet <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.livescience.com/51976-carbohydrates.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">1</a></sup>. The caloric value that carbs add to your diet is one gram of carbs to four calories <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.livestrong.com/article/303715-how-many-calories-equal-a-carb/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">2</a></sup>. Choosing the right type of carbohydrates can help you lose weight faster. </p> <h3>Good Versus Bad Carbs</h3> <p>So, are all carbs bad? No macronutrient is bad, but anything eaten in an unhealthy proportion can have detrimental side effects. You can find carbs in a huge variety of foods, such as ice cream, vegetables, bread, beans, grains, and milk. All forms of carbohydrates provide your body with a source of fast, easy energy as compared to the energy your body pulls from fat or protein. </p> <p>The difference between the carbs found in ice cream versus the carbs found in vegetables is the complexity of the carbs. In ice cream, you’ll find <i>monosaccharide</i> carbs, which are the simplest forms of sugar <sup><a target="_blank" href="http://www.nutrientsreview.com/carbs/monosaccharides-simple-sugars.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">3</a></sup>. They break down in your body quickly and cause a spike in blood sugar. This is what gives you that “sugar rush” high and then leaves you tired after you crash. </p> <p>On the other hand, vegetables are <i>polysaccharide</i> carbs <sup><a target="_blank" href="http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/1biochem/carbo5.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>. This type of carb—in foods such as peas, beans, and sweet potatoes—is complex. Complex carbs take more energy for your body to break down and don’t cause a large spike in blood sugar levels <sup><a target="_blank" href="http://chemed.chem.purdue.edu/genchem/topicreview/bp/1biochem/carbo5.html" rel="nofollow noreferrer">4</a></sup>. </p> <p>We measure both simple and complex carbs using the <i>Glycemic Index</i> scale. This scale ranks the complexity of carbs found in a food from zero to 100 by gauging how much it causes the blood sugar to rise after consumption <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/what-is-glycemic-index" rel="nofollow noreferrer">5</a></sup>. Simple sugars cause your blood sugar to rapidly spike after you eat them. Which is why foods such as ice cream, white bread, and cookies rank higher than vegetables on the Glycemic Index scale. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/spaghetti-on-plate-0125.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/spaghetti-on-plate-0125.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/spaghetti-on-plate-0125.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/spaghetti-on-plate-LR-0125.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="spaghetti-on-plate"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section2"> <h2>What Is Considered a Low-Carb Diet?</h2> <p>With a low-carb diet, you consume a smaller amount of carbohydrates and replace that gap in calories by eating a larger amount of fat. That’s why you often see a low-carb diet, or the keto diet, referred to as a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF).</p> <p>Following a diet that isn’t high in carbs allows your blood sugar levels to even out and your body to reduce its levels of <i>insulin</i>, a fat-storing hormone <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/hormones/insulin" rel="nofollow noreferrer">6</a></sup>. This means that your body will increase its fat burning; leaving you feeling fuller for longer, have higher levels of energy and mental clarity, and of course—experience weight loss. </p> <p>Just for extra clarification, here’s a small list of foods that are safe to eat on a low-carb diet versus the foods you should stay away from:</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/high_carb_vs_low_carb_infographic.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/high_carb_vs_low_carb_infographic.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/high_carb_vs_low_carb_infographic.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/high_carb_vs_low_carb_infographic-LR.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="high_carb_vs_low_carb_infographic"> </picture> <p>When you’re first getting started with a low-carb diet, your main focus should be watching the grams of carbs you consume on a daily basis. This diet doesn’t strictly follow caloric intake to lose weight. Make sure you eat when you’re hungry and you’ll still find that your body weight will drop. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/veggie-kabobs-on-grill-0125.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/veggie-kabobs-on-grill-0125.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/veggie-kabobs-on-grill-0125.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/veggie-kabobs-on-grill-LR-0125.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="veggie-kabobs-on-grill"> </picture> <p>Typically, a low-carb diet consists of consuming between 20 to 60 grams of carbohydrates <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-most-common-low-carb-mistakes" rel="nofollow noreferrer">7</a></sup>. This basically breaks down to 80 to 240 carb calories a day for a 2,000-calorie diet. For comparison, the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/the-ugly-truth-behind-the-standard-american-diet/" rel="noreferrer">standard American diet</a> suggests that the average Americans consume between 900-1,300 calories carbs a day for a 2,000-calorie diet.</p> <p><i>Need a better understanding of what foods are keto-friendly? Check out our list <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-fiber-foods-5-fiber-rich-foods-to-add/" rel="noreferrer">here</a> of low-carb foods that are high-fiber and keto-approved!</i></p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section3"> <h2>How Many Carbs Should I Eat to Lose Weight on the Keto Diet?</h2> <p>The number of grams of carbs you should be eating a day depends on your activity level and lifestyle. Most low-carb diets fall in between 40 to 60 grams a day. Though people who are looking to follow along with the ketogenic diet should try to keep their net carbs under 30 net grams a day. For keto, it isn’t even unheard of to limit daily net carb consumption to between 10 net grams to 20 net grams <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://ketologic.com/keto-faqs/how-many-carbs-a-day-for-ketosis/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">8</a></sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-vegetables-table-0125.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-vegetables-table-0125.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-vegetables-table-0125.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/keto-vegetables-table-LR-0125.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="keto-vegetables-table"> </picture> <h3>What Are Net Carbs?</h3> <p>Net carbohydrates are the number of carbs left over after subtracting the grams of fiber that a serving of food has from the total amount of carbs per serving <sup><a target="_blank" href="https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/what-are-net-carbs" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9</a></sup>. For example, if a serving of avocado has four grams of total carbs and three grams of fiber, you would subtract the three grams of fiber from the four grams of carbs—four minus three—to get one net gram of carbs per serving. </p> <p>The number of net grams of carbs that a certain food has can help you identify the impact that consuming the food would have on your blood sugar levels. Fiber is a carbohydrate produced by plants that we can’t process because of a lack of enzymes. Which means that fiber passes through your digestive system without affecting your blood sugar levels. </p> <h3>Why Am I Not Experiencing Weight Loss on the Keto Diet? </h3> <p>Cutting your carb intake is a great way to work towards a goal of weight loss. If you discover that you’re not losing weight after having reduced your carbohydrate intake, take a second to look at your caloric intake. While the keto diet doesn’t require calorie restriction, you should be aware that you’re not overconsuming calories either.</p> <p>If you have figured out what your macronutrients are by using a nutrition calculator, you should have also received a calculated value for how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis. Overconsuming your basic caloric needs leads to weight gain, even if you have reduced your carbohydrate intake.</p> <p>So, while caloric intake does matter on the ketogenic diet, you shouldn’t focus on restricting your caloric intake. As a general rule of thumb, five percent of your daily caloric intake should be from carbohydrates, 20 to 30 % from protein, and 70 to 80 % from fat. Don’t forget that drinking a lot of water to help break down your fat is also an essential part to losing weight on the ketogenic diet. </p> <p>Weight loss on keto or a low-carbohydrate diet is completely possible, so don’t give up! </p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/will-i-lose-weight-on-keto/" rel="noreferrer">Here’s more</a> about what you should expect with your weight-loss journey following the ketogenic diet. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section4"> <h2>Good Luck With Your Low-Carb Weight Loss!</h2> <p>Stop playing the guessing game with your macros and use a free macro calculator to track how many grams of carbs you should be consuming per day. Go check out <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made’s</a> <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/" rel="noreferrer">diet</a> section to learn more about how you can utilize a low-carb diet to lose weight!</p> </section> </article>

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