You know them well: pasta, bread, rice, potatoes. Called carbohydrates, or carbs, they are nutrients that many people try to reduce (or reduce) when trying to lose weight.
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But we need carbohydrates. It’s the main energy source for your body, especially your brain. Your digestive system breaks down quickly carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar) to nourish cells, tissues, and organs. Your body can use the glucose right away or store it for later use.
But some carbohydrates are better for your body than others. Knowing the difference and how much carbohydrates to eat each day can benefit your health. It might also help if you’re trying to shed extra pounds – and keep them away.
“Carbs have a bad reputation. But even for weight loss, you still don’t want to cut them all out. A lot of them contain fiber and other nutrients that are good for you,” says the registered dietitian. Annalize Pratt, RD. “It’s important to strike a balance, so you get the most benefits and stay healthy.”
How many carbohydrates should you eat to lose weight?
Carbohydrate needs vary from person to person. The amount you need Weight loss It depends on several factors such as your age, gender, and activity level.
The recommended percentage of your daily calories from carbohydrates is usually 45% to 65% of carbohydrates. contain carbohydrates 4 calories per gram. This means, if you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, you want 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates in your daily diet.
Losing weight requires you to burn more Calories than you consume. Experts say you should aim to burn 500 calories more than you eat each day. In terms of how many carbs to eat, Pratt says 100 to 150 grams of carbs are safe for most people trying to lose weight.
It may be better for some people to eat carbohydrates Constantly all day long. “You can also break it up evenly with 40 to 50 grams of carbs per serving,” she says. “For example, if you have a sandwich, two pieces of bread will give you about 30 grams. Lunch meat and cheese don’t add any carbs. If you have an apple with it, that will add 15 grams. In total, that would be about 45 grams of carbs.”
If you’re still hungry, Pratts suggests adding veggies or anything that contains healthy fats, like nuts. This way, you’re eating enough to fill them up but you’ve met your carb goal.
Calculate the amount of carbohydrates you need
To calculate the right amount of carbohydrates for you, use USDA DRI Calculator. It’s a well-established way to determine your nutritional needs, says Pratt, if you’re not on a weight loss diet.
The online calculator uses your height, weight, age, gender and activity level to show:
- body mass index (BMI).
- Estimate your daily calorie needs.
- Recommended macronutrient intake (carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fibres).
- Recommended micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and water intake.
Do I need more carbohydrates if I am very active or athletic?
yes. People who are physically active and have more muscle mass can tolerate more carbohydrates than others. Reducing your carbohydrate intake can lead to poor performance in exercise or sports, especially activities such as weightlifting or sprinting.
Athletes in particular need enough carbohydrates. If runners don’t have this storage of carbohydrates, they will suffer when they run for miles,” Pratt says. “This is why certain types of athletes, such as competitive runners and bodybuilders, use it. carb cycling And load up on carbohydrates before sporting events. If they don’t eat enough carbohydrates, their bodies will Use of protein for energyInstead of rebuilding and restoring their muscles.”
Are low-carb diets safe?
Low-carb diets involve limiting the carbohydrates you eat and drink and eating more protein and fat.
Pratt says low-carb diets are safe for most healthy people. But you still need about 130 grams of carbohydrates for your brain and nervous system to function at its best.
You may experience fatigue or other side effects if you don’t get enough carbohydrates. You also need to watch your saturated fat intake, which can lead to an increase in it cholesterol levels.
For most people, it’s best to take a more balanced approach to losing weight that increases your health in the long run, Pratt advises. Consume carbohydrates in moderation and avoid reducing your intake too much without medical supervision.
“If you decide to go on a low-carb diet, I recommend taking a vitamins To make sure you’re still meeting your vitamin and mineral needs.”
Who should not follow a low-carb diet?
Low-carb diets are not recommended for children or for those who:
- You exercise a lot or are athletic.
if you own diabeticTalk to your healthcare provider before starting a low-carb diet.
What are good carbohydrates to eat?
there Two broad classes of carbohydratesbased on their molecular structure and what they contain:
- simple (refined) carbohydrates They are mostly sugars and are not as healthy for your body as complex carbohydrates. It includes white bread, chips and biscuits.
- complex carbohydrates They are sugars but usually also provide other nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. They include whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and minimally processed whole fruits.
“Complex carbs are usually more filling and provide better blood sugar stability,” Pratt notes.
How do carbohydrates help lose weight?
Choosing carbohydrates wisely can help boost your weight loss efforts when combined with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Reducing your carbohydrate intake in general and replacing simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates and other healthy foods may help you:
1. Reduce your appetite
Complex carbs take longer to digest than simple carbs, so they may keep you satisfied and energized for longer. This can help you avoid snacking and possibly reduce your total calorie intake. Other nutrients often found in complex carbohydrates, such as protein or healthy fats, help you feel fuller more than simple carbohydrates.
2. Burn more calories
in one study, adults with a BMI of 25 or more who followed a low-carb, high-fat diet burned more calories per day than those who did not. This change in metabolism may be, in part, the result of hormonal responses to a change in diet.
3. Keep your blood sugar stable
Eating simple carbohydrates, especially those high in refined sugar, can raise blood sugar levels more than other nutrients. If you prefer to eat simple carbohydrates, eating less of them or replacing some of them with complex carbohydrate foods, may help control your blood sugar.
Healthy sources of carbohydrates
Whether your goal is to lose weight or just improve your overall health, focus on eating fewer simple, less nutritious carbohydrates such as:
- Breakfast foods and snacks with added sugar, such as cereal and granola bars.
- Sweets, baked goods and sweets including sweets.
- Dried fruits as well as fruit juice, jellies and jams.
- Packaged snack foods like chips, crackers (unless they’re whole grains), and crackers.
- Sweetened beverages, including soft drinks, lemonade, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
- sweeteners Like sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
- White bread and rice.
Instead, try eating more nutritious complex carbohydrates such as:
- Beans and legumes, including chickpeas, black beans and lentils.
- High-fiber vegetables such as green peas, broccoli, sweet potatoes or squash.
- Nuts or seeds, including peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
- Whole fruits with their skins (such as apples or peaches) or berries with seeds.
- Whole grains and starches, including rolled oats, barley, whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa or pasta.
Maintain the weight you lose
Reducing carbs to lose weight involves more than just watching your plate. After all, some of the rapid weight loss from following a low-carb diet comes from losing the water that carbohydrates contain.
It’s important to combine a balanced diet with exercise and change unhealthy behaviors or habits, Pratt says. Your health care provider, dietitian, or registered dietitian can make personalized recommendations based on your health, activity level, and goals.
“Low-carb diets can work in the short term for weight loss, but it generally takes more than cutting carbs to create and maintain a calorie deficit,” she explains. “Having a comprehensive plan to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight is the best formula for long-term success.”
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