Getty Images Elena_Danileiko  04] Question: What is the first thing you think about when you want to lose weight?
Carbohydrates, right? I mean, the most popular diets, like Whole30 or the Keto Diet, are currently focused on limiting carbohydrate intake, and they seem to get pretty good results. So it only makes sense that if you want to lose weight, you should first take carbohydrates out of your diet.
But cutting carbohydrates also seems to be very hard (pasta! Bread! Cereal!). Fortunately, there's no need to mix carbohydrates to lose weight – in fact, most people can lose weight without drastically reducing carbohydrates, says Christy Brissette, RD, owner of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago.
What exactly are carbohydrates and? What do you do?
Carbohydrates are nutrients and, according to the US National Library of Medicine, the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system converts carbohydrates into glucose (also sugar), which your body then uses as energy for your cells, tissues and organs.
Carbohydrates are also divided into two distinct categories: simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates include dairy, fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes.
Your body tends to digest simple carbohydrates faster, while complex carbohydrates are a longer-lasting source of energy. But you need both types of carbohydrates for a balanced diet, by the way.
How many carbohydrates should I eat daily to lose weight?
Dietary guidelines recommend getting between 45 and 65 percent of the daily calories from carbohydrates, says Brissette. For example, if you take 1,800 calories a day, that's between 203 and 293 grams of carbs per day.
"Draining carbohydrates below this level is not recommended for most people, as they all get their vitamins and minerals are far more demanding every day," says Brissette.
With this in mind, you may need to make some changes to find the best place for you and your weight loss goals. Liz Blom, RD, Minnesota Nutrition and Wellness Coach.
It suggests consuming about 45 percent of your daily carbohydrate calories when trying to lose weight, and using a tool like MyFitnessPal to track your intake. If you do not lose weight after the first week, you can try to lose weight, says Blom. Conversely, if you lose weight but feel very slow, you should increase your high carbohydrate intake and see how you feel and how your weight reacts.
However, you probably want to make sure that your carbohydrate intake does not exceed 65 percent of your daily calorie intake, says Blom. "This leaves less room for protein and healthy fat intake, which will support satiety (feeling full) and other weight loss benefits," she says.
The key to maintaining carbohydrate delivery is to load up wholesome varieties of carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and even dairy products, and keep your portions in check, says Blom. These healthy carbohydrate sources are also filled with fiber that will fill you faster and dampen your appetite better than pasta and donuts.
Can you eat too few carbohydrates?
The amount of carbohydrates you need varies from person to person, says Brissette. Some people report that they feel better on a lower carbohydrate diet while others feel exhausted and can not function well. It is also known that carbohydrates increase athletic performance, especially at high intensity.
"Athletes need carbohydrate-rich foods to store more glycogen in their muscles to power their working muscles. They also need a source of fast-burning carbs during intense exercise or endurance training and more post-workout carbs to replenish and recover, "she says.
Also important: Eating too little carbohydrate (under 100 grams per day) could potentially affect your memory, according to the Institute of Medicine according to the USDA. Brissette can also drastically reduce carbohydrates in your mood.
"Carbohydrates are your brain's preferred source of energy and boost the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that lifts your mood and makes you happy," says Brissette. "Because of this, low-carb diets are associated with a higher risk of depression."
Instead of going on a low-carb diet like the keto diet to lose weight, Brissette encourages their clients to focusing on minimizing complex carbohydrates, reducing portion sizes and increasing the amount of non-starchy vegetables.