Diet culture and the weight loss industry, in general, tend to vilify carbohydrates, convincing you that eating them will make you gain weight or that they are ‘bad’ for you.
In reality, carbs have many health benefits and are essential for a healthy and balanced diet. Most importantly, they are tasty and comforting.
Here we will explore whether or not you can lose weight whilst still eating carbs and if that is possible how to do so.
What Are Carbs?
Carbs or carbohydrates are a macronutrient that can be found in many different foods and drinks.
There are two types of carbs, those that naturally occur in many plant-based foods and those that are added to processed foods in the form of starch or added sugar.
The most common foods we refer to as carbs are grain-based such as bread, tortilla wraps, cereals, and so on. Carbs also naturally occur in fruit, vegetables, milk, seeds, and nuts.
Therefore, calculating your carbohydrate intake can be a little challenging.
Do You Need Carbs?
Carbs provide the body with glucose which is then converted into energy to power our bodily functions and enable us to do physical activity.
This doesn’t have to be a strenuous exercise or hike, it just means you have enough energy to get on with your daily tasks.
So yes, carbs are essential to help your body function properly.
It is recommended by The Dietary Guidelines for Americans that carbs should make up 45% to 65% of their daily calories.
The average American woman needs between 1,800 and 2,400 calories per day. A woman eating 1,800 calories per day should ensure that around 810 of those calories are carbs.
How To Lose Weight And Still Eat Carbs
When trying to lose weight, it’s important to eat a calorie deficit which means you need to consume fewer calories than you’re burning or you need to make your calorie output greater than your input.
Balancing your calories is the key to wapping into fat resources and losing weight, not the fact you’ve had a piece of toast.
Calculating Your Body’s Carb Intake
Calculating the amount of carbohydrates your body needs is easy to do using a simple equation and can help with fat loss.
It’s important to note that everyone’s carbohydrate intake will be slightly different and will be affected by various factors.
First, 2g of protein per kilogram of body weight is needed, e.g. 100g protein for 50kg weight.
You’ll need enough healthy fats for good health and to suit your food preferences, this should be at least 45g.
The carbs should then make up the rest of your calorie intake for the day.
Multiply your protein number by 4 (100 x 4) as there are 4 calories per gram of protein and the fat number by 9 (45 x 9).
In total, this gives you 804 which should be subtracted from your fat-loss calorie intake. This remaining number is the number of calories that can be allocated to carbohydrates.
Finally, divide the carbohydrate number by 4 to find the number of grams of carbs you could eat and still lose fat from being in a caloric deficit.
Protein: 50 kg x 2g = 100, 100 x 4 cal = 400
Fats: 45g x 9 = 405
405 + 400 = 805
1,800 (calorie intake) – 805 = 995
995/4 = 248.75
This may seem tedious and unnecessary yet, this has proven to be effective over decades of people trying to lose weight and is backed by scientific evidence.
Once you get into the rhythm of doing these calculations and figure out what works best for you, you’ll be able to eat carbs and maintain your weight loss.
When To Eat Carbs
Although you can eat your carbohydrate calories throughout the day, carbs are used to fuel your body, especially when exercising, and also helps to boost muscle recovery.
Therefore, it makes more sense to eat these carb calories at meals that occur around your most active times.
Breakfast and lunch are ideal for this as they are likely to fuel your most active parts of the day.
This could also occur pre or post-workout, such as dinner after you’ve been to the gym.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, just as long as you make sure you’re in an overall calorie deficit and you’ve got enough fuel in your body to enable you to exercise effectively.
Low Carb Diets
Low carb diets have been proven to be an effective way to lose weight as they can reduce your appetite and cause a certain amount of automatic weight loss.
Some people can adopt this type of diet and eat until fullness leaving them feeling satisfied.
As mentioned above, calculating the amount of carbs you should be eating to lose weight varies on the individual.
Variables such as age, sex, body type, and activity levels determine the number of carbs a person should eat each day in order to lose weight.
What is considered a low-carb diet for some, won’t be considered the same for others as a result of our differences.
Those that are used to highly intense exercise such as weight lifting or sprinting are more adapted to handle a lot of carbs as they have a greater muscle mass.
Those with health concerns such as type 2 diabetes have more complex needs when it comes to diet and therefore the appropriate carb intake for them will be different.
It’s evident that you can still eat carbs and lose weight, hooray! No one wants to give up their favorite cereal or lunchtime bagel.
The amount of carbs an individual can eat in order to maintain weight loss will differ depending on a multitude of factors so what works for someone else may not work for you.
Calculating what works best for your body and lifestyle is essential.
We hope you found this article interesting and informative!