Cutting down on carbohydrates can help you lose weight fast.
It can be easier than the strict portion control and counting calories, which many people find hard to maintain.
Reducing the amount of carbs in your diet can reduce your cravings for food and automatically help you lose weight.
What is a Low-Carb Diet?
There are lots of diet fads out there. For decades, so-called health authorities have suggested that you eat a low-fat, low-calorie diet in order to lose weight. That might sound like a great diet plan, but people rarely stick to it. (1, 2, 3)
A more effective solution is the low carbohydrate diet. If you cut down on sugary foods and starches such as breads, rice and pastas, and replace them with veggies, meats and fats, then you will see lasting results.
Low carbohydrate diets aren’t just for weight loss either. Some auxiliary benefits include a rise in good cholesterol (HDL) and lower blood sugar, triglycerides, lower blood pressure and lower levels of bad cholesterol, so-called LDH. (7, 8, 9, 10).
The science is clear. Low-carb diets improve overall health and stimulate weight loss. This is superior to calorie-restricted, low-fat and low-protein diets that are so popular in the mainstream media. (11, 12, 13).
Conclusion: Scientific studies support the value of low-carb diets over trendy, low-fat diets.
Figuring Out Your Optimum Carbohydrate Level
A person’s ideal caloric and carbohydrate level varies from person to person. Some influential factors include a person’s body type, age, gender and metabolism.
So it’s difficult to set a generalized benchmark of what makes up a low-carb diet.
Metabolic health is key. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and lack of exercise are the greatest determining factors of how much carbohydrate-rich foods are normal in a day.
Generally speaking, people who exercise more can tolerate more carbohydrates. People who live a more sedentary life will have a more difficult time processing carbohydrates.
Conclusion: The “perfect” carbohydrate level doesn’t exist. It depends on the person’s lifestyle, health conditions and body type.
Effective Plans for Different Activity Levels
Your first step to losing weight with a low-carb diet is to reduce or eliminate sugary foods and wheat (gluten). That’s just the beginning. Start slow and work your way up.
A good starting point for how many carbs you should try and stay under are:
100-150 Grams A Day
If you lead an active lifestyle or just need moderate results, then reduce your intake to the range of 100-150 grams a day.
Your optimum diet consists of all types of veggies and several servings of fruit. You can also eat some healthy starches such as potatoes, oats and rice as long as you control the portions.
50-100 Grams A Day
This level is great for people who have already seen great weight loss and want to keep the weight off.
Your optimum diet consists of several servings of vegetables and fruits per day.
To maintain your weight loss goals reduce your starchy carbohydrates to a minimum.
20-50 Grams A Day
If your goal is to lose weight fast, but you aren’t very active or exercising regularity, then this is the level for you.
Eating less than 50 grams of carbs a day triggers ketosis, a metabolic response that will reduce your appetite and help you automatically feel full.
Be sure to eat low-carb veggies and fruits such as carrots and berries. You can also supplement your carb intake with walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds.
Everybody is Different
Don’t forget that everybody is different. Try new foods and experiment with new recipes to find out what level is right for you. Be sure to drink plenty of water during this process and consult your doctor before starting any new diet or workout routine.
Conclusion: With regular exercise, a range of 100-150 grams a day works best for healthy individuals. For people who need to see faster results, drop your carbohydrate intake below 50 grams.
Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs
Just because you choose a low-carb diet doesn’t mean all carbs are created equal. Be sure to choose healthy, unprocessed foods and stay away from low-carb junk food.
So what are good carbs? lean protein-rich meats like chicken and fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes are some good examples.
What are bad carbs? Refined grains like pizza crust, pretzels, and potato chips.
For more information on specific foods, check out this detailed low-carb meal plan and sample menu.
Conclusion: Be selective. Eat fiber-rich, whole foods whenever possible and avoid the junk food that is devoid of nutritional value.
You Can Be A Fat-Burning Machine
Insulin is an important component to your weight loss equation. It’s a hormone that stores fat in your body. One of the benefits of a low-carb diet is its ability to lower the levels of insulin in your blood, thereby reducing the fat.
Insulin also regulates the amount of sodium retained in the kidneys. A low-carb diet cuts back on the insulin your body produces and you can start to see lots of water weight reduction in the first week. (14, 15).
When it comes to targeted weight loss, research shows that low-carb diets are especially effective at reducing that stubborn belly fat around the abdominal cavity that is so hard to get rid of.
Conclusion: Burning fat has more to do with body chemistry than exercise alone. Targeting specific hormones and problem areas will help you see results faster.
The Bottom Line
A low-carb diet is simple and effective. There are several tools to help you, as well, like this Free Carb Tracker App
Be sure to focus on net carbohydrates because grams of fiber don’t count toward your total carb intake.
You can start your low-carb diet by simply eating healthy proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables with every meal. Avoid processed foods and supplement your diet with walnuts, seeds and full-fat dairy products.