Low carb diets restrict the amount of carbohydrates you consume. The diets consist of lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and small amounts of fruit and grains. In this type of diet, you decrease your consumption of high-calorie, high carb foods such as cakes, potato chips, breads, and pasta. However, you still consume low carb, nutrient rich foods like brown rice and certain fruits. Most low carb diets do not focus on calories, making it a good option for individuals who find calculating and tracking their daily caloric intake.
Benefits of Low-Carb Eating
Besides weight loss, there are other health benefits to eating a low carb diet. Low carb diets help to eliminate abdominal fat. Triglycerides are also lowered through a low carb diet. HDL, also known as the good cholesterol, is raised. There is a reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels which is particularly beneficial to people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Low carb diets significantly lower blood pressure. It lowers symptoms of metabolic disorder. LDL, or the bad cholesterol, levels are lowered. Low carb diets also help to support several brain functions.
Some people cut carbs too low. Carbohydrates are important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Rather than trying to eliminate all carbs from your diet, focus on eliminating processed carbs. Also, some low carb eating plans, such as the Atkins diet, do not limit the amount of fat a person consumes. Low carb, high fat diets can increase the risk of certain health conditions like heart disease.
How Many Carbs to Eat?
There are many suggested amounts on the internet listed for the number of calories one should consume each day to lose weight. This range is anywhere from 50-150 grams per day. Diets containing less than 50 grams per day are known as a ketogenic diet. In this type of diet, the body relies on burning fat as a source of fuel instead of using glycogen as its primary energy resource. While this fact may sound appealing to those seeking to lose weight, it is important to note that such a low quantity for carb consumption may lead to certain health issues. These issues include, but is not limited to, hair loss, gastrointestinal upset, hypoglycemia, muscle soreness, low platelet counts, kidney stones, and increased risk of bruising. In addition, extremely low carbohydrate consumption can result in mood swings and menstrual irregularities.
Figuring out the optimal carb intake is dependent upon five main factors. These factors are: age, gender, activity level, body composition, and present metabolic health. There are several carb calculators available online to help you determine your personal optimal carb intake. If you don’t want to go through all of that, you can simply follow these guidelines:
- For a very low carb diet, consume less than 10% of your calories per day in the form of carbohydrates. This is typically less than 65 grams for men and less than 50 grams for women. This diet would fall into the ketogenic diet category, so use it with extreme caution.
- With a low carb diet, you would consume between 10-15% of your calories in carbohydrate form. This is about 65-100 grams for men and 50-75 grams for women
- In a moderate carb diet, calorie consumption ranges are between 15-30% of daily calories. This is approximately 100-200 grams per day for men and 75- 150 grams per day for women.
- Anything hire than 30% carbohydrate consumption rate is considered a high carbohydrate diet. So, anything higher than 200 grams per day for men and greater than 150 grams per day for women would be considered high carb diets.
- Include healthy fats in your diet.
- Eat whenever you’re hungry.
- Eliminate, or at least, reduce processed and refined foods.
- Read labels. Not all brands of the same food item contain the same number of carbs.
- Clear your pantry of high carb items.
- Don’t skip meals.
- Plan meals ahead.
- Eliminate sodas. Soda drinks contain high volumes of carbohydrates.
- Limit fruit juice.
- Consume plenty of high fiber vegetables to reduce the risk of constipation.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Use a food diary.
Research shows that most people who chose a low carb diet do lose some weight. Comparing low carb diets to low fat diets, low carb dieters typically see more results and see them faster. However, research also shows that the weight loss may not be long term. Some dieters resume their normal carb consumption once they reach their goal weight. When they do this, the weight often reappears. Other times, the person’s body adjusts to the reduced intake of carbs, making it more challenging to lose weight. When choosing low carb dieting as your preferred weight loss method, it is important to continue to track your carb intake, even after you have lost the amount of weight you set out to. Pay attention to your weight. Increase and decrease carbs as necessary to maintain your goal weight.
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