Eat lower carb, not low carb or no carbs

lower carb dieting, not low carb diets

Whenever people ask me about losing weight and about carbs, I’ve found that people are mixing a lot of information up, and getting it wrong. I’ll try to simplify it.

Carbs play an important role in health and digestion, certain carbs are good and some are just plain bad for you. Zero or extremely low-carb diets should only be taken on for a few weeks (like for a fitness show or photos), or for those with a medical condition (like epilepsy, uncontrollable diabetes, or SIBO patients) while under a doctor’s supervision since extremely low carbohydrate diets lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and digestive issues.

A low-carb diet is vague and has no exact definition, so it can mean different things to different people. What I suggest is that people follow a healthy lower-carbohydrate diet, by that, I mean, don’t eat the way a typical American eats with a plateful of pasta with meatballs; a breakfast bagel with cream cheese, lox and orange juice; or a grilled cheese sandwich. Those meals have too much unhealthy, processed carbs and not enough protein. If the carbohydrate doesn’t grow in the field, on a plant, or on a tree, it’s processed and not good for your body. Instead, go for fruit, not juice (which isn’t fresh, pasteurized [heated], with pulp [fiber] removed); and eat vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, corn, and zucchini (great for making make noodles), a variety of beans, and some nuts (nuts are mostly fat, but contain carbs too). Healthy, whole-food carbohydrates are full of nutrients, fiber and protect us from disease. Eat your vegetables!

The amount of carbs you should eat per meal really depends on how many times a day you eat, if you’re overweight, underweight, if you’re male or female, how tall you are, how active you are, what medical conditions you have, and how old you are. According to the National Academy of Medicine, you don’t want to eat fewer than 135 grams of carbs on a daily basis, which is about four 1/2 cups plus ¼ cup of carbs (totaling 2 1/4 cups per day). So, if you eat four times a day, you’ll want to pair your lean protein with ½ cup of carbs, and one snack with ¼ cup of carbs (like a half of banana, an orange, or two figs).

I generally eat 135-150 grams of carbs each day, which I consider to be a lower-carbohydrate diet, and a great starting point for most females. For an active man that is 5’7 or taller, 165-200 grams of whole food carbs, should meet your nutritional needs.

When you change your diet from too few carbs, or too many processed carbs to an appropriate amount of whole-food, nutrient dense carbs, you’ll have a lot more energy, fewer digestive issues, preserve muscle, lose unnecessary fat, and feel and look much better.

Photo: Sweet potatoes are a high carbohydrate food, but are very healthy; just make sure to pair it with a lean protein, and don’t eat more than 1/2-3/4 cup per meal.

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