How Many Carbs Can I Actually Eat To Lose Weight – Myth explained
Do you count carbs every day for weight loss?
Or maybe you are wondering how many carbs you can eat to lose weight?
There is a lot of information out there about the types and amount of carbs you should eat. This wave of information can be frustrating and confusing.
I’ve been on a low carb diet for 5 years, and I recently learned 6 reasons why I shouldn’t cut carbs which made me think I have to increase my carb intake for my health.
If you want to learn about How To Eat More Carbs to Lose Weight for a Happier Life, this post will answer all your questions!
Do you want to start eating more carbs AND lose weight? – Yes, please!!!
Let’s do it!
Why I decided to end my low-carb diet
I had an unhealthy and twisted relationship with carbs until recently for the past 5 YEARS. I suffered from a binge eating disorder in the past, and I constantly craved food high in fat and carbs, so I started to believe carbs were the CAUSE for my weight gain.
What changed my mind?
I learned that a low-carb diet has a great effect for a short time, but there are more drawbacks if you cut carbs in the long term.
I’m here to help you learn about WHAT KIND of carbs to eat, and HOW MANY carbs to eat for happy weight loss!
What are carbs?
When we think about carbs, the first thing we picture might be bread and pasta. However, you can find carbs in many different foods including healthy and unhealthy food.
- Whole grains
Healthy carb foods contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients (help with disease prevention).
- White bread
- Highly processed refined foods
The carbs contained in the unhealthy options can be easily digested by your body which will lead to weight gain, and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Why Do I Need to eat carbs?
If you are on a keto or any kind of low carb diet for a while, you may be thinking:
“Why do I need to eat more carbs!? I’ll gain weight from eating it!”
I totally understand. Carbs were my NEMESIS until very recently, and I believed they were the cause of my weight gain. But that may not be true. Let’s take a look at the basic function of carbs at first.
The basic function of carbs
The main function of carbohydrates is to provide us with energy.
Carbs are divided into three types; sugar, starches, and fiber. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins all provide energy to the body.
However, carbohydrates give the body the quickest form of energy.
Proteins and fats are much slower in their supply of energy to the body and are more helpful for growth and maintenance rather than activity. The main function of carbohydrates are to provide us with energy. Carbs are divided into three types; sugar, starches, and fiber.
Fiber is particularly helpful for
- Supporting gut health
- Managing healthy weight
- Reducing cholesterol
- Maintaining a healthy bowel
Carbs may not be the direct cause of weight gain
If you believe you will gain weight from eating carbs, this fact may be interesting for you.
A researcher group published a paper called Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates in 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
811 overweight adults were given different percentages of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The researchers designed the diets based on the guidelines of cardiovascular health, and participants followed the diet for 2 years.
- The first group was given 20% fat, 15% protein, and 65% carbs
- The second group was given 20% fat, 25% protein, and 55% carbs
- The third group was given 55% fat, 40% protein, and 45% carbs
- The last group was given 40% fat, 25% protein, and 35% carbs
All the participants lost 6 kg on average in 6 months, but they regained weight after 12 months. The result of weight loss was similar among participants in four diets. People lost 3kg on average compared to the initial stage of this experiment after two years.
Interestingly, participants on a high-carb diet(a diet with 65% of carbs) and a low-carb diet (a diet with 35% of carbs) showed similar weight loss. 2.9kg on average for the high-carb diet group and 3.4kg of weight loss on average for the low-carb diet group.
Many studies show a low-carb diet has a great effect in the short term but NOT in the long term. What’s worse, you can harm your health by cutting carbs in the long run.
You may be surprised to hear what I’m going to tell you…
May Slow Down Weight Loss
If you have been cutting carbs for while to lose weight, there is a chance that you are getting the opposite effect you want.
As I mentioned above, carbs can be divided by three types: sugar, fiber and starches. This means when you are on a low-carb diet, your fiber intake decreases, and it has a huge impact on your gut microbiome.
A research group from Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London examined how gut microbiomes and high-fiber intake can impact long-term weight loss. They selected 1632 healthy females and studied the relationship between weight gain and fiber intake.
They found lack of gut microbes diversity negatively impacts long-term weight gain, especially if your fiber intake is low in the diet.
They also found specific types of microbiomes have a big influence on weight gain, but this researcher group concluded that the complexity of gut microbes is the key to long-term weight loss.
If you continue to be on a low-carb diet in the long run, there is a chance for
- Sudden death
- Kidney damage
- Increased anxiety
- Increased Risks Of Inflammation And Colon Cancer
- Develop A Liver Problem
If you are interested to learn more in detail about the side effects of long-term low-carb diet, you may want to read the post I published last week! ➡️ Is A Low-Carb Diet Good For You? 6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Cut Carbs
How Many Carbs Should I Eat?
According to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where I’m getting training to be a Health Coach says,
25-30% of your plate should come from carbohydrate. More specifically, Whole Grains.
A lot of studies such as Harvard University School of Public Health, say your carbohydrate intake should be 45% to 65% of your total calorie intake, but I like these healthy place metrics better because calculating calories can be complicated, and I personally don’t promote calorie counting.
If you are interested in why calorie counting doesn’t work for weight loss, you can read this post I published ➡️ https://harukawrites.com/how-to-stop-counting-calories-obsessively/
I recommend you slowly increase your carb intake and see what amount feels right for you. Your body is not created the same as others. You have a different metabolism, different varieties and numbers of gut microbiomes, and activity levels.
So far, we learned that the increased amount of carbs doesn’t harm long-term weight loss. Rather we can benefit from eating the RIGHT KIND of carbs. Yes. The types of carbs you eat matter.
Let’s get to know more about what kind of carbs to eat for healthy weight loss!
What kind of carbs should I eat?
When it comes to what carbs to eat for healthy weight loss, you must have seen different websites mention different foods, and that might be confusing for you.
So I want to give you a simple solution.
Choose unprocessed food over processed food.
What does this mean?
According to a scientific research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, increased intake of refined carbohydrates and foods manufactured with added sugars are causing growing numbers of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and coronary artery disease.
Not only is processed food bad for your health, it becomes the cause of the weight gain.
So what should you eat more of? Instead of soda, fruit juice, chips, ice cream, sweetened breakfast cereals, packaged food, and white bread, eat more
- Whole grains
- Fresh fruits
There is still so much to know about what kind of whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruits, and beans to eat for healthy weight loss. I don’t wanna overwhelm you so I will keep discussing about foods in the upcoming posts!