Low-carb diets are popular because they work, but what exactly does “low” mean? In this post, I’ll define low-carb and keto ranges, explain why the types of carbs that you eat matters, and help you determine the number of carb grams that you can eat and still lose weight.
How Many Carbs – At-A-Glance
- Every “body” is unique, the rate at which your metabolism runs is influenced by things like your age, muscle mass, genetics, and a host of hormonal issues.
- Not all carbs are created equal. You can eat a carb in its whole form or in a refined form. Refined carbs offer less hunger satisfaction than whole carbs.
- To help control hunger while cutting carbs, utilize a step-down method: Set your target to consume no more than 125 grams per day. Then work your way down over time.
How Many Carbs Can You Eat & Still Lose Weight? [Video]
In this post, you’ll learn…
- Low-carb and keto ranges.
- Why the type of carb that you eat matters.
- How many carbs you can eat per day while still losing weight.
How Many Carbs Can You Eat Per Day?
While there is no clearly defined range for a low-carb or keto diet, it is generally accepted that keeping your carb intake between 50 and 125 grams per day means that you are following a low-carb diet and reducing your daily carb intake below 50 grams pushes you into the keto range.
Low-carb diets work. But, does that mean that you can eat 125 grams a day and lose weight? The answer depends on a few factors, not the least of which is the speed of your metabolism. The rate at which your metabolism runs is influenced by things like your age, muscle mass, genetics, and a host of hormonal issues.
In other words, every “body” is unique, so you can’t point to one person and say, “he can eat 125 carbs and lose weight, but she can only eat 50”.
However, we can make generalizations. For instance, a physically active young person with some weight to lose may find that they can eat 125 grams of carbs per day and get consistent results.
A person over the age of 50 who has some hormonal or metabolic issues due to factors like being overweight for years may find that their body only responds when carbs are dropped below 30 grams.
Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs
It is also good to note that not all carbs are created equal. You can eat a carb in its whole form or in a refined form. The carbs you choose to eat will make a lot of difference in how comfortably you progress toward your goal.
For instance, a slice of white bread has about 15 grams of carbs, which is about the same amount found in this two and a half ounce serving of raw almonds.
If you eat the refined piece of bread, it will pass through your system very quickly and you will be hungry again very soon.
If you eat this large pile nuts, it will take a long time for your body to process the nutrients and hunger will be nowhere in sight for many hours to come.
It’s not a matter of calories. If the calories in the nuts were to match the calories of a slice of white bread, you’d only be eating about 12 almonds.
The hunger satisfaction, however, would still be greater with the nuts than with the slice of bread. As an added bonus, the 12 almonds only have about three grams of carbs compared to a whopping 15 grams in the bread.
Controlling Hunger While Cutting Carbs
How do you go about reducing your carb intake so your body burns fat, but doesn’t get derailed by hunger and cravings?
In my experience, there is wisdom in following a step-down method.
If you are just getting started and your diet is currently filled with refined carbs like bread, pasta, and the three C’s: cookies, cakes, and candies. Then you’ll likely find that you can drop some pounds quickly by simply swapping the refined carbs for whole carbs.
Once you have better carbs coming in, you can focus on counting carb grams with the goal being to start at a level that feels doable for you, and then stepping that level down to the point where your body consistently loses weight.
Extra Tips for Success!
If you find it too intimidating to drastically cut carbs, set your target to consume no more than 125 grams per day. Then work your way down over time.
Many people start to do well when they bring carbs down to 60 to 75 grams per day. Others may need to drop their carb intake lower. They may find that 25 grams or fewer results in consistent weight loss.
The trick is getting the nutrition in when the carb count goes down. You want to feed your body a variety of foods so that it gets what it needs to keep you healthy and feeling good.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.