Carbohydrate gram counters are one tool used by people who count carbs for various reasons. Of these reasons, one of the most popular is weight loss, but there is more to counting carbs than reaching your right weight.
Why Count Carbs
When it comes to counting carbs for weight loss, it is different than counting calories. Low carb foods include many foods higher in calories or fat, like cheese, that would be forbidden or limited on a calorie restricted diet. For this reason, some dieters find it easier to follow a low carb diet because they don't feel deprived.
Diabetics often count carbs in an effort to help keep their blood sugar levels under control. It is important for diabetics to talk with their healthcare provider or a registered dietician about diet specifics. Eating carbs increases blood glucose levels. For diabetics, knowing how many carbohydrates are eaten can provide an accurate estimate as to what blood glucose levels will result from eating certain foods.
Many athletes also count carbs to be sure they're feeding their bodies enough dietary fuel for their rigorous lifestyle. Unlike those who limit carbs for weight loss, athletes count carbs to make sure they get enough. Team USA.org states that endurance athletes who eat a high-carbohydrate diet are able to exercise longer than their counterparts who restrict carbs and eat a high fat diet. However, a high-carbohydrate diet is not recommended as a long term eating plan, because the body will become accustomed to burning only carbs for energy instead of fatty acids found in fats.
Foods that Contain Carbohydrates
While all foods have some calorie content, with few exceptions, the carbohydrates we eat mostly come from three types of food:
Carbohydrates other than fiber are changed by our system into sugar which the body uses as fuel. Aside from the above, other foods also contain carbohydrates. Vegetables provide low-carbohydrate options and meats provide very low carbohydrate options.
Carbohydrate Gram Counters and Other Tools
Carbohydrate gram counters and a variety of other tools are available to help people become aware of the carb content of the foods they eat as well as providing a better understanding of how many carbs are considered healthy. These tools can be found online. Here are a few examples:
- Carbcounter.net: Carbcounter.net provides an easy to use carb calculator that lets users look up foods by category in alphabetical order and offers an option that allows you to list high or lower carb foods first.
- Atkins Carb Counter Chart: This comprehensice carb counter chart can be printed out and carried in your bag as a convenient tool to be used when on-the-go.
- Number of Carbs You Need: These formulas take into account your size, including whether or not you are overweight, how much you should weigh and the size of your frame and uses the information to help formulate an eating plan based your specific physical needs.
How Many Carbs Should You Eat?
The number of carbs you should eat will depend on your nutritional needs. Most experts suggest about 60 percent of calories eaten in a day should be carbohydrates. This means a person who needs 2,000 calories a day should take in 300 grams of carbohydrates a day. While diets tend to be low calorie or low carb, in fact, the two are connected. Whether you plan to count calories or carbs, talk with your doctor or a dietician to draw up an eating plan designed for your specific needs.