If you've struggled to lose weight and can't seem to lose as much as you'd like and are considering cutting carbs, the place to start is to figure out how many carbs to rapidly lose weight in order to reach your goal.
Do You Know How Many Carbs to Rapidly Lose Weight?
The first step in modifying carbohydrate intake in order to lose weight is to really understand the kinds of carbohydrates in your diet and what they do to your body when you eat them. Once you know this, you can use a calorie or carbohydrate calculator to determine your baseline.
Types of Carbohydrates
When most people think of carbohydrates, they think of white bread, pastries, pasta and other "bad" carbs that cause rapid weight gain. However, these are only one form of carbohydrate. There are actually three types of carbs - starches, fiber and sugar.
- Starches can include vegetables like split peas and lentils, or it can include whole grain foods like long grain brown rice or oatmeal.
- Sugar encompasses the largest family of carbs that are the most damaging to dieters. Sugar is either an additive or naturally occurring. For example there is a lot of sugar in cookies or breakfast pastries, but the sugar in apples or oranges is natural.
- Fiber is found in foods that may also contain sugar, like fruits and vegetables, or it might exist in foods that are starchier, like whole grain breads, beans and nuts.
The fact that there are so many very healthy forms of carbohydrates means that while you can rapidly lose weight by cutting carbs, it's important that you carefully choose which carbs you cut or else you could introduce unbalanced nutrition into your diet. Doing so may make you lose weight, but you won't be healthy.
How Carbs Affect Your Body
In order to see how cutting all carbs out of your diet can negatively impact your health, you need to understand how each type of carbohydrate affects your body. Once you understand this, you can use the carb calculators to carefully and selectively remove the carbs from your diet that cause weight gain, while increasing the carbs that encourage weight loss. It's true, some carbs actually help you to lose weight! All carbohydrates, regardless of type, eventually break down into glucose, which acts as fuel for your muscles, your brain and other organs. Any of that energy that's not used turns into glycogen, which acts as a short term supply of energy that gets stored in your liver. If you've eaten so many carbs at once that your body can't immediately use as fuel or for glycogen, it gets deposited throughout your body as fat. While all food is ultimately converted to energy and can eventually turn into fat, certain types of carbs speed up that process and other types slow it down.
- Starchy carbohydrates - When you eat starchy carbs, you're providing your body with almost immediate energy. This is very important in your diet whenever you're about to exercise or perform any other high energy task because in order to operate efficiently, your muscles need glycogen. When the body has to immediately revert to using stored fat because your glycogen stores are low, you'll end up tired and without enough energy to perform the exercise or task well at all. A small amount of starch in your diet a little while before a strenuous workout will give your body a kick-start to start burning fuel and also burning calories. With that said, starchy carbs are healthy and important in very small amounts just before strenuous activity, but as a category of carbs to cut they are a good choice.
- Sugar - Sugar is a form of carbohydrate that requires the least digestion to convert to energy. This means that sugar will take the fastest route from your mouth to your thighs (or wherever you usually gain weight). While this is the primary category of carbs you should look to cut, it's even okay to have sugar on occasion. The same rule applies as with starchy carbs - if you're about to perform a strenuous activity, then your muscles are going to burn through that fuel. However it should be used the most sparingly because of its impact on your insulin and because it could make you even hungrier later in the day if it isn't balanced with fiber or protein to temper the glycemic spike.
- Fiber - This is the most important carb in your diet for the simple reason that these carbs take the longest to digest and leave you feeling content and full for longer. Additionally, whole grain, fibrous carbohydrates doesn't cause a significant spike to your insulin level like starchy carbs and sugar does. This means that if you replace your morning muffin with peanut butter on whole grain toast, instead of being hungry within an hour, you'll remain full and content until your next meal.
Cutting Carbs to Lose Weight
Using the following calculators, determine your baseline number of carbs for your weight, height, age and gender. Then, when you look to your diet for areas to cut carbs, remove most of those foods that include starchy carbs and sugar. When you do need to have any carbs with a meal, opt for whole grain and fiber, but don't forget to enjoy a small serving of starch or other "fast energy" carb just before a workout for the best fat-burning workout possible.
Now that you have a better understanding of how many carbs to rapidly lose weight, it's important to make the right choices when cutting carbs. For more information about managing your carb intake, don't forget to check out important LoveToKnow Diet articles on the topic, including Counting Carbs, Complex Carbs and Low Carb Diets.