How Many Grams of Carbs to Eat Per Day

How many carbs do you need to eat per day? Half of your energy should come from carbohydrate sources. Cutting back on bad carbs can help you lose weight and stay healthy.

Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients the body needs for energy. Your digestive tract is responsible for turning carbs into glucose or blood sugar that is used to provide your cells in the organs and tissues with energy. If you have extra energy after consuming carbs it will be stored in the muscles and liver until you need it.

Carbohydrates can be complex or simple. Simple carbs are sugars that are found in milk, milk products, vegetables and fruits. Any sugar that is added to food while it is being processed or refined is also a simple carb. Complex carbs are legumes, whole grain cereals and breads and starchy vegetables. These often provide fiber for the body in addition to energy. In order to promote healthy habits people should limit added sugar and instead choose whole grains instead of refined grains.

How Many Grams of Carbs Per Day?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half the calories you consume each day come from carbohydrate sources. To determine the number of grams of carbohydrates depends on how many calories you should be eating per day and divide this total by two. A gram of carbs is four calories, so divide this number by four and you will have your total. The standard 2000 calorie diet should include 250 grams of carbs each day.

How Many Grams of Carbs to Lose Weight Per Day?

Watching your carb intake can help you lose weight. If you are getting too many carbs in your diet it can store extra fat.

  • Fast Weight Loss. Several popular diets encourage low-carb eating. This starts with a 1-4 week introduction phase, though some diets encourage you to stick with these dieting habits for up to a year. During this phase you will be encouraged to limit yourself to 50g or fewer carbohydrates each day. These carbs should come from sources like fruit, vegetables or starchy tubers rather than simple carb sources. Eating very little carbs causes your body to enter a state of ketosis that causes you to break down fat to gain energy, allowing you to lose weight more effectively.
  • Moderate Weight Loss. Those that would like to lose weight more slowly should stick to eating 50-100g of carbs each day. This gives you a wider range of foods you can eat, including plenty of fruits and dairy. Depending on your personal metabolism you may or may not enter ketosis while following this diet, but you will still see weight loss at around 2 pounds a week.
  • Gradual Weight Loss. To lose weight gradually or maintain your weight loss you should consume 100-150g of carbs every day. Those that do not want to give up things like fruit or breads as an energy source or athletes that will need a high calorie intake to maintain their activity level find this diet plan the most effective. Those following this plan can lose around 1-1.5 pounds each week.

Tips for Taking Carbohydrates

Knowing how many grams of carbs per day is not enough, you need to consume the right type:

  1. Learn about good carbs and bad carbs. In general, "good" carbs are high in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber or protein. "Bad" carbs do not contain many beneficial nutrients and tend to be high in sugar. Good carbs are usually more complex carbohydrates like whole grains while bad carbs include things like high fructose corn syrup, other simple sugars or starches.
  2. Check nutritional facts level. Look on the nutrition facts label on food packages to see the amount of carbohydrates and calories in each item. Make sure you look to determine the intended serving size at the top of the label to make sure you count the amount of carbs you are ingesting accurately.
  3. Calculate carbs of foods. Keeping a food diary can help you track how much you are eating to manage your weight loss more effectively. You can also join programs like Calorie Count to track the amount of calories, carbs and additional nutrients you are ingesting each day. The program will also provide suggestions for healthier eating that can help keep you on track.
  4. Watch effects of low-carb diets. Entering ketosis can have potential negative side effects including dizziness and weakness as your body adjusts to the reduced carbohydrate availability. These symptoms should not last more than 1-3 weeks. Some also believe that ketosis is dangerous, but much of this is because the terms ketosis and keto-acidosis are often mixed up. Keto-acidosis, a dangerous condition associated with Type II diabetes is not related to ketosis.
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