Most dieters believe that in order to lose weight, you have to cut back—if not eliminate completely—carbs from your diet. Now, although you will lose weight when you cut back from carbs, eliminating it completely from your diet is not healthy at all.
The body basically runs on glucose, a simple sugar derived from the carbohydrates that we eat. If you take away carbohydrates from your diet, the body has no choice but to burn off stored fats to keep itself running. To a certain extent, this is healthy. When the body is forced to burn off stored fat, you lose weight and you minimize the level of fat in your body.
But on the other hand, as the body burns off stored fat due to the lack of carbs in your diet, it “eats” muscle tissues too. This process is called protein breakdown. Muscles are made up compounds that power the body. When you lose muscle, you also lose strength. You become vulnerable to common disease, lose energy, and become lethargic. The key to losing weight without completely eliminating carbs from your diet is to start making sensible food choices — and that includes carbohydrates. Instead of going for high-fat, savory, and processed garbs, you should stick to wholesome grains and complex carbs.
Identifying Good Carbs from Bad Carbs
If you’ve been dieting all your life then you might’ve come across the term “good and bad carbs.” So how do you differentiate the one from the other?
Good carbohydrates contain complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are found in starchy vegetables like potatoes and yams, oats, unrefined rice, and non-gluten grains. Ideally, you want to choose carbs made from unprocessed or minimally processed ingredients like brown rice, wheat bread, whole wheat pastas, plantains, etc.
On the other hand, bad carbs include foods that have been overly processed like white rice, white bread, and regular pasta. Pastries, cakes, and other sweet treats also contain bad carbs and empty calories. Reserve sweet treats on special occasions and avoid junk food and fast food at all cost. Fast food and junk food not only contains bad carbs, they are incredibly calorie-dense!
How to Eat Carbs and Still Lose Weight
So answering the question as to whether you can eat carbs and still lose weight, the short answer is yes. It’s possible to enjoy carbs and still lose weight. It’s just a matter of controlling portions and choosing the right foods to get your carbs. You can get “good” kind of carbs from certain fruits and vegetables as well as minimal servings of starchy carbs.
For active individuals and those who want to maintain their weight, we recommend taking 100 to 150 grams of carbohydrates. For those who struggle with metabolic conditions, the recommended amount of carbs to help maintain your weight is around 50 grams.
For those who want to lose weight fast without while also allowing a bit of carbs into their diet, shoot for 50 grams to 100 grams of carbs.
Do note that carb servings will vary from person to person. We recommend talking to a nutritionist or a fitness expert to help you determine how many servings of carbs you should incorporate in your diet to get the best results.