Status:Closed Asked:Feb 13, 2013 - 07:27 PM
How many carbs should I eat in a meal if I'm looking to shed a couple of pounds?
The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that a healthful diet should include about 50-65% of the calories from carbohydrates. If you follow a 1400 calorie weight loss plan, this would translate to about 175-225 grams of carbohydrates daily. If you’re looking to shed a couple of pounds, it’s probably a better idea in the long run to focus on your overall calorie intake verses carbohydrates for a couple reasons. First, excess calories beyond what we burn off at the end of the day; regardless if they come from carbohydrates, protein, fat or alcohol are going to be stored as fat. This translates into weight gain. The other reason why it may be more helpful to look at your overall daily calories (verses carbohydrates) has to do with the way our body stores energy. We store carbohydrates (our body’s primary source of fuel) in the form of what’s called glycogen. As glycogen forms it pulls in water for storage. As you begin following a low-carb diet, the body will tap into these reserves of energy to fuel your daily activities and as it does, it releases the water that was pulled into storage with the glycogen. This is what accounts for the weight loss typically experienced in the beginning of a low-carb diet. On the flipside, it’s this same mechanism that is responsible for weight regain once a person resumes normal carbohydrate consumption- as the body replaces the lost glycogen and retains extra water for storage purposes. This regain can be very frustrating and discouraging to anyone trying to lose a few pounds and keep it off. And for those of us who have yo-yo dieted throughout our lives, we know that we typically end up regaining the weight we initially lost- plus a few extra pounds. The only thing we seem to lose for good by yo-yo dieting is the faith in our ability to actually lose the weight. It may also be helpful to keep in mind that dietary measures are only half the equation to losing weight-activity is the other. And regular physical activity is the key to long-term weight loss success.
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