- By Kathy Smith
You hear a lot of conflicting advice these days about eating carbohydrates — whether to adopt a low-carb diet, eat only certain types of carbs or eliminate them altogether.
What's right for you depends on your activity level and your fitness goals. An elite athlete needs more carbs to fuel her lifestyle than someone who spends most of her day sitting at a computer.
Finding Your Range
Here’s a ballpark range of what’s appropriate, safe and effective, depending on your nutritional goals. Once you decide what level you want to maintain, read the tips below for regulating your carb intake.
If you’re trying to lose a lot of water weight in a couple of days, cut your carbs below 50 grams per day. This isn’t easy to do, and very restrictive, but any professional model or bodybuilder knows it’s the fastest way to lean out in a short amount of time. This is when your body goes into ketosis, a metabolic state where you’re burning your own fat as a main source of energy. But ketosis doesn’t come without its risks — so talk to your doctor before making any major changes in your diet.
If you’re staying in this range, chances are good that you’ll achieve healthy weight loss.
Gradual Weight Gain (50-300 grams per day)
The Danger Zone (More than 300 grams per day)
1. Read labels and look for fiber. The carbohydrate count of the food you eat is usually right there in plain black lettering. If it contains over 30 grams in a small serving, with little to no fiber content, you might want to try a healthier option. And remember, the higher that fiber count is within those carbs, the better. I could go on about the benefits of fiber, but that’s for another article. For now, just know: Carbs with a high fiber content are generally considered the “good carbs.”
3. Get your rest. No matter how well you eat and how much you exercise, your body will shut down without sufficient amounts of sleep. Take up yoga or meditation to enhance relaxation, reduce stress, regain composure and help build up your energy for the next point…
4. Exercise regularly. Since carbs are a source of instant energy, it is important to use that energy up on a daily basis. Otherwise the unused energy will eventually convert to fat. Cardio workouts help keep the body’s circulatory system keep in tip-top shape and also enhance your body’s natural fat-burning capabilities.
|Oatmeal||1/2 cup cooked||12g||1.3g|
|Kale||1/2 cup steamed||4g||1.3g|
|Sweet Potato||1 cup||27g||4g|
|Chocolate cake||1 slice||35g||2g|
|Gatorade||1 bottle (20 oz)||34g||0g|
|Mocha Frappucino||1 tall (12 oz)||44g||0g|
|Cinnamon raisin bagel||1 medium||52g||0g|
|Low-fat blueberry yogurt||1 cup (6 oz)||12g||0g|
|Spaghetti||1 cup cooked||43g||2.5g|
|Brown rice||3/4 cup cooked||32g||1g|