Eating less carbs is often a successful weight loss strategy. The question, however, is how many carbs are enough for you to lose weight. And is there a difference between a woman and a man? In this article, you’ll find the answers to all your carb-related questions.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients in food. Besides carbohydrates, there are also fats and proteins.

Each macronutrient has its own function:

  • Carbohydrates can be seen as the fuel for the body.
  • Fats are needed for the production of various hormones and cell components. In addition, they also provide the body with energy.
  • Proteins are the building blocks of cells.

The Benefits Of A Low-Carb Diet

For several decades, we have been advised to eat less fat. This “advice” resulted in the production of an enormous amount of light products that contain 0% fat. But are we skinnier nowadays? No! So removing fat from your diet to lose weight might not the ultimate solution. Various studies claim that reducing your carbohydrate consumption might be a lot more efficient.

According to scientific studies, a low-carb diet offers several amazing health benefits:

A low-carb diet is a diet that includes less bread, rice, pasta, potatoes and other carb-rich products. This type of diet allows you to eat more fats and proteins.

How Many Carbs A Day?

The optimal amount of carbohydrates is always personal and will therefore depend on several factors. For example, a physically active person is allowed to eat more carbs than someone who doesn’t exercise. Men are also often allowed to eat more carbs than women, partly because they have more muscle mass.

Women

Women often immediately experience weight loss when they eat less carbohydrates. They’re especially losing a lot of pounds in the beginning. However, it’s not all fat-loss; they also lose a lot of water. Keep going for a couple of weeks and your body will actually start to burn fat.

100 gr. of carbs a day is usually the maximum allowance for women who want to lose weight with a low-carb diet.

To consume 100 gr. of carbs a day, you’re (not) allowed to eat the following foods:

  • no bread, rice, pasta and other grain products (like biscuits, crackers, cookies…)
  • no sugar and sweets
  • no juice, fruit drinks, soda and no light drinks
  • eat a maximum of 2-3 pieces of fruit a day
  • limit your consumption of dairy: no milk, and only a little bit of yoghurt, cottage cheese and cheese
  • unlimited amounts of vegetables
  • occasional consumption of starchy vegetables such as (sweet) potatoes and other carbohydrate-rich vegetables is allowed, especially on days when you’re physically more active
  • you’re allowed to eat more meat, fish and eggs (1-2 per day)

Women who exercise a lot are allowed to consume more carbs. 125 to 150 gr. should provide them with good results.

Men

Men who want to lose weight are allowed to have more carbs than women. 125 gr. a day is usually enough.

To consume 125 gr. of carbs a day, you’re (not) allowed to eat the following foods:

  • no bread, rice, pasta and other grain products (like biscuits, crackers, cookies…)
  • no sugar and sweets
  • no juice, fruit drinks, soda and no light drinks
  • eat a maximum of 3-4 pieces of fruit a day
  • limit your consumption of dairy: no milk, and only a little bit of yoghurt, cottage cheese and cheese
  • unlimited amounts of vegetables
  • occasional consumption of starchy vegetables such as (sweet) potatoes and other carbohydrate-rich vegetables is allowed, especially on days when you’re physically more active
  • you’re allowed to eat more meat, fish and eggs (1-2 per day)

As you can see, a man’s low-carb diet is almost the same as a woman’s. And men are also allowed to have more carbs when they exercise a lot.

low carb diet

Do You Need To Count Carbs?

I’m not a fan of keeping a detailed “diet diary”. Whether or not you want to keep track of what you eat is a personal choice. “To measure is to know” said Lord Kelvin. So if you need to change your diet drastically, a diet diary might be very useful. If you’re aware of your eating habits, it’s much easier to make the right choices.

If you don’t want to count… well, if you ban all sugar and wheat products, you will most probably already achieve success.

Overcome Your Carb Addiction

If you’re used to consuming a lot of carbs, it might be difficult to cut down. Carbs, especially sugar, are addictive. So just like with a sugar addiction, it will require motivation and self-control to overcome your carb addiction. If you cut down on carbs drastically, you might experience physical symptoms or feel weak or sick.

Fortunately, these feelings of discomfort often don’t take very long. Most people already feel better within a couple of days. And after that, they’re often more vital and energetic. Not starting a low-carb diet during a stressful period could increase your chances at success.