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Old 07-10-2011, 10:11 PM   #1
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So I have noticed a few people on here who don't seem to be on a low carb diet, but watch their intake of them carefully.

At the moment, I just watch my calories.

I went on the low carb diet once, lost 14 pounds in two weeks! And felt soooo horrible. Like that weak after flu shaky feeling. It did what it said it would, killed my appetite completely. I had to shove food down my throat and it made me feel sick to do so. I would keep to my 20 carbs a day, but was nearly starving myself because everything made me nausous. So despite my success I quickly stopped. I know others are happy and succesful at it, but it is not for me.

Back to the original, and away from my rant, what is a good carb count to have for a day?
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:16 PM   #2
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It's a very individual number, and it depends on what plan you are on. 20 gms seems really, awfully low to me--I wouldn't do that. I'd say aim for 90-110 gms per day and see how that feels.

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Old 07-10-2011, 10:17 PM   #3
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Depends on your sensitivity to them. 45-50% of calories from carbs is a pretty good baseline to start from I suppose. If you are especially sensitive to storing carbs as fat, you may have to go down to like 30-35% of your calorie intake.

I don't believe in cutting out nutrients to such extremes as something like 20g of carbs. If it works for somebody and doesn't have negative side effects, more power to them, but it's probably not the best option for most people.

More important than quantity is probably the quality of the carb. Complex carbs are a whole different monster than "empty calorie" simple carbs.

Last edited by dZsmalls : 07-10-2011 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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It's a very individual number, and it depends on what plan you are on. 20 gms seems really, awfully low to me--I wouldn't do that. I'd say aim for 90-110 gms per day and see how that feels.

Jay
Well, the way it worked was that for two weeks you ate 20 carbs a day. Then every week after that you would add 5 carbs and watch you weight carefully to find your perfect number. If you stopped losing weight, you dropped back down 5 carbs.

I think I get anywhere from 100 to 160 carbs a day... oops ... but I'm still losing weight. If I plateau then maybe as a way of switching things up I'll lower it down.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:25 PM   #5
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Well, this is my experience. When I was pregnant with my second son I developed gestational diabetes. I was so carb addicted, that my body felt SICK at trying to eat noncarb things for the first two weeks. I would gag down a piece of meat. I was M.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. And then, it got better - coincidentally, about the same time my fasting blood sugars started to come down.

My body was trying to force me to eat the carbs because it felt it needed it. That's why many diabetics get into terrible condition sometimes because they get so carb 'drunk' which makes their body even crave for more carbs. It's a vicious cycle. So, when the body doesn't get the carbs it wants, it makes you feel bad - really bad. Then, the body adjusts and you settle in.

Now, for a person without blood sugar issues, going from 150-200 carbs a day to 20 carbs a day is extreme and not necessary. I have blood sugar issues and I've been able to control my blood sugar levels with eating 100 net carbs a day (many days 80 and under). And for me, that basically means no eating white carbs - no pasta, bread, rice. For most people that would include potatoes too, but for some reason, my body doesn't spike blood sugars on potatoes, so those are a 'safe' food for me to eat.

My typical day of eating is a protein shake for breakfast with some berries. FOr lunch, some cheese and an apple with peanut butter and for dinner, whatever my family eats, minus the simple carb - like the meat and green veggies. Snacks are low carb protein bars, low carb fruits, hummus and veggies, yogurt and berry smoothie and so on.

And by eating this way, I don't really crave carbs = at all. I make ice cream for the kids/husband - I don't eat it. I make our bread for the family. I don't eat it and so on. Today was one of 3-4 times that I grabbed a simple sugar snack and even that was ONE oreo cookie, not the entire package like in the past. My body has adjusted to lower carb, my cholesterol is better, my blood sugars are perfect and even my blood pressure is now good. So, this is my 'plan' for eating for the rest of my life. Eating simple carbs just makes me want MORE simple carbs which then leads to pounds and more pounds. No thank you!
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:28 PM   #6
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I agree with the quality over quantity is idea. I don't track my macronutrients to the gram, but I do shoot for roughly 40% of my calories to come from carbs. My carbs come from complex, high quality sources though- like the oatmeal I eat for breakfast evey day (god, I love the stuff), fruit/veggies, beans, and things like nuts/milk that have some carbs in them. I'll occasionally buy sprouted grain tortillas or a good whole wheat bread, but not often. Some people think it's like carb-phobia, bread-will-make-you-fat-craziness but it's not- for some reason, I just don't like to "spend" my calories on that.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:29 PM   #7
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Depends on your sensitivity to them. 45-50% of calories from carbs is a pretty good baseline to start from I suppose. If you are especially sensitive to storing carbs as fat, you may have to go down to like 30-35% of your calorie intake.

I don't believe in cutting out nutrients to such extremes as something like 20g of carbs. If it works for somebody and doesn't have negative side effects, more power to them, but it's probably not the best option for most people.

More important than quantity is probably the quality of the carb. Complex carbs are a whole different monster than "empty calorie" simple carbs.
Well, today, my carbs is at 141, and 60%.
Yesterday: 204, and 58%.
7/8: 167 and 50%
7/7: 132 and 48%
7/6: 146 and 52%

So I guess that may be too high?
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:32 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tuende View Post
I agree with the quality over quantity is idea. I don't track my macronutrients to the gram, but I do shoot for roughly 40% of my calories to come from carbs. My carbs come from complex, high quality sources though- like the oatmeal I eat for breakfast evey day (god, I love the stuff), fruit/veggies, beans, and things like nuts/milk that have some carbs in them. I'll occasionally buy sprouted grain tortillas or a good whole wheat bread, but not often. Some people think it's like carb-phobia, bread-will-make-you-fat-craziness but it's not- for some reason, I just don't like to "spend" my calories on that.
As far as blood sugars go and insulin response, whole grain versus white grain doesn't make much, if any difference. Now, of course, for other things - like nutrients and satiety, whole grains are hands down better than the white/simple stuff, but someone who is having blood sugar issues white rice and brown rice BOTH raise blood sugars too high. Same with whole wheat bread and oatmeal. Of course, most people low carbing are NOT diabetic or have blood sugar issues, but for those who do, staying away from all those types of carbs is a better idea.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:34 PM   #9
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Well, this is my experience. When I was pregnant with my second son I developed gestational diabetes. I was so carb addicted, that my body felt SICK at trying to eat noncarb things for the first two weeks. I would gag down a piece of meat. I was M.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. And then, it got better - coincidentally, about the same time my fasting blood sugars started to come down.

My body was trying to force me to eat the carbs because it felt it needed it. That's why many diabetics get into terrible condition sometimes because they get so carb 'drunk' which makes their body even crave for more carbs. It's a vicious cycle. So, when the body doesn't get the carbs it wants, it makes you feel bad - really bad. Then, the body adjusts and you settle in.

Now, for a person without blood sugar issues, going from 150-200 carbs a day to 20 carbs a day is extreme and not necessary. I have blood sugar issues and I've been able to control my blood sugar levels with eating 100 net carbs a day (many days 80 and under). And for me, that basically means no eating white carbs - no pasta, bread, rice. For most people that would include potatoes too, but for some reason, my body doesn't spike blood sugars on potatoes, so those are a 'safe' food for me to eat.

My typical day of eating is a protein shake for breakfast with some berries. FOr lunch, some cheese and an apple with peanut butter and for dinner, whatever my family eats, minus the simple carb - like the meat and green veggies. Snacks are low carb protein bars, low carb fruits, hummus and veggies, yogurt and berry smoothie and so on.

And by eating this way, I don't really crave carbs = at all. I make ice cream for the kids/husband - I don't eat it. I make our bread for the family. I don't eat it and so on. Today was one of 3-4 times that I grabbed a simple sugar snack and even that was ONE oreo cookie, not the entire package like in the past. My body has adjusted to lower carb, my cholesterol is better, my blood sugars are perfect and even my blood pressure is now good. So, this is my 'plan' for eating for the rest of my life. Eating simple carbs just makes me want MORE simple carbs which then leads to pounds and more pounds. No thank you!
Wow, I never realized the body could become dependent on them. That might explain alot with how I ate in the past.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:34 PM   #10
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You're going to probably get a lot of answers (because it's a popular question that has been asked many times before, and there's usually a lot of variety of answers). You may have to experiment to find your own "best number," if you indeed have one.

Some people find that carb-count doesn't seem to matter, at all. They lose equally well, and feed equally good regardless of where their calories come from.

I would recommend keeping a food journal, and experimenting (and noting not only your weight loss, but how you feel).


I also had bad experiences with under 20g low-carb dieting (and I never tried just a little higher, which probably was a mistake). When my doctor recommended low-carb for my insulin resistance, I was skeptical. When he recommended low-carb, he did warn "but not too low," but when I asked "what's too low?" He answered, "I don't have a clue."

So trial and error was my only option. I've always liked exchange plans, so that's how I set up my food journal. I follow a lower-carb exchange plan (it's easy to calculate the carb count, because the average calorie and carb count is consistent between the exchanges).

My exchange plan averages between 100 and 125g of carb per day (not counting fiber - which is a carb that humans can't digest, so fiber carb calories don't count because we can't absorb them).

I did discover that I can eat more calories of low-carb to lose the same amount of weight as on a higher carb diet (not counting the first couple weeks, because it's not fair to compare the first two weeks of a low-carb plan because you lose a lot of water on a low-carb, because your body requires more water to digest carbs, so you carry more water when eating high-carb).

I'm also less hungry on fewer carbs (but too low, and that becomes nausea).

Unless I eat more frequently or eat more fat, I can't go under 50g without experiencing negative side effects (but I'm also on metformin, a blood sugar-lowering medication, which I'm sure plays a role in where my tolerance level lies).
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:38 PM   #11
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i am pre-diabetic and i am aiming to keep my carbs about 30-50 per day...give or take a little...i'm counting but not obsessively...so if i underestimate or overestimate by a little bit, i'm not gonna beat myself up over it...i'm slowly losing weight and would lose more weight if i got into ketosis regularly but at least, according to ketostix, i'm not in it consistently but i'm hovering right at the edge of it...but i'm not in this entirely to lose weight...i want to learn healthier eating habits, get control of the urges to stuff all kinds of sugar in my mouth lol, and prevent becoming diabetic down the road
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:40 PM   #12
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Well, today, my carbs is at 141, and 60%.
Yesterday: 204, and 58%.
7/8: 167 and 50%
7/7: 132 and 48%
7/6: 146 and 52%

So I guess that may be too high?
Probably not, since you mention you are still losing weight. It's not unusual for an active person to lose weight eating 60% of their calories in carbs. If you get regular exercise, you burn a lot of your carbs that way. They are really only a problem when you eat poor quality carbs or eat carbs to the exclusion of other nutrients without proper exercise.

I'd only target your daily carbohydrate levels to be lower if you stop losing weight for an abnormal amount of time but then make progress when eating less carbs. Other than that, you may consider going a little light on the carbs during periods of time where you aren't active.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlgibson View Post
Wow, I never realized the body could become dependent on them. That might explain alot with how I ate in the past.
Oh definitely! Sugar and simple carbs are the most "drug-like" of all food. They create a compulsive desire as you eat more of them. If you eat nothing else but these kinds of food, you will notice that you are always hungry or craving more even if you eat a proper amount of calories. Switching from white bread to wheat bread or "normal" sugary cereal to a whole grain cereal with less sugar and no high fructose corn syrup makes you feel a lot more satisfied and keeps cravings away, not to mention the benefits of having consistent blood sugar levels rather than spikes and dips in terms of fat loss.

Last edited by dZsmalls : 07-10-2011 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:41 PM   #13
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I echo that you're likely going to have to experiment to find out what YOUR good carb level is for the day.

I have never counted a carb in my life. I don't plan on starting any time soon. To each their own!
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:48 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone! I am definatley enlightened. I'll continue as normal, but with an eye on what kind of carbs. And if I stop losing weight I'll drop the carbs a little to see if that helps.

Diabetes does run in the family, heart problems as well. The women seemed to get diabetes and the men had heart problems to the point that many died before they were 55. Don't know for sure, I'd have to look at my adoption paperwork again.
So if I ever make it to a doctor again, I'll have him/her test my insulin (though I feel fine). I never knew that carbs had a tie to insulin production, so that may be something I need to watch regardless of my weight loss...
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Old 07-10-2011, 10:58 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone! I am definatley enlightened. I'll continue as normal, but with an eye on what kind of carbs. And if I stop losing weight I'll drop the carbs a little to see if that helps.

Diabetes does run in the family, heart problems as well. The women seemed to get diabetes and the men had heart problems to the point that many died before they were 55. Don't know for sure, I'd have to look at my adoption paperwork again.
So if I ever make it to a doctor again, I'll have him/her test my insulin (though I feel fine). I never knew that carbs had a tie to insulin production, so that may be something I need to watch regardless of my weight loss...
i don't know if it's the same for you, but it costs me a good $175-250 for each visit to my regular doctor including lab testing and my insurance doesn't cover nearly any of it...sends it all to my deductible and then i have to pay for it

when i grew suspicious of how my blood sugar was handling things...i went to the store and spent about $25 on a glucometer (that reads the test strips), lancets and blood test strips and began testing myself....read up a TON of information about it and what your levels should be at certain times of the day (morning/2 hours after eating/etc) and realized that i am indeed pre-diabetic....that $25 gave me the chance to test about 50 times (i think i bought 50 test strips) and i just kept at it, seeing how various foods affect my blood sugar

i dont test often anymore, because i know perfectly well how things will affect me...and i've never gone to my doctor about it because i can't afford that and don't want that label of "pre-D" going anywhere into my medical files yet
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