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How many grams of carbs per day for a "low carb" diet?

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Old 08-28-2012, 03:51 PM   #1
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Default How many grams of carbs per day for a "low carb" diet?

I've been keeping at 50g per day, but I find it difficult to eat very much with that limitation. Will I still see weight loss effects if I up it a little?
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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Generally speaking a ketogenic diet means 50g of carbs per day or less.

Having said that - calories dictate fat loss or gain so feel free to eat more carbs. Ketosis is not what causes fat loss it is a caloric deficit.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
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Low carb diets generally have a low long term compliancy rate. You often see people move from low carb to calorie control or low fat diets. Personally, I think low GI is a better way to go, especially if you are having issues with low carb.

And it should be noted, the low carb diet does enjoy an initial boost that you don't get from higher carb diets. Basically, you lose weight fast due to your glycogen stores emptying out and reduced water retention. In increasing carbs, you will see a slight gain but it isn't fat, it will be glycogen/water.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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Generally speaking a ketogenic diet means 50g of carbs per day or less.

Having said that - calories dictate fat loss or gain so feel free to eat more carbs. Ketosis is not what causes fat loss it is a caloric deficit.
This is true for my body. My carbs right now range from 120g to 199g per day (I keep them under 200g). I exercise 6 days a week (twice a day on MWF) and I absolutely need carbs to have the energy to get through my workouts. I do cut down on breads as a carb source and try to get them from prodominately fruits and vegetables. Eating carbs at this level has not interfered with my weight loss. I keep my calories within a certain range and I think the caloric deficit is what really helps with the weight loss. This is just what works for my body and I know there are plenty out there that have energy and lose effectively with much lower carbs.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:50 PM   #5
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This is true for my body. My carbs right now range from 120g to 199g per day (I keep them under 200g). I exercise 6 days a week (twice a day on MWF) and I absolutely need carbs to have the energy to get through my workouts. I do cut down on breads as a carb source and try to get them from prodominately fruits and vegetables. Eating carbs at this level has not interfered with my weight loss. I keep my calories within a certain range and I think the caloric deficit is what really helps with the weight loss. This is just what works for my body and I know there are plenty out there that have energy and lose effectively with much lower carbs.
Calories dictate fat loss or gain for every body. We're talking about the laws of physics here ... (thermodynamics) but this simple fact seems to be missed by so many.

As for you and your exercise I think it is great but the one question I would ask is if this is sustainable? Relying so heavily on exercise may not be prudent for long term compliance. Just something to think about ...
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:58 PM   #6
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50 grams per day total for carbs is excellent for weight loss, maintenance levels look more like 70-100 grams for most people.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:01 PM   #7
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I "feel" better if I keep my carbs under 100 NET grams. It keeps my cravings at bay better, my skin feels better, etc.

I still eat carbs and I don't 'count' carbs, so some days it's 35 and other days it's 110. I will eat apples and peaches and stuff - one a day or so. I just simply gave up the 'starches'. I fill up on proteins and vegetables, not on rice, potatoes, and breads. For dinner, i'll eat a piece of chicken and a huge helping of chard or salad. For lunch I eat an apple with peanut butter, breakfast, some yogurt with berries, etc.

As far as weight loss goes - it's 100% calories, but, you tend to be fuller on fats and proteins than on carbs, so eating low carb usually keeps you fuller, so you don't feel you are starving. It's not that you need to keep your carbs down to lose weight.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:02 PM   #8
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Im on an ultra low carb low fat diet..I keep my carbs between 20-30net... which is usually what people do for a ketogenic diet... I also keep my calorie count low as well... However..when im ready to stop losing weight and start maintaining, i will move that number up slowly to 50net and beyond.. I dont think people can maintain a 20 net or 30 net carb diet for the rest of there life...carbohydrates are needed in moderation. So if you feel like your losing weight at the pace you want to and you feel like 50 is a sustainable number for your own preference, then keep it at 50..if you feel like you could do to go higher, then amp it up by increments of 10 until you reach a point where your comfortable with.

But John is right..its going to be a calorie deficit thats going to effect weight loss..Restricting carbs is just another way of restricting calories..its just not fat or protein calories.

Simply put, the point of ketogenic diets, are to put your body into a state of ketosis which in turn helps keep cravings and hunger more at bay..
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame...

So this simple fact means that our bodies need a sufficient supply of carbs (in the form of glucose) to sustain us in our everyday activities from a properly functioning brain to strenuous exercise... and once you become depleted of carbohydrates (in the form of glucose and glycogen) any intensity of exercise will become exceedingly more difficult... so in other words without glucose, your ability to utilize fats will become severely limited... fat metabolism is dependent on a background level of carbohydrate catabolism... I'm sorry but nothing can change this basic fact of physiology... ketosis IS NOT our bodies preferred pathway for energy metabolism... So tell me why someone would strive so hard to go against our bodies natural and preferred pathway of energy metabolism?

So I'll end with this... I believe low carbohydrate diets will ultimately fail in maintaining lasting weight loss because your ability to burn fats is thwarted by the simple fact that fat loss is dependent on background carbohydrate catabolism...

(Alright I'm coming down off my soapbox now)

...and I'm putting on my low carb, fire resistant suit... So flame away!
I'm not going to flame you. I am going to point out that you need to double check your fact sources. It is true that our bodies prefer glucose over fatty acids and intense exercise will be more difficult in a glycogen depleted state.

Everything else in the context of any diet that is sufficient in protein is pure fabrication in particular "...in other words without glucose, your ability to utilize fats will become severely limited." Whomever told you this does not understand human physiology. You might want to google gluconeogenesis.

As for why someone would want to do it - as pointed out by others fat and protein are more satiating than carbohydrates and for most people the easiest way to limit caloric intake is restricting carbs.

By the way - I"m not a fan of ketogenic dieting but for many people it is very helpful for compliance.

I am a fan of getting ones facts straight. Don't feel bad it is very easy to get misled ...
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:02 PM   #10
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I'm not going to flame you. I am going to point out that you need to double check your fact sources. It is true that our bodies prefer glucose over fatty acids and intense exercise will be more difficult in a glycogen depleted state.

Everything else in the context of any diet that is sufficient in protein is pure fabrication in particular "...in other words without glucose, your ability to utilize fats will become severely limited." Whomever told you this does not understand human physiology. You might want to google gluconeogenesis.

As for why someone would want to do it - as pointed out by others fat and protein are more satiating than carbohydrates and for most people the easiest way to limit caloric intake is restricting carbs.

By the way - I"m not a fan of ketogenic dieting but for many people it is very helpful for compliance.

I am a fan of getting ones facts straight. Don't feel bad it is very easy to get misled ...


I would also argue that there's nothing inherently unnatural about a low-carb diet. Most low-carb diets aren't no-carb diets, they're low-digestible carb, high-undigestible-carb (that is fiber) diets.

However there are several cultures who've survived and thrived on nearly no-carb diets (many lived in arctic and desert environments where edible plants are scarce most of the year). The Inuit, Mongols, and other aboriginal peoples eat a diet that would be considered low-carb in today's world.

Even with the large percentage of calories coming from animal fat and protein, these folks don't get modern diseases like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, obesity.... until they adopt a western high-carb diet.

A study was done of Aboriginal peoples (of Samoan descent) in Australian/New Zealand prisons. Those who were allowed to maintain their ancestral diet (low-carb, undomesticated animal protein/fat) did not develop the modern lifestyle diseases associated that those of westerners. Those forced to eat the western diet with the other prisoners not only developed those diseases, their health issues improved or resolved when they were allowed to return to the ancestral diet.

Likewise, there's quite a bit of evidence that the pre-agrarian human diet (that is for about 95% or more of human history) would be considered low-carb by today's standards, because most foods were quite low in digestible carbs. Even fruits weren't nearly as sweet as their modern counterparts.

We've bred sugar and starch into our foods and fiber out of them. So there's absolutely nothing natural about today's high-carb diet. 99% of the food we eat (whether we're eating many fruits and vegetables or not, and whether or not we're vegetarian or vegan) aren't remotely like those that are found in the wild

The fiber intake estimates for pre-agrarian humans has been estimated to fall between 75g and 200g (200g being the fiber intake of the animal we share the most DNA with, chimpanzees) and in the modern day 35g is considered a "high-fiber diet."

More and more research is finding that reducing digestible carbs (sugars and starches) and increasing undigestible carbs (fiber - in the form of low-calorie, high-fiber foods) helps the body function better in many ways, and yet as a nation, we don't even average 5 servings of freggies (fruits and veggies) per day, while our ancestors (even post-agriculture) ate at least two to three times that.

The main reason a no-carb diet doesn't work well in the modern western world, is that we've become too picky. We don't eat every part of the animal, and every part of the plant. We eat what we consider the choicest parts, and throw everything else away (or turn it into animal food... our animals are often eating better than we are).

Those of us who eat potatoes, apples, carrots, beets, turnips, kohlrabi... and other wonderful foods often don't eat the leaves or the skins (often the most nutritious and highest fiber parts).

The reason aboriginal and arctic people may be able to survive well on an arctic diet is because they eat every bit of the critter, sea mammal fat is higher in vitamin C and Vitamin D than dairy, and the plants they DO eat such as seaweeds, blueberries, and other berries and ground herbs are incredibly rich in antioxidants (and they also burn a lot of calories hunting, gathering, and staying warm).

I think most of us would probalby do best on a moderately low-carb diet. We don't need more than 200g of digestible-carbs (the level that used to be recommended for diabetics, so this is still a reduced-carb diet), we probably don't need more than 100g of digestible-carbs (considered low-carb by most dietitians), and we may not even need 6o or 80.

And while those who exercise intensely probably will do better on the higher range of the spectrum, no one needs to be getting 95% of their calories from carbs (which many Americans, especially in southern states are eating).

The question becomes "how low is low?" and "how low is too low?" I think people can only experiment to find the right level for themselves. At least until the "experts" know more about predicting an individual's nutritional nees.

I can only judge low-carb (what I consider low-carb, which is all the fiber-carbs I can eat and digestible carbs under about 100g) by my experience. I feel best on a diet that is high in undigestible carbs (low-carb fruits and veggies) and low in digestible carbs (especially the quickest digesting ones - the high GI/GL ones).

Many would say I'm not really on a low-carb diet, but most folks underestimate the number of carbs allowed on the vast majority of low-carb diets. They associate low-carb with Atkins induction low (20g or fewer) when very few low-carb diets (even the lowest) don't advocate or require carb-restriction that severe. So we're often judging an entire class of diets by their most extreme member.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:23 PM   #11
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Personally I'm stoked when I learn new things and thank the person who taught me. Ask Kaplods - I've repeatedly thanked her when she points out where I am wrong.

If I'm wrong, it means you're right. Do a little research and get back to me. I'd love to learn something new.

Thanks John. I love learning from you too, and not just when you've been right and I've been wrong. Even when I've corrected statements you've made that I believe to be wrong or misleading, it's helped me make sure that I know what I think I know, in responding.

I don't want anyone to assume I'm right, even if they happen to be impressed with my knowledge on a subject. Because knowledge isn't static, especially in an infant sciences like nutrition, weight loss, and exercise physiology (I'm always impressed with your knowledge of exercise physiology by the way. I never could keep all that stuff straight even in college and graduate school Biology classes).

We have to share our understanding of the science with each other, especially when we don't agree, because we all grow from it. Some cases are black and white (one person is right, and one person is wrong). However, in many cases both people are wrong (because they're taking the black or white stance rather than the more accurate, but fuzzier and more difficult to understand grey area where the truth lies). And sometimes both are right (they just don't realize that the "truth" they believe in, isn't true for everyone or every situation).

Ignorance is not only acceptable in weight loss, it's often encouraged (Magical thinking is often encouraged by the weight loss industry, because profits depend on the consumer not understanding the science). And the subject is so taboo that you can't say anything on the subject at all without offending a great many of people.

It's important to talk about our knowledge, our opinions and what we think we know, because it's the only way for us all to become experts.

And it's important to develop a thick skin, because sometimes when people tell us we're wrong, they're right. And even if they're wrong, their disagreement helps us make sure we really do know what we think we know.

I LOVE when people wholeheartedly disagree with me, because having to defend my knowledge and opinions makes me re-examine the information and how I've organized it in my own head. It forces me to make sure that superstition and overgeneralization have not twisted what I think I know.

And John, you're very good at that, because when someone has twisted the truth to argue more than the facts prove, you jump right in there and confront the false or over-reaching conclusions. You're not always very diplomatic or tactful about it, and that offends a lot of people, but I don't think we (as a group) can afford to be offended at the truth or even at opinion (even false opinion), no matter how ugly we may find it.

If someone has corrected you, and you think they've corrected you incorrectly and you are still right, then defend it. We're all big girls and boys and we can pull up our grown-up pants and deal with the disagreement. We can't afford not to share our opinions, because we can't afford the ignorance that has permeated the topic for far too long (stepping down from my soapbox now).
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:24 AM   #12
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got to love the facts ..they cant be disputed..truth can be disputed but not facts...thank god.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:14 AM   #13
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Not that I necessarily agree with the Primal Blueprint or follow it as it is written, but it does provide yet another perspective on the "How our bodies are *supposed* to function" argument. If anyone is interested, check out Mark's Daily Apple. It is a good example of how flipping the SAD (Standard American Diet) on it's ear has really benefitted some individuals, even though it flies in the face of conventional dietary wisdom and what we "know to be true".


I think that it's important to keep an open mind and be able to discuss things logically with someone who has an opposing viewpoint, and as such I, like John and Kaplods am always looking for new information and new ways of doing things. As someone moving into a profession in the fitness industry it is important that I keep up on the latest diet and fitness "trends" and have a good knowledge base with regard to different programs and protocols folks are trying.

I spend a lot of time reading over this forum and My Fitness Pal in particular to get a good view of what other people are seeing and being influenced by. The relative speed at which one new snippet of information or some new idea that is put out in a magazine becomes the latest "buzz" never ceases to amaze me. Likewise I find that a lot of individuals just scan over information and only glean bits and pieces of it without REALLY looking into it for themselves, and end up regurgitating less than accurate data with so much confidence it convinces those around them that it must be true.

Knowledge may be power, but without a truly open and curious mind it cannot benefit anyone.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:21 AM   #14
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Knowledge may be power, but without a truly open and curious mind it cannot benefit anyone.
Amen. I'm a naturally skeptical person who enjoys debunking myths more than embracing new trends, so keeping an open mind is sometimes a challenge for me. If there's one thing I've learned on this board it's that specific nutrients and eating patterns have different effects on different people. Some people aren't hungry in the morning, while I'm ready and eager to eat as soon as I wake up. Some people feel hungrier eating carbs than protein, while I notice no difference. Some people feel more satisfied if they graze throughout the day, others if they limit their food intake to two big meals.

F.

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Old 08-29-2012, 07:41 AM   #15
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Amen. I'm a naturally skeptical person who enjoys debunking myths more than embracing new trends, so keeping an open mind is sometimes a challenge for me. If there's one thing I've learned on this board it's that specific nutrients and eating patterns have different effects on different people. Some people aren't hungry in the morning, while I'm ready and eager to eat as soon as I wake up. Some people feel hungrier eating carbs than protein, while I notice no difference. Some people feel more satisfied if they graze throughout the day, others if they limit their food intake to two big meals.

F.
This is a total tangent, but THIS is the aspect that I find most interesting. How we all feel so different with eating. I'm a morning eater. It is not uncommon for me to be done eating for the day by 4 pm even though I'm awake until 11 pm or later. I'm just simply starving the first part of the day. My husband and my son are big late in the day eaters. Neither of them eat anything all day and then snarf at dinner and the teen, grazing all evening until he goes to bed. He's ALWAYS been this way with eating - even as an infant.

My mother in law who lives with us gets annoyed that many times I don't join them for dinner. I sit with them and prepare the food, but have already eaten. She says, "you just need to wait to eat." So I tell her, "That's how I got so fat - trying to eat the way our society has dictates when I can eat. Eating dinner at 6:30-7 pm is too late for me. And it's how I got so fat - by eating dinner AFTER already eating earlier in the day to feed my hunger". She doesn't understand that. THIS woman doesn't feel hunger pangs. She eats because she knows she's supposed to and often forgets (one of the reasons we had her move in with us, she was forgetting to eat and then would get weak and not figure out why."

I think that's what I find fascinating.

That and a heavy carb diet leads me to feeling lethargic and in my gut getting huge and in my face breaking out. Doesn't do that to anyone else in the family - just me.
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