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How many carbs should dieters eat for weight loss?

Share on PinterestLow-carb diets may lead to rapid weight loss, but there could be side effects.

Low-carb diets restrict the number of calories a person gets by limiting their carbohydrate food sources. This includes both good and bad carbs. Low-carb diets tend to be higher in proteins and fats to compensate.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. If this supply is reduced, the body burns its stores of protein and fat for fuel.

Low-carb diets, such as the Atkins diet and the Dukan diet, have been found to lead to rapid weight loss. However, these diets are extreme and can have some unwanted side effects.

For most people, it may be healthier to take a more moderate approach when reducing carbohydrate intake to help lose weight.

How many carbs and calories should people eat to lose weight?

Although many studies indicate that low carb diets promote fast weight loss, often this reduction in weight is short-term.

Recent research supports the idea that high-quality nutrition does not just involve controlling calories that come from carbs. Instead, dieters should pay attention to how many calories are ingested from all food sources, including carbohydrates, protein, and fats, and find a healthy balance.

In a recent study, dieters were observed to compare the different weight losses that resulted from a low-fat diet (LFD) and a low-carb diet (LCD). The researchers found that after 6 months of following calorie-reduction diets, weight changes were similar for both the LFD and LCD groups.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that an adult’s total daily calories come from the following:

  • 45–65 percent carbohydrates
  • 10–30 percent protein
  • 20–35 percent fat

Some nutritionists recommend a ratio of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat as a good target for healthy weight loss.

A 1,500 calorie diet with 40 percent carbohydrates translates to 600 calories per day from carbs. Using a ratio of 4 calories per gram (g) of carbs, a person on this diet would need to eat 150 g of carbohydrates per day.

This 1,500 calorie diet would also include 450 calories or 112 g of protein, and 450 calories or 50 g of fat per day.

Carbohydrates 600 calories 150 g
Proteins 450 calories 112 g
Fats 450 calories 50 g

The exact breakdown of carbs, proteins, and fats in grams can be calculated using the United States government website, My Plate.com.

People should also be aware that everyone has slightly different needs when it comes to nutrients such as carbohydrates.

People’s specific needs will vary based on their height, weight, and activity levels. A diet that works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

As such, it is important for people to discuss any weight loss diet or calorie restrictions with a doctor before starting.

Calculate Your Recommended Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrate Intake Calculator

Age Sex Male Female Height Feet Meters Weight Pounds Kilograms Goal Fat Loss Maintenance Muscle Gainz Activity Level Lightly active (moderate exercise but sedentary job) Moderately active (intense exercise but sedentary job) Very active (moderate exercise and active job) Extra active (intense exercise and active job) Calculate

WHAT DO CARBOHYDRATES DO?

There are three macronutrients, or macros, that make up your food: carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source. They fuel your workouts, and provide ample energy to be used throughout the day for movement and brain function.

Carbs perform many other functions in the body as well. For example, they boost the hunger-suppressing hormone leptin, which is the idea behind carb refeeding” during a low-carb diet.

Carbohydrates also help you sleep, which itself controls your levels of hunger and the catabolic stress hormone cortisol. In case you needed one more reason to embrace carbs, know that many high-carb, unprocessed foods—think fruits, starchy vegetables, and tubers like sweet potatoes—are also chock-full of micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

BUT I THOUGHT CARBS WERE BAD FOR YOU!

If carbs are so beneficial, why do people eat low-carb diets? Carbohydrates get a bad rap because when eaten in excess, they may add adipose tissue, aka fat. You’ll notice that the calculator recommends lower carb levels for fat loss and higher for muscle gains. But if incorporated into a diet in the right levels and at the right times, carbs can provide all of the benefits with none of the cost.

Some of the best times to eat carbs are before, during, and after workouts, so they can supply you with energy and replenish the glycogen you expend during long training sessions.

Another great time to carb up? Dinnertime. Many people think you shouldn’t eat carbs at night if you want to stay lean, but this is a myth. Not only will carbs after dark not hurt you, but eating most of your carbohydrates in the evening can actually help you lose fat and optimize your hormone profile.

GOOD CARBS AND BAD CARBS

For the most part, it’s best to opt for complex carbs from whole foods to fuel your day. These “good carbs” break down more slowly and provide sustained energy instead of spikes and crashes. Great sources of complex carbs include sweet potatoes, brown rice, fruit, and starchy veggies like peas and carrots, which all have plenty of fiber to slow down their digestion. These foods also have more of their micronutrients intact compared to processed foods.

But there’s a time and a place for simple carbs, too. “Bad carbs,” like certain types of candy, aren’t always bad. These simple carbs enter the bloodstream almost immediately because they don’t have to be broken down by digestion. This is what sends you on a blood-sugar rollercoaster when you eat them at the movies. But when you eat them right after exercise, the instant availability can be a good thing because it helps restore your muscle glycogen more quickly and start your recovery sooner. In other words, the sugar goes straight to your muscles to help you heal up from your last workout and prime you for your next one.

LOW-CARB DIETS

The calculator on this page provides recommendations for a moderate-carbohydrate diet, with slightly lower carb levels for fat loss and higher levels for muscle gains. Low carb and ketogenic diets, in which you eat fewer carbs than calculated here, are also popular among people with specific fitness and weight-loss goals.

If you’re new to tracking your macros, start with the calculator’s recommendations to get a good starting baseline. If you’re transitioning from a standard American diet of near-daily burgers and burritos, this might already be lower than you’re used to. Then, if you decide you want to try a lower-carb approach, you can experiment with reducing your carb levels.

How low carb is low carb?

  1. This is mainly based on the consistent experience of experienced practitioners, and stories from people trying different levels of carb restriction

    The only small intervention study – to our knowledge – that compare different levels of carb restriction found trends towards a larger effects with fewer carbs, for weight loss and cardiometabolic risk factors. However, these trends did not reach statistical significance:

    PeerJ 2019: Low-carbohydrate diets differing in carbohydrate restriction improve cardiometabolic and anthropometric markers in healthy adults: a randomised clinical trial

    Low-carb diets can reduce hunger:

    Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis

    Low-carb diets can help reduce or even normalize blood sugar, and thus potentially reverse type 2 diabetes:

    Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 2018: Effect of dietary carbohydrate restriction on glycemic control in adults with diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis

    BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2017: Systematic review and meta-analysis of dietary carbohydrate restriction in patients with type 2 diabetes

    A non-randomized trial with risk of financial bias shows remarkable effectiveness at reversing type 2 diabetes:

    Diabetes Therapy 2018: Effectiveness and safety of a novel care model for the management of type 2 diabetes at 1 year: An open-label, non-randomized, controlled study

    Full list of studies on low carb for diabetes
    ↩

  2. A diet under 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates “typically leads to the presence of measurable ketones in the urine”:

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007: Low-carbohydrate nutrition and metabolism ↩

  3. The limit of four percent energy from carbs means that you’ll stay below a maximum 20 grams of carbs on a 2,000-calorie diet, if you choose our keto recipes.

    In most cases you’ll end up with far fewer carbs than that, as some of the keto recipes you use are likely to have significantly less than the maximum amount of net carbs.

    Our keto recipes are also limited in protein. Our rule is that for keto recipes with 4 percent energy from carbs we accept a maximum of 30 energy percent protein. For lower carb levels we accept slightly more protein:

    4 % carbs = max 30 % protein
    3 % carbs = max 32 % protein
    2 % carbs = max 34 % protein
    1 % carbs = max 36 % protein
    0 % carbs = max 38 % protein

    If there’s too much protein in a recipe to classify it as keto low carb, we instead classify it as moderate low carb. ↩

  4. The process of converting excess protein to glucose is called gluconeogenesis (literally “making new glucose”). During digestion, protein is broken down into individual amino acids, which your body can use to make glucose.

    International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 2011: Protein turnover, ureagenesis and gluconeogenesis ↩

  5. Previously we often called this level “strict low carb”, but as the word “keto” or “ketogenic” became commonly used we switched to only use this term, for simplicity. ↩

  6. Adults in the US consume about 50% of their calories from carbohydrates, or about 250 grams of carbs per day if eating 2000 calories:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    JAMA Internal Medicine 2014: Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults

    Nutrition & Metabolism 2005: Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007: Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease

    Journal of the American Medical Association 2002: The glycemic index. Physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease

    British Medical Journal 1980: Rate of digestion of foods and postprandial glycaemia in normal and diabetic subjects
    ↩

  7. Although some low-carb experts disagree, it’s generally accepted that humans lack the enzymes needed to break down fiber and absorb it into the bloodstream. Therefore, the fiber portion of carbs does not raise blood sugar and insulin levels.

    Nutrients 2010: Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health ↩

  8. Fiber does not directly affect blood sugar levels, though it can indirectly slow down the absorption of digestible carbohydrates that you eat.

    Fiber can have both beneficial and some potential negative effects on gut health, but it usually has no major impact on the effects of a low-carb diet. ↩

  9. For example, maltitol – a very common sweetener in low-carb products – has the highest glycemic (35) and insulinemic (27) indexes of all sugar alcohols.

    Nutrition Research Reviews 2003: Health potential of polyols as sugar replacers, with emphasis on low glycaemic properties

    About 60% of maltitol is digested and absorbed in the small intestine, like other carbs.

    Gastroenterology 1990: Digestion and absorption in the human intestine of three sugar alcohols

    Gastroentérologie Clinique et Biologique 1991: Clinical tolerance, intestinal absorption, and energy value of four sugar alcohols taken on an empty stomach
    ↩

  10. This is mainly based on evolutionary theories and clinical experience.

    Focus on eating good quality, minimally processed real food. Ideally the food you buy shouldn’t even have a list of ingredients (or it should be very short).

    Unprocessed real food is what our ancestors have been eating for millions of years, and what the human animal is evolutionarily adapted to. By introducing processing, e.g. refining carbohydrates in a way that increases the speed of absorption and reduces the amount of nutrients and fiber, we change the food into something our bodies may not be adapted to, i.e. we introduce an unknown risk of side effects.

    Learn more: What are you designed to eat? ↩

  11. This is mainly based on the consistent experience of experienced practitioners, and stories from people trying different levels of carb restriction

    The only small intervention study – to our knowledge – that compare different levels of carb restriction found trends towards a larger effects with fewer carbs, for weight loss and cardiometabolic risk factors. However, these trends did not reach statistical significance:

    PeerJ 2019: Low-carbohydrate diets differing in carbohydrate restriction improve cardiometabolic and anthropometric markers in healthy adults: a randomised clinical trial

    Regarding sugar/food addiction, this is likely mostly caused by avoiding the foods that can cause a food addiction, most of which are processed foods full of sugar and/or other refined carbohydrates.

    Just like with any other addiction, avoiding the cause is a necessary part of slowly reducing the addiction. A person who is addicted to alcohol normally can’t consume alcohol “in moderation” and be successful. The same thing is likely true for any addiction.

    In the case of the keto diet, it may also be that the hunger-reducing effect can be helpful:

    Obesity Reviews 2014: Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta-analysis

    Frontiers in Psychology 2015: Ketosis, ketogenic diet and food intake control: a complex relationship
    ↩

  12. PeerJ 2019: Low-carbohydrate diets differing in carbohydrate restriction improve cardiometabolic and anthropometric markers in healthy adults: a randomised clinical trial ↩

  13. Unless there’s a specific reason for you not to do this.

    Who should NOT do a ketogenic diet? ↩

  14. Whether people go on a low-carb or a low-fat diet, they tend to lose weight as long as they minimize sugar and refined flours in their diet:

    JAMA 2018: Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion (analysis)

    Here are more studies and overview articles showing a connection between sugar, excess weight and disease:

    JAMA Internal Medicine 2014: Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults

    Nutrition & Metabolism 2005: Fructose, insulin resistance, and metabolic dyslipidemia

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007: Potential role of sugar (fructose) in the epidemic of hypertension, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease
    ↩

How Many Carbs Should You Eat In a Day?

Photo: Eric Savage / Getty Images

Culturally, we’ve swung from extreme fat-phobia (when I was growing up in the ’90s, avocados were considered “fattening” and fat-free cookies were the “guilt-free” holy grail) to a fixation on the high-fat, low-carb keto diet. The keto diet was initially introduced as a treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in the 1920s-and is still used for this purpose today. But now it’s also being touted as a weight-loss diet.

I get a lot of questions about carbohydrates from my nutrition clients: Are they bad? Are they good? Somewhere in the middle? Read on to learn more.

What are carbs?

First, meet the macronutrients: carbs, fats, and protein. The primary purpose of carbs is to give you energy. (FYI: Fat is used for energy, too. But it also protects organs, keeps you warm, and supports hormone production and cell growth. Protein provides structure for your cells and tissues and is used for the function and regulation of numerous body processes.) Most of the carbohydrates you eat are broken down by the digestive system into glucose, which is then used as energy to fuel your cells, tissues, and organs. Carbs can also be stored-so to speak-as fat cells for later use. (That’s why some people practice carb backloading.)

Tons of foods contain carbs. There are more obvious ones like bread, oats, and rice, or sweets like cake, cookies, pastries, candy, and chips. But beans and lentils, fruit and fruit juice, milk and dairy products, and even vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn have carbs.(All vegetables contain some carbs, but starchy veggies have about 15 grams per serving vs. 5 grams or less for non-starchy veggies.)

Carbs are made up of fiber, starch, and sugar. There are four calories per gram of carbohydrate. You’ll often hear about “simple” carbs and “complex” carbs.

  • Simple carbs are the sugar-both the naturally occurring sugar present in foods and sugar that is added to foods. Some common examples of simple carbs are sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, white flour products, and fruit juice. Many studies have linked a high intake of simple carbs to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Simple carbs are what you want to cut back on.
  • Complex carbs are generally higher in fiber and digest more slowly. Some common examples are whole grains, beans and legumes, vegetables, and whole fruit. (More on that: The Healthy Woman’s Guide to Eating Carbs-Which Doesn’t Involve Cutting Them)

When you eat carbs, your blood glucose (blood sugar) rises. Consuming foods that contain protein and/or fat at the same time slows the rate at which that breakdown occurs, which helps maintain a more steady blood sugar level rather than causing a sharp spike then crash. Fiber also helps slow that digestive process. That’s why whole foods-which naturally contain a balance of protein, fat, and fiber-are ideal.

What “counts” as a carb serving?

A serving of carbohydrate is equivalent to about 15 grams. These amounts of food each contain around 15 grams of carbs (in addition to their other components):

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked grain
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked pasta
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked (or 1/4 cup dry) beans, peas, or lentils
  • 1/2 cup cooked potatoes or corn
  • 1/2 of a medium baked potato or sweet potato
  • 1 cup cooked pumpkin or winter squash
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of berries
  • 1/2 of a 9-inch banana
  • 1 small apple or pear
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup fruit juice
  • Each serving of milk product usually provides about 12 to 15 grams (though strained Greek and Icelandic yogurts often have a smaller amount, around 8 per cup)

How many carbs should you eat per day?

“It depends” is not an exciting answer. But how many carbohydrates you need per day really does have a lot to do with your unique makeup-as well as factors like activity level, whether you have any underlying medical conditions, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your needs can also fluctuate. (Here’s everything you should know about carb cycling.)

For one, you may notice that you need different amounts of carbohydrate at different points in your cycle or during certain times of the year. People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may gravitate more toward carbohydrate-rich foods in the darker months since levels of the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin take a dip and carb intake plays a role in serotonin production. This need to stabilize serotonin levels is also why you might crave carbs on a tough day or after a breakup.

Different diet plans require different ratios of carbs to fats to protein. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 45 to 65 percent of our daily calories as carbohydrate. To give you a ballpark figure, on a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s anywhere from 225 to 325 grams. The recommended minimum amount of carbohydrate per day (according to these guidelines) is 130 grams-about eight or nine 15-gram servings of carbohydrate per day.

As a frame of reference, low-carb diets (such as Atkins or the LCHF diet) generally include anywhere from 20 to 100 grams of carbohydrate per day. The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet (~10 percent of total calories coming from carbs) with moderate amounts of protein (~20 percent) and high fat (~70 percent). For someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, that’s only about 20 grams of carbs per day-about the size of a large slice of bread. If that sounds really low, you’re right: It is.

Sometimes I see clients get down on themselves for not being able to stay on the bandwagon with whatever diet is trending. But often your body fights extreme plans because it’s trying to tell you something. Enjoying an eating pattern that feels right for you and allows you to be flexible in the context of real life is something that you’ll actually be able to stick with for the long haul-even as the fads come and go. (See: Why You Should Consider Ditching Restrictive Dieting)

If you want to eat a low-carb diet and track your macronutrients (and if your health-care provider feels it’s safe for you), you can tweak your ratio of carbs to protein to fat until you find what feels sustainable and enjoyable while still allowing you to meet your goals. That said, if you feel yourself starting to overthink it, have a history of disordered eating, or struggle with establishing a healthy balance with food, working with a registered dietitian can help you make changes while ensuring you have the support you need to avoid kicking up dust from past issues or making you feel overwhelmed.

How do you know if you’ve struck the right macronutrient balance?

Consuming too little carbohydrate can make you feel sluggish and mentally tired. You may also find yourself feeling irritable or struggling to “keep it together” emotionally. Some people may also feel really hungry when they’re not eating enough carbohydrates. Because many carb-rich foods are also good sources of fiber, digestive discomfort like constipation is a common issue with inadequate carb intake. (That’s why constipation on the keto diet is a real issue.) Make sure you’re still hitting that daily goal of 25 to 35 grams of fiber and drinking plenty of water to keep things moving.

Consuming too much carbohydrate relative to protein and fat may cause you to feel like you have a hard time staying full, as you burn through meals and snacks quickly, causing a sharp spike in blood glucose, followed by a crash. Over time, constantly riding this “blood sugar roller coaster” could lead to prediabetes or insulin resistance.

No, but really, how many grams of carbs should you have?

As a jumping-off point, I generally recommend having a source of carbs at each of your meals. Whether you get it from grains, legumes, starchy veggies, fruit, or dairy is up to you. To help you stay in balance without overthinking, fill half your lunch or dinner plate with non-starchy veggies, a quarter with protein, and the last quarter with carbohydrate. Spreading your carbs out consistently over the course of the day can also help with keeping your blood sugar stable, which supports continuous energy and balanced mood levels.

Here are some examples of meals and snacks that, when you choose one from each category, provide the minimum 130 grams of carbs. If you need more, of course, listen to what your body is asking for and incorporate additional carbs where it makes sense for you. (Related: How to Lose Weight Without Giving Up Carbs, According to Bob Harper)

Breakfast Ideas

Lunch Ideas

  • Spinach salad with 1/2 cup chickpeas (22 grams), 1 cup cherry tomatoes (5 grams), and 1/2 cup grated carrots (5 grams), with olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • Nut butter sandwich on two slices of whole-grain bread (30 grams) and side of 1 cup baby carrots (7 grams) with salsa
  • 1.5 cups minestrone soup (~30 grams) and a small whole-wheat roll (15 grams)

Dinner Ideas

  • 1 cup whole-wheat or bean-based pasta (32 to 40 grams) with 3 oz cooked chicken and 1 cup broccoli (5 grams)
  • 1 cup vegetarian chili (~30 grams) with 1 cup cauliflower rice (5 grams) or 1/3 cup brown rice (15 grams)
  • 3 oz baked fish with 1/2 cup baked sweet potato (15 grams) and 1 cup cooked greens (5 grams); 1 cup berries (~15 grams) for dessert

Snack Ideas

  • 3 cups air-popped popcorn (~15 grams)
  • 1 small apple (~15 grams) with 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • 2 tablespoons hummus (5 grams) and 1 oz whole-grain crackers (15 grams)

Eating a small amount of carbs doubles the body’s ability to burn fat during high-intensity exercise, Phinney says. Very lean and high-performing athletes, such as runners in 50- and 100-mile events, can run totally on body fat stores if they eat a very low-carb diet, improving performance, he says.

Phinney says he is not aware that the low-carb trend has gained traction among elite athletes who run shorter distances, such as the 26.2-mile marathon or the 13.1-mile half-marathon. But he has heard from many recreational runners who compete at these distances and shorter ones who follow the keto diet and find it improves their times. And he suspects the very low-carb diet may also be catching on with elite athletes besides runners.

What about very low-carb eating for your average healthy person without seizure issues or diabetes? “I wouldn’t advocate it for someone who doesn’t have a tangible benefit,” Phinney says.

If losing body fat is your aim, cutting dietary fat lowers body fat more than restricting carbs, according to a National Institutes of Health study. Kevin Hall, PhD, an NIH senior investigator and lead author, studied 19 men and women who were obese but free of diabetes. Before trying each of two diet types, they ate a diet of 50% of total calories from carbs, 35% from fat, and 15% from protein. Then they reduced total calories by 30% — while on the low-carb plan they reduced carbs by 60%; while on the low-fat diet they reduced fat by 85%.

The reduced-fat diet was better than the reduced-carb diet at increasing fat burning, which led to body fat lossExperts agree that some carbs are better than others. Choose the least refined carbs — think whole grains, brown rice — says Lichtenstein.

Aim for the moderate range and don’t focus only on carbs. “You have to think about the whole diet,” she says. The fat you eat should be healthy, such as from liquid vegetable oils. Protein should be lean. Within each category, choose the healthiest option, Lichtenstein says.

Follow these tips from Lichtenstein and Diekman to boost your diet’s content of ”better” carbs, fats, and protein:

  • Choose less-refined carbs — whole wheat pasta over regular, whole grain hamburger buns over non-whole grain, Lichtenstein says. Grain foods such as pasta, whole grain cereals and breads, quinoa, lentils, and beans are also good fiber sources, Diekman says. Plus, they provide a good base for eating more vegetables.
  • Aim to get most of your carbs from fruits, vegetables, and grain foods, Diekman says, with the rest from dairy foods such as milk and yogurt.
  • For fats, choose liquid vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds, Lichtenstein says.
  • For protein, go for lean meats, nonfat dairy, and plant-based protein, Lichtenstein suggests.

Deciding how many of your daily calories should come from carbs isn’t an easy decision, but one thing is sure: Although more research about the optimal balance of carbs is on the horizon, it may help you with your decision, or it could complicate it even more.

How Many Carbohydrates Should You Eat Per Day?

How many carbs per day should I eat to lose weight?

Cutting your carbohydrate intake is not necessarily the best way to lose weight. Creating a caloric deficit, or expending/burning more calories than you take in and require for weight maintenance is a better method for weight loss. You should consume at least the minimum (RDA) for carbohydrates, 130g daily, regardless of your weight goals. Keep in mind that fat provides over twice as many calories per gram than carbohydrate or protein. Thus, cutting down on fats, especially unhealthy trans and saturated fats will have a greater impact on reducing your total caloric intake.

Not all carbohydrate-rich foods are created equal. Healthy foods, such as beans, peas, whole grain breads, cereals and starchy, root vegetables are rich in complex carbohydrates. These choices are higher in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals than refined carbohydrate foods, such as crackers, white bread, cookies and cakes, which, along with sodas and many condiments, are high in sugar. Instead of worrying about how many ‘grams’ of carbohydrates you consume daily, select fiber-rich complex carbohydrates most often and cut back on added sugars.
While the nutrition facts panel does not indicate whether the sugar is ‘natural’ or ‘added,’ be aware that 4g of sugar (listed under carbohydrates on the nutrition facts panel), is the equivalent of 1 tsp. of sugar. When selecting packaged foods (with a nutrition facts panel), take a look at the sugar content (listed under ‘carbohydrate’ and measured in grams). Aim to limit your daily sugar intake to 50g/about 12 tsp.

How many carbs per day are allowed on a low carb diet, such as Atkins?

Low carbohydrate diets, such as the Atkins diet, usually advise restricting your total carbohydrate intake to much lower than the minimum amount recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When you nearly eliminate a food group, such as carbs, you are avoiding all carbs, complex and refined, thus significantly lowering your caloric intake. Usually these diets have phases, starting at the lowest or most restrictive carb level, maybe as low as 20g daily, to a maximum (in the lifetime maintenance phase) of about 90g daily. For Atkins specifically, your lifetime maximum varies by individual and takes ‘trial and error.’ It’s the most you can consume daily without gaining any of the weight you have lost.

How many carbs per day are allowed for a diabetic?

A common misconception about the diabetic diet is that it is or should be low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrate is an essential nutrient; however, when broken down to glucose, it has the greatest impact on blood sugar levels. If you are following a diabetic diet, pay most attention to selecting proper portion sizes, choosing fiber-rich complex carbohydrates and eating about the same amount of carbohydrate (in grams) over evenly spaced meals and snacks during the day. Although exact amounts will vary per individual needs, the number of carbohydrate grams depends upon the calorie level. Even individuals with type II diabetes should, on average, strive to devote 50% of their total caloric intake to carbohydrates. On a 2,000 calorie diet, this would be about 250g, on a 1,600 calorie diet; it would be about 200g. Individuals with type I (insulin dependent) diabetes are on insulin and may be able to consume a more liberal diet.

How many carbohydrates in fruit? Are there any ‘low-carb’ fruits?

The carbohydrate content of fruit depends upon the type, its form (fresh/dried) and the serving size. In general, one ‘serving,’ such as a small piece of whole fruit, ½ cup canned fruit in juice (drained), ½ cup grapes or 2 tbsp. of raisins provides 15g (±5g) carbohydrates. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrition Database for Standard Reference, one raw apple with skin provides 19g carbohydrates, ½ large banana provides 13g and 1 cup of unsweetened fresh berries, such as blackberries, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries provides 13 to 20g total carbohydrates.

Avocadoes and tomatoes are both relatively low-carb fruits. A 1-oz. serving of raw avocado provides less than 4g carbohydrates and one thick slice of raw tomato, less than 1g carbohydrate. Cherry tomatoes are higher in total carbohydrates but still provide less than other fruits, offering about 7g for 10 cherry tomatoes.

Source: http://www.actabit.com

But if you start slashing too many carbs out of your daily meal plan—or get rid of them altogether—your overall health could be getting the short end of the stick.

RELATED: 7 Reasons You NEED To Eat Carbs

“Carbohydrates are a foundation of a healthy diet, providing a ready source of energy for all the body’s activities,” says Liz Blom, R.D., a Minnesota-based nutrition and wellness coach. “In addition to the energy carbohydrates provide, they are needed for building nonessential amino acids that the body uses to create proteins. They also help in the processing of fat and in the building of cartilage, bone, and the tissues of the nervous system.”

RELATED: 11 Foods That Will Speed Up Your Metabolism

So exactly how many grams of carbohydrates do you have to consume each day to lose weight? Like carbs themselves, says Blom, the answer is both simple and complex. The simple part: Everyone needs carbohydrates. The complex part: Each individual’s ideal intake depends on a handful of factors, including age, sex, height, weight, activity level, genetics, and more.

As a rule of thumb, carbs should make up about 45 percent of your daily calories if you’re trying to lose weight, says Blom. To translate that into something you can actually measure, pin down how many calories you’re consuming each day, then calculate 45 percent of that number. Divide that number by four, and that’s how many grams of carbs you should have daily to lose weight. For example, if you’re on a 1,800-calorie diet, you should stick to 202 grams of carbohydrates per day.

With that in mind, you might have to make some modifications in order to find the sweet spot that works best for you, says Blom. She suggests starting at 45 percent and using a tool like MyFitnessPal to track your intake. If you don’t lose any weight after the first week, you can try going lower. “Some women may need to go lower than 45 percent,” says Blom. If you start losing weight but begin to feel super sluggish, try upping your carbohydrate intake a bit and see how you feel and how your weight responds.

And while it’s fine to go above 45 percent, make sure your carbohydrate intake doesn’t surpass 65 percent of your daily calorie intake, says Blom. “This will leave less room for protein and healthy fat intake, which will support satiety (feeling full) and other weight loss benefits,” she says.

The key to maintaining your carb control is to load up on wholesome varieties of carbohydrates, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and even dairy products, and keep your portions in check, says Blom. These healthy sources of carbs are also packed with fibre, which fills you up faster and curbs your appetite better than pasta and doughnuts.

We’re not saying that you have to totally banish your favourite bread or pasta dish from the table. If you have to have it, just make sure you’re aware of how much of it you’re taking in, says Keri Gans, R.D.N., nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. “For example, you can definitely lose weight eating pasta. However, the bowl needs to have only one cup of cooked pasta with lots of veggies, and some protein.”

Once you’ve figured out your magic carb number, don’t forget to stretch it throughout your day to keep your blood sugar steady and your belly full of fiber. So if you eat five meals a day and you’re aiming to consume 202 grams of carbs per day, that shakes out to 40 grams of carbohydrates per meal. (That’s more than the amount in one banana or a cup of cooked quinoa.) Who says you have to go no-carb to lose weight?

This article originally appeared on Womenshealthmag.com.

When you’re focused on losing or maintaining weight, you get plenty of advice about carbs. What’s the truth — should you avoid carbs at all costs, or just certain ones?

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Our dietitians reveal the facts behind common carbohydrate myths:

Myth 1: Carbs make you gain weight

“People often say that carbs are fattening. But complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, are not ‘fattening’ foods,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD.

This myth, she believes, may spring from carbs’ effect on insulin. Eating carbohydrates raises your blood glucose and prompts your body to release insulin. This redirects your glucose to cells.

“But it’s the type and quantity of the carbs you eat — not carbohydrates themselves — that cause weight gain,” notes Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. “Many carbs contain excess calories and sugar.”

Examples include desserts; white bread, rice and pasta; and snack foods like chips, crackers and pretzels. These refined carbs are stripped of the outside grain, which contains the fiber and some protein, she says, making glucose levels spike quickly.

Carbs that contain fiber (like brown rice) or protein (like legumes) raise blood glucose more slowly, require less insulin, and keep you full longer. But even complex carbs like whole grains, beans and fresh fruit should be eaten in moderation.

“For weight loss, a basic rule of thumb is to limit your carb intake to about 1 cup per meal (about the size of a coffee mug or woman’s fist),” says Ms. Zumpano.

Keep your carbohydrate intake to around 40 to 45 percent of your total calories, she says. Healthy fats should make up 30 to 35 percent of your total calories, and lean proteins should make up the other 30 percent.

Myth 2: Only white foods contain carbs

“There seems to be lots of confusion about which foods even contain carbohydrates,” says Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE. “People often think only rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, sweets and sugary drinks are carbohydrates.”

Think beyond “white foods” to get a more complete list of high-carb foods, she says, which also includes:

  • Sweet potatoes.
  • Corn.
  • Peas.
  • Winter squash.
  • All grains, including oats, quinoa and whole wheat.
  • Yogurt and milk.
  • Fruit.

“High-fiber carbs (like legumes, whole grains, starchy veggies and fruits) and high-protein carbs (like legumes, yogurt and milk) are generally more nutritious than low-fiber carbs (like refined grains, sweets and sugary drinks),” she says.

Myth 3: All white foods should be avoided

“It’s true that white foods like processed grains and sweets are higher on the glycemic index, quickly raise blood sugar and cause inflammation,” notes Rachel Stockle, RD, LD.

But other carb-rich foods — considered “white” due to the color of their inside layer — can be essential to good health. “They contain plenty of phytonutrients, have antioxidant activity and support immunity,” she says.

“For example, potatoes have a particularly bad reputation, but are great sources of potassium, fiber and vitamin C.” Stick to the proper portion size, however, she notes: half of a medium potato. (Medium potatoes weigh about ¼ pound on the produce scale at your grocery store.)

Meanwhile, enjoy these other nutrient-rich white foods:

  • Cauliflower.
  • Potatoes.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Onions and garlic.
  • Beans.
  • Jicama.
  • Ginger.
  • Apples.

Myth 4: Fruit is bad because it’s high in carbs

“People often say that fruit has too much sugar in it,” says Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD. “The truth is that fruit is dense in nutrients. Along with a natural form of sugar called fructose, fruit provides fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.”

But many fruits today are far larger than the recommended portions, she cautions. That can make your daily calories and total carbs add up fast.

“One serving of hand fruit (apple, orange, peach, pear or plum) is the size of a tennis ball,” she says. “A 4-inch banana is one serving; so is 17 small grapes.”

She recommends fresh or frozen fruit — without added sugar — over fruit juice. “Fruit juice is more concentrated in fructose but lacks fiber,” she says. (Love fruit juice? Limit your portion to 4 ounces.)

Final note

Don’t write off carbs — they play an important role in a healthy, balanced diet.

“Pick carbs that are bursting with fiber and/or protein, vitamins and minerals, and neglect those devoid of nutrients,” advises Ms. Taylor.

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

Some carbs truly are bad. And some carbs are tremendously good for you. How do you know the difference?

That’s where the confusion comes in. Some doctors talk about the glycemic index. Others blame insulin surges. Some rail against individual ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. And others want to know about your metabolic rate. Getting bleary-eyed? Why wouldn’t you – and for that matter, everyone else?

What’s heartening to know is that the whole mess really can be boiled down to two basic rules…

  1. Fill your daily diet with real food, that is, carbohydrates that look as if they actually came out of the earth. Eat whole corn kernels, for example, instead of corn flakes. Reach for a whole orange instead of orange “vitamin water,” or even orange juice. Choose brown rice, not white rice. The less processed and refined a carb is, the healthier – and better for your waistline – it tends to be.
  2. Steer clear of fake carbs. By fake, we mean food that is more a product of factories than of the soil. Fake carbs are foods that have been so overly processed – fiber stripped, nutrients stripped, water squeezed out, fat added, salt added, sugar added, calories added – that they are something “our great-great grandmothers would not have recognized as food,” writes Michael Pollan in his excellent book In Defense of Food.

Your Great-Great Grandmother Knew Better

Your great-great grandmother would know potatoes. She’d be wary (and we should be, too) of potato chips, not to mention French fries with chili cheese sauce. She’d recognize fresh strawberries and oats, not strawberry flavored breakfast cereal. She’d know whole-grain bread, not bagel snack chips.

If she were from Italy, she’d know fresh tomatoes, garlic, and herbs, not canned tomato sauce.

What, more specifically, are real, or good, carbs? They’re fresh fruits; fresh vegetables; whole grains like oats, barley, whole-grain couscous, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and sprouted whole-grain bread; starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and yams; and legumes like black beans, peas, and pinto beans.

Does the above look like our Western diet? Not even close! The main features of the Western diet are lots of meat; full-fat dairy foods like butter and cheese; and processed, super-calorie-dense carbs full of fat, salt, and/or sugar, such as donuts, corn chips, white-flour bread, macaroni and cheese, pretzels and cereal bars.

In short, the Western diet has lots of everything except fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

Why are good carbs like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains (especially cooked whole grains) so good for us? Let us count just some of the many ways.

Good carbs are:

  • Low to moderate in calorie density, which means we can eat filling amounts and satisfy our hunger, but not worry about going overboard on calories.
  • High in an enormous variety of nutrients.
  • Devoid of refined sugars and refined grains. In America, refined sugars like corn syrup now make up more than 20% of the calories we eat each day. That’s a big problem because our human bodies evolved over centuries and centuries to metabolize unrefined carbohydrates. We’re equipped to handle corn. We’re clueless about high fructose corn syrup. Daily tsunamis of sugar in our bloodstream are directly linked to our current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • High in naturally occurring fiber, which helps lower not only blood sugar and insulin levels but also LDL bad cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods also help you fill up on fewer calories so that you can lose weight more easily. A high-fiber diet also helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and certain cancers. Americans average just 12 to 15 grams of fiber a day. Nutrition experts say we ought to be getting at least 35 to 50 fiber grams daily.
  • Low in sodium.
  • Low in saturated fat.
  • Very low (often zero) cholesterol, and no trans fats.

Fake, processed (bad) carbs, the carbs consumed by most Americans, are:

  • High in calorie density. (Just a few bites of a corn dog or energy bar, and you’ve taken in a bunch of calories.)
  • High in refined sugars (whether white sugar, corn syrup, or so-called “natural” sugars like honey and added fruit juices).
  • High in refined grains like white flour.
  • Low in many nutrients.
  • Low in fiber.
  • High (often very high) in sodium.
  • Sometimes high in saturated fat.
  • Sometimes high in cholesterol and trans fats.

From the bullets above, it’s easy to see how a diet rich in good carbs can lead to a lean body and good health. And how a diet of processed carbs like white flour and sat-fat-rich foods like 16-ounce steaks and cheeseburgers has busted not only our health but our health-care system.

We’re shelling out an unsustainable billions of dollars annually in diet-related health-care costs, often spent on horrifically priced and sometimes questionably effective procedures like angioplasties and heart bypass operations. The money we’d save by returning to our dietary roots – fresh fruits, fresh veggies, whole grains – is mind-boggling.

What’s more, good health would be restored in a remarkably short period of time. That’s the really good news, several studies have found.

Research on native Hawaiians is an excellent case in point.

Anyone who’s been to Hawaii knows that native Hawaiians tend to be beefy. That wasn’t always the case. In the 19th century, when their diet was full of unrefined, whole carbohydrates like starchy root-like potatoes called taros as well as yams, fresh vegetables, and fresh fruit, journalists described them as having a “thin rather than full habit.”

In the 1990s, researchers at the University of Hawaii put obese native Hawaiians, all with multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease, back on this native diet of unrefined carbohydrates. In just 21 days, cholesterol, triglyceride, and glucose levels plummeted. So did elevated blood pressures.

And even though the Hawaiians were instructed to eat as much as they wanted, their caloric intake was 41% less than intake before the study. The weight peeled off – on average 17 pounds. And in just 21 days.

The study was repeated in 2001 and once again, the native Hawaiian diet yielded dramatic changes among obese Hawaiians in just three weeks. Weight loss averaged 11 pounds. LDL cholesterol levels fell 25%. Systolic blood pressure normalized. And triglycerides plunged 36%.

Results are similarly outstanding among thousands who changed their lifestyles at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Like the native Hawaiian diet, the Pritikin Eating Plan emphasizes good carbs: unrefined, whole foods like fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and beans. The Pritikin Program also involves daily exercise.

In just three weeks at Pritikin, more than 100 studies published over the past 30 years have documented extraordinary benefits, which include:

  • Dramatic reductions in total, LDL, and non-HDL cholesterol levels,
  • Doubling the effectiveness of statin therapy,
  • Lowering blood pressure to normal or near-normal levels, and in most cases medications are eliminated or significantly reduced,
  • Better control of type 2 diabetes, and often, elimination of the need for oral drugs or reductions in dosages,
  • Reversing the metabolic syndrome, and preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, and
  • Helping thousands worldwide shed excess weight without counting calories or feeling chronically hungry.

National Weight Control Registry

Still concerned that a carbohydrate-rich diet will upend your weight-loss goals?

Consider this. The most comprehensive study of long-term weight-loss success ever conducted, the on-going National Weight Control Registry, has found that the vast majority of its 6,000+ members eat a diet based on whole or minimally processed plant foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – naturally low in fat. The average member has lost about 70 pounds and kept those pounds off for six years. Yes, this is success!

And we know they’re not eating a lot of calorie-dense, heavily processed carbs in part because their total daily intake of calories is low – not something that would happen with a lot of 300-calorie snack bars.

They’re also physically active, averaging about 60 minutes of brisk walking daily. A good diet plus daily physical activity (the less we sit, the better!) is a winning combination.

Also, like our guests at Pritikin, most of these very successful weight-loss people do not starve themselves. They’re eating an average five times daily.

To help you choose good carbs vs bad carbs — healthful carbs instead of hyperprocessed, hypercalorie carbs — here are 5 key tips:

1

Don’t bother with the glycemic index or glycemic load.

Basing your diet on a food’s glycemic index (GI) or glycemic load is confusing, and sometimes downright wrong. (You shouldn’t eat carrots because they have a high GI? Carrots?!)

A high glycemic index (GI) supposedly means higher blood sugar levels, but plenty of excellent foods, like carrots, have a high GI. New research has found that our focus should be healthy foods, not the GI.

Major research agrees. In one study, for example, of more than 284,000 people that looked at whole grain consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers found that the more whole grains people ate, the lower their risk for type 2 diabetes.

What’s interesting is that as whole grain consumption rose, the glycemic load rose as well, but who cares if the end result was less diabetes and better health?

That’s precisely what happened in this huge study. A higher intake of whole grains in place of refined grains was linked with lower weight and lower risk of diabetes, and having a high glycemic load did not undo these very important benefits.

Published, too, was an exhaustive review of 140 studies on carbohydrate intake and body mass index (BMI). Its findings: There was no connection between the glycemic index and BMI. The University of Virginia scientists concluded that people should not concern themselves with the glycemic index.

What was linked with lower BMIs, the researchers found, was high-carbohydrate diets – good carbohydrates. A low-fat dietary strategy with emphasis on fiber-rich carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is “beneficial for health and weight control,” the scientists recommended.

Similarly, in another study on overweight adults placed on diets with varying amounts of whole, natural carbohydrates, scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health found that those on the high-carb, high-GI diet actually fared better than those on the low-carb/low-GI diet.

For improved insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, the researchers concluded that what matters most is an overall healthy dietary pattern based on whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fish. The glycemic index is not worth worrying about, summed up Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado in an accompanying editorial.

2

Don’t get sidetracked by single ingredients. It’s the whole food that counts.

In recent years, for example, there’s been a crusade against high-fructose corn syrup. It’s been called “the Devil’s candy” and “the crack of sweeteners.” Food processors are now bragging that they’ve switched from high-fructose corn syrup to plain old sugar in soft drinks and other processed foods.

But it’s difficult to see how there’s any difference between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar (sucrose). Both are half fructose and half glucose. And research has found high-fructose corn syrup had the same impact as sugar on blood sugar, insulin, and hormones that affect appetite.

Soft drinks, whether made with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, are liquid calories. And liquid calories are a big problem if you’re trying to lose weight because they go down oh-so easily, and sadly, most of us don’t compensate for all those extra calories by eating much less food later in the day.

3

Eat foods naturally high in fiber, not foods labeled “high in fiber” because fiber was added to them.

There’s a lot of this going on lately, especially in the bread and cereal aisles. Products are full of heavily processed, refined grains (yes, bad carbs) but boast that they’re fiber-rich because wheat brain or another isolated bran has been added to them.

Choose good carbs that are naturally rich in fiber over foods with added fiber.

The problem is: The many studies that have linked fiber-rich foods with health benefits were based on foods naturally rich in fiber – that’s right, good carbohydrates like 100% whole-grain cereals, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and bean-rich soups. Scientists don’t know if fiber that has been added has the same effect.

And we have plenty of reason to doubt that it would. What did adding oat bran to everything from muffins to mayo in the 1980s get us? Any single substance, including fiber, is just one of thousands found in whole foods. Isolating one of them, as we’ve done with supplements like beta carotene, does not work, and may even do damage. Studies have found that beta carotene supplements actually increased the risk of certain cancers.

So stick to the real thing. Our bodies have a longstanding relationship with whole grains, not stripped grains that have been injected with a little wheat bran. To ensure you’re getting the real thing in the supermarket, buy bread, pastas, and other grain products that show as their first ingredient whole grain, such as whole-wheat flour or sprouted whole-grain kernels.

And see what else is in that ingredient list. Whole grains won’t do you much good if they’re mixed with molasses, honey, sorbitol, and other simple sugars, or if the product has a lot of sodium, which many breads do.

4

For losing weight, go easy on flour, even whole-grain flour.

To shed pounds, first focus on fruits and vegetables. Make sure you’re enjoying at least nine servings daily. Yes, lots of them! Ounce for ounce, veggies and fruits have more nutrients and fewer calories than anything else.

If you’re trying to lose weight, some whole grains are better for you than others. Choose “wet” over “dry” grains.

As you learned at Pritikin, round out your daily diet with legumes (beans), seafood, starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams and corn, nonfat dairy foods, and whole grains.

But for losing weight, some whole grains are good for you. And some you’ll probably need to limit, or you’ll take in too many calories.

The good-for-weight-loss whole grains are those, like brown rice, whole oats, and unhulled barley, that have not gone through the grinding, or processing, of their kernels into flour. These whole grains, when cooked, have only about 500 calories per pound, which means you can eat them until comfortably full without worrying about eating a lot of calories.

The not-good-for-weight-loss grains are those, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain bagels, and whole-grain crackers and chips, in which the kernels have been ground into flour. When this processing happens, the product is much more calorie dense.

Whole-grain breads have a calorie density of around 1,200 to 1,500 calories per pound. Whole-grain, fat-free chips are 1,600 to 1750 calories per pound. That’s right, ounce for ounce, you’re getting about three times as many calories than if you were eating unground, unprocessed whole grains.

And do those ounces disappear quickly. Think about it. In minutes, we can easily put away five slices of whole-wheat bread. Five bowls of oatmeal? No chance.

Another way to think about it is “dry” versus “wet.” Highly processed, ground whole grains are all dry grains, which makes them more compact (and less filling). By contrast, unground grains like whole oats and brown rice are cooked in water (therefore wet). The water adds bulk and a lot more stomach-filling satisfaction, but not more calories.

One exception to the “flour rule,” points out Pritikin Director of Nutrition Kimberly Gomer, is whole-wheat pasta. “That’s because whole-wheat pastas are not consumed dry, and the processing tends to slow their digestion compared to breads, crackers, pretzels, and dry cereals. So whole-wheat pastas leave you feeling satiated on fewer calories. Of course, combine the pasta with veggies and a tomato sauce, and it’s even better for losing weight. ”

Keeping your stomach full and happy is a very good thing because it helps keep you from going places you don’t want to go.

5

Enjoy home life more (and restaurants less).

One of the best ways to achieve optimal health and escape our obesity-causing culture of fast foods and bad carbs is to eat at home more often. Put a huge platter of fresh fruit and veggies on the kitchen table. Eat everything in it every day. Replenish it every day. If you can, plant a vegetable garden.

If you can’t, go grocery shopping. And it doesn’t have to be a health food store. Anywhere in America you can get whole, healthful foods like fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, potatoes, brown rice and other whole grains that you cook, and beans, as well as nonfat dairy foods, fish, chicken, and even lately, very lean red meat like bison.

Just start out in the produce section. Fill your cart halfway with fruit and veggies. Now, you’re on the Pritikin track.

Better yet, visit your local farmer’s market, where you’ll find wonderfully good carbs (no added sugars, salts, or fats) picked at their peak of flavor. Yes, the very same food your great-great grandmother would have recognized as food.

When you return home, retreat to the kitchen away from the stresses of the day. Lose yourself in the joy of your own cooking. Then sit down to a meal that’s tremendously good, and tremendously good for you, carbs and all.

Lose Weight at the Pritikin Weight-Loss Retreat

Take life to the next level, and be all that you can be. That’s what a vacation at Pritikin is all about. Live better. Look better. And best of all, feel better.

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