The amount of carbohydrates you eat on a low-carb diet one day is different for everyone. You can’t lose weight if you consume too many carbohydrates, but also if you consume too few carbohydrates, this can prevent you from losing weight.
In this article, I will explain how many carbohydrates you can eat a day to lose weight in a healthy way. Further on you will find an overview where you can see how many carbohydrates per day suit your lifestyle.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are fuel for your body (just like petrol for a car). Your body converts carbohydrates into sugar (glucose), and this provides energy.
You can distinguish between two types of carbohydrates: fast and slow carbohydrates.
Sources of fast carbohydrates are:
- Sugar *
- Cereal products
- Cereals for breakfast
- Ice cream
- Soft drink
- Fruit juices from suit
- Ready-to-eat meals
- Soups and sauces from suit/can
- Artificial sweeteners
* Products to which refined sugars are added also fall under the fast carbohydrates category.
Sources of slow carbohydrates are:
- Sweet potato
Fast Carbs vs Slow Carbs
The difference between fast and slow carbohydrates is that the slow carbohydrates consist of essential nutrients. Slow carbohydrates contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that you need to make the food useful in your body as well.
Rapid carbohydrates lack these nutrients. Your body also has difficulty processing this form of carbohydrates.
If you often eat fast carbohydrates, you will soon experience complaints such as obesity (especially around the abdomen), fatigue and low resistance. In the long term, even chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can develop.
With a low-carb diet, you avoid fast carbohydrates and eat small portions of slow carbohydrates. You get the other nutrients you need from fats and proteins.
It is important to do this properly because by eating the right fats and proteins you don’t experience hunger while following a low carbohydrate diet.
How many carbs a day?
How much carbohydrates you need is different for each person. What is the perfect amount of carbohydrates for you to lose weight can be too much or too little for someone else?
Your carbohydrate requirement depends on a number of factors:
- How active you are
- The current state of health
- Personal preference
If you are very sporty and have a lot of muscle mass, you can use more carbohydrates than someone who has very little exercise and little muscle mass.
Your physical health is also an important factor. For example, if you are a type 2 diabetic, it is important to keep a close eye on how your body reacts to reducing the number of carbohydrates per day. This is because of the medication you’re taking.
Below you will find the guidelines we use in the Live Sugar-Free program:
Low carbohydrate: Approximately 50-75 grams of carbohydrates per day
The low-carbohydrate diet is suitable for people who have:
- does not do sports
- is of middle age
- is overweight
- has a sedentary profession
- wants to lose weight faster
If you fall under this category, then an average amount of 50-75 grams of carbohydrates per day is a good guideline to start with. Then try the menu of the day below.
Sample daily menu
Breakfast: Oatmeal porridge made from 30 grams of oatmeal, 75 grams of blueberries, 200 ml unsweetened vegetable milk, 1 tbsp flaxseed, and 1 tbsp coconut rind.
Lunch: Greek salad of cucumber, tomatoes, olives, lettuce of your choice and slices of smoked salmon.
Snacks: Hand of unsalted nuts and half an avocado with cottage cheese.
Dinner: 300 grams of steamed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.) with 150 grams of meat or fish of your choice.
With this amount of carbohydrates per day, listen carefully to your body. If you are just starting on a low-carb diet, you may experience complaints such as tiredness, hunger and headaches. Most complaints are over after a week.
If this is not the case, this amount of carbohydrates per day may not be enough for you. Then try the daily menu of the carbohydrate-restricted list.
Carbohydrate limited: Approximately 75-100 grams of carbohydrates per day
The carbohydrate-restricted diet is suitable for people who have:
- To have a slightly active profession
- Occasionally light sports
- Daily exercise
- At target, weight are after following a low carbohydrate diet
If you fall under this category, then an average amount of 75-100 grams of carbohydrates per day is a good guideline to start with. Then try the menu of the day below.
Example daily menu
- Breakfast: A mosquito cake of 1 tbsp oatmeal, 1 tbsp linseed, 1 egg, 1 small banana or 1⁄2 large banana (70 grams), a dash of unsweetened almond milk, 1 tbsp cinnamon and/or cocoa powder, 20 grams unsalted almonds. Serve 100 grams of Greek yogurt next to it.
- Lunch: A salad of 75 grams of kale, 1 handful of dried cranberry, 1 tangerine, 1/2 apple, 1 boiled egg, 2 tbsp pine nuts and a dash of olive oil.
- Snack: Cucumber with a spoonful of nut paste Dinner: Broccoli soup: 350 grams broccoli, 75 grams smoked salmon, 20 grams quinoa, 10 grams pine nuts, 10 grams Greek yogurt, 1 onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 stock cube.
Carbohydrate-rich: Approximately 100-150 grams of carbohydrates per day
A carbohydrate-rich diet is suitable for people who have a diet rich in carbohydrates:
- Have an active lifestyle
- Intensive sports
- Doing physically heavy work
- Want to stay on weight
You can still lose weight with this amount of carbohydrates per day, but it will be more gradual than when you eat low-carb and limited. The advantage of this plan is that it can be maintained and does not have to be temporary. This prevents you from having to deal with the yo-yo effect.
Example daily menu
- Breakfast: 150 grams of Greek yogurt with 1 banana, 1 date, and 1 tbsp flaxseed.
- Lunch: Vegetable omelet of 150 grams of vegetables and 2 eggs, possibly served on 2 wholemeal rice wafers.
- Dinner: 250 gram steamed vegetables, 150-gram meat or fish of your choice and 1 sweet potato.
- Snacks: A piece of fruit and snack vegetables with hummus dip
Don’t eat too much, but certainly not too little carbohydrates.
In order to lose weight effectively, it is important that you don’t eat too many carbohydrates, but certainly not too few. This can hamper losing weight.
Too few carbohydrates: less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day
There are diets known in which you eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is also called the ketogenic diet. In some situations this diet can be useful, but it is not recommended to follow this diet unaccompanied.
With this amount of carbohydrates per day you can also experience complaints such as dizziness, tiredness, hunger, headaches, a down feeling, etc.
Too much carbohydrates: more than 150 grams per day
With more than 150 grams of carbohydrates a day, you run the risk of gaining weight again. If you are at your target weight, make sure you limit your carbohydrate and keep eating up to 150 grams of carbohydrates. You get the remaining food from fats and proteins.
For top athletes, this advice may vary, please have an expert in the field of sports advise you.
As you’ve read, the amount of carbohydrates you should eat one day is different for everyone, but don’t be too focused on this.
It is more important that you watch your body and pay attention to what feels good. Take the number of carbohydrates as a starting point, but make sure you get enough nutrients.
Keep it simple for yourself. Eat vegetables, healthy fats and proteins during every meal. Always choose unprocessed, fresh ingredients.