In my previous post about general diet information, I briefly talked about Carbohydrates. I have a lot of patients ask me about Carbohydrates, or Carbs, when looking into losing weight and dieting. So I want to provide a little more detail about the compound, and what I will recommend to patients when they are looking to manager Carbs in their diets.
First, Carbohydrates are food compounds that provide energy for the body. Most of the carbohydrates that we eat come from three food groups: starch, fruit and milk. Vegetables can contain some levels of carbohydrates, while meat and fats contain very little.
Our bodies convert carbohydrates into useable energy sources. The goal should be to provide these carbohydrates with healthy food sources. The “good” carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, beans and vegetables. These should be the primary sources of dietary carbohydrates. Conversely, you should try to avoid the bad carbohydrates such as chips, cakes, candy, pasta, refined sugars and white breads.
Many of my patients ask me the amounts of carbohydrates that they should eat per day. Generally, most experts recommend that 45 to 65% of all of your daily calories should come from “good” carbohydrates. If you try to maintain an 1800 calorie diet per day, this means eating around 200 to 250 grams of carbohydrates per day. However, weight loss specialists recommend much lower amounts, sometimes less than 100 grams per day.
Carb “counting” is a good way to get started on a weight loss, “shaping up” program. Typically, I will recommend to my patients that they try to eat 100 to 150 grams of good carbohydrates per day. This may sound pretty easy, but it can actually be difficult. The best way to stick with the plan is to do some basic research to find good foods that you enjoy, and cutting out the bad foods that are high in carbohydrates. This will help you create a basic diet plan that can help achieve your carb intake goals.
Many foods contain more carbohydrates than you might expect. For example, an apple can have 30 grams, while a banana can have 27 grams. A cup of strawberries will have only 11 carbohydrates, and an orange can have 22 grams but also is good for fiber. One slice of white bread can have 20 grams of carbohydrates, and a baked potato can have up to 60 grams. You can see that carbohydrates can add up really fast.
Here are some ‘good’ foods that are healthy sources of carbohydrates:
- Whole wheat bread
- Brown rice
- Whole oats (not instant)
- Whole wheat pasta
The big takeaway is not anything groundbreaking, but it is important to note. It is better to eat carbohydrates from healthy food sources than from ‘bad’ sources. Carbohydrates help provide our bodies with energy, but in excess can cause weight gain. Cutting carbs entirely is possible, but I recommend just monitoring your intake. To help with that, I have included a free carb counter template that you can use to monitor your carb intake. Here is a great source to see how many carbs different foods contain: Nutrition.gov. If you have any questions about carbohydrates or requests for more information, please just leave us a comment down below.