Boca Health


How Many Carbs Do I Need?


Whereas in the past most diets focused on lowering the intake of fats and empty calories, the weight loss doctors today place far more emphasis on limiting the consumption of carbohydrates. Many popular diets of the past decade discouraged eating carb-heavy foods, while some diets restricted carb consumption entirely. However, up until 2005, carb-heavy foods like bread and various grains made up the largest section of the food pyramid. This drastic change in what is considered healthy and unhealthy has caused confusion amongst many new dieters.

Prior to the rise of the low carb craze it was commonly believed that grains, legumes and starches were the healthiest way to obtain carbohydrates. Unfortunately all of these foods are often difficult to digest and are known to contribute to obesity. Obesity arises from the body’s tendency to store excess carbs as fat.

Carbohydrates should not be eliminated from the diet as they are necessary and very important for the heart and brain. Instead, those looking to lose extra pounds should not limit their carbohydrate intake to anything below 60 to 90 grams a day. In fact, 30 grams a day of carbs is an absolute minimum and is considered dangerously low. It is important to note that it is very dangerous to have anything less than 30 grams of carbs a day.

The physicians at Boca Health recommend eating two fruits and two small servings of vegetables every day, enough to provide the body with a sufficient amount of carbs, in addition to various other nutrients and minerals. The 60 to 90 grams per day rule doesn’t apply to everyone. Those who are in shape and have no visibly apparent fat should base their carb requirement on their activity level, consuming about 120 grams of carbs daily. Typically the more active a person is, the more carbs they require, since carbs provide the majority of the body’s energy.

Carbohydrates only make up one part of caloric needs; the rest should come from proteins and healthy fats. If carb intake is controlled, individuals should eat proteins and healthy fats to satisfy hunger pangs. Having an increased amount of protein will not lead to weight gain. In actuality, weight gain results from consuming too many carbs when hungry or eating despite not feeling hungry.

Remember that exercise, sweating, and physical activities do not have a significant effect on a body’s carb requirement. Exercise is encouraged, but a long day at the gym does not justify eating carb-heavy meal afterwards. Dieters are encouraged to stay active and commit to lowering carb consumption, as the combination of these two practices inevitably leads to weight loss and better health.

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