How Many Carbs Per Day Should I Have?
One question you may find yourself asking as you move through your fat loss diet is how many carbohydrates you really need.
Perhaps you want to go on a lower carbohydrate diet plan, but aren’t too sure just how low you can take that carb intake.
Is too low unsafe? Or would it harm your results?
Let’s go over some of the key things to consider when thinking about how many carbohydrates you really need.
The Base Level
First let’s talk basics. Each and every day, you should take in some carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables or at the very least, just vegetables alone.
These foods are so full of nutrition that you simply don’t want to miss out on them in your diet plan. Doing so would be setting yourself up for nutritional deficiencies.
As they are also quite low in carbs (vegetables especially), you should be aiming for a minimum of around 30-50 grams of carbohydrates from these sources. Don’t attempt to go lower than this.
Now, at this level, you may find that you just don’t feel well. Your brain needs around 100 grams of carbs per day to function optimally and when you take them lower, it will switch over to using ketones as a fuel source.
Some people feel fine when using ketones as a fuel source (which are derived from fats), however others do not.
This is very individual, so you will need to see how you feel at this 30-50 gram intake. If you feel fine, that’s great.
If not, bring it up to 100 grams minimum. For you, this is the lowest that you should go.
Your Activity Needs
Beyond that, you also need to consider your activity needs. If you are engaging in regular intense physical activity, you will need to be taking in more carbs to fuel that activity.
Remember that while fatty acids can fuel moderate intensity activity, they just can’t fuel intense exercise like sprint training or weight-lifting. For that, you need carbohydrates.
If you are doing aerobic exercise (such as interval training), aim to eat around 25 grams of carbs extra per 15 minutes of activity you do. Tack this onto your day, preferably before your workout session.
If you are doing weight lifting, add around 5 grams of carbs per 2 working sets that you are doing.
So if your workout program contained 20 sets total (assuming each set takes around 30-45 seconds to complete), this means you’ll want to consume an additional 50 grams of carbs – or 200 calories from carbs for that session.
This is the minimum that you should be eating.
Your Insulin Sensitivity
Finally, you should also consider your insulin sensitivity. Those who have good insulin sensitivity can likely withstand adding more carbs to their diet because their body uses them well.
How can you tell?
Consider how you feel after a very high carb meal. If you were to eat a large plate of pasta, would you feel energised and ready to exercise?
If so, you can likely have a higher carbohydrate intake in your daily diet plan.
If, on the other hand, that plate of pasta makes you want to go to sleep, chances are you are better off adding more calories by way of dietary fat than carbohydrates. They’ll serve you better.
So keep these tips in mind as you plan your carbohydrate intake. Remember that your recommended amount is never set in stone, but rather something that should vary based on how you feel and the lifestyle you lead.