Many clients ask as they “graduate” from my Ideal Protein weight loss program “how many carbs a day to keep from regaining weight?” My response is “not many!” and try to give them guidelines based upon food combinations and time of day to optimally metabolize carbohydrates.
I also thought this was a good guide from Mark Stisson of marksdailyapple.com. And if you have a favorite guide, please share it with us here in the comments section…
Mark says “Since the choice of how many and what types of carbs in one’s diet depends on the context of one’s life (current weight, disease condition, activity levels, etc), I see carb intake as a “curve” ranging from “allowable” to “desirable” to “unhealthy”.
The following descriptions illustrate how carbohydrates impact the human body and the degree to which we need them, or not, in our diet. The ranges represent daily averages and are subject to variables like age, current height and weight and particularly training volume. For example, a heavy, active person can be successful at a significantly higher number than a light, moderately active person. In particular, hard training endurance athletes will experience a greater need for carbs and can adjust their personal curve accordingly.
300 or more grams/day - Danger Zone!
Easy to reach with the “normal” American diet (cereals, pasta, rice, bread, waffles, pancakes, muffins, soft drinks, packaged snacks, sweets, desserts). High risk of excess fat storage, inflammation, increased disease markers including Metabolic Syndrome or diabetes. Sharp reduction of grains and other processed carbs is critical unless you are on the “chronic cardio” treadmill (which has its own major drawbacks).
150-300 grams/day – Steady, Insidious Weight Gain
Continued higher insulin-stimulating effect prevents efficient fat burning and contributes to widespread chronic disease conditions. This range – irresponsibly recommended by the USDA and other diet authorities – can lead to the statistical US average gain of 1.5 pounds of fat per year for forty years.
100-150 grams/day – Maintenance Range
This range is adjusted based on body weight and activity level. When combined with exercise, allows for genetically optimal fat burning and muscle development. Range derived from Grok’s (ancestors’) example of enjoying abundant vegetables and fruits and avoiding grains and sugars.
50-100 grams/day – Sweet Spot for Effortless Weight Loss
Minimizes insulin production and ramps up fat metabolism. By meeting average daily protein requirements (.7 – 1 gram per pound of lean bodyweight formula), eating nutritious vegetables and fruits (easy to stay in 50-100 gram range, even with generous servings), and staying satisfied with delicious high fat foods (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds), you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week and then keep it off forever by eating in the maintenance range.
0-50 grams/day – Ketosis and Accelerated Fat Burning
Acceptable for a day or two of Intermittent Fasting towards aggressive weight loss efforts, provided adequate protein, fat and supplements are consumed otherwise. Not recommended as a long-term practice for otherwise healthy people due to resultant deprivation of high nutrient value vegetables and fruits.