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Does Eating High Carbs But Low Calories Equal Weight Loss?

If you love carbs and want to lose weight, there’s good news, as long as you eat a low-calorie diet, the pounds will come off no matter what you eat. That said, overloading on carbohydrates is detrimental to your health, as is getting your carbs from the wrong sources. Talk to your doctor before making major changes to your diet or starting a weight loss plan.

Calories and Weight Loss

Whether you fill up on carbs or protein, the amount of calories you consume primarily dictates whether you lose or gain weight. A safe, effective low-calorie diet is typically 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day for women or 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day for men. Eating this amount creates a calorie deficit, meaning your body uses more energy than you take in so it must burn body fat for fuel. For optimal weight loss results, engage in regular exercise as well.

Carbs and Weight Loss

In a study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” in 2009, researchers placed obese participants on one of four reduced-calorie diets for two years; target carbohydrate intake for each diet ranged from 35 to 65 percent of total calories. Participants also attended periodic instructional meetings. By the end of the study, researchers found no difference between the diets — the main factor for weight loss success was attending meetings, regardless of carb consumption.

Complex vs. Simple Carbs

The types of carbs you eat could make a difference in the amount of weight you lose, according to a study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2002. Overweight participants were allowed to eat as many calories as desired but were split up into groups. One group replaced one-fourth of their daily fat intake with complex carbohydrates such as breads and cereals. Another replaced one-fourth of fat intake with simple carbs such as sugar and syrup. The third group served as a control with no dietary restrictions. The control group gained weight while the complex-carb group lost 4.25 kilograms on average. In contrast, the simple-carb group lost an average of just 0.28 kilograms.

Choosing Carbs Wisely

For your waistline as well as your health, choose carbohydrates from unrefined sources. Including whole grains like whole wheat breads and pastas, barley, popcorn and wild rice, as well as fruits and vegetables. These foods all contain fiber along with vitamins and minerals that are removed from white bread and other processed fare. Also, don’t consume so many carbs that you skimp on other nutrients. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 10 to 35 percent of calories from protein and 20 to 35 percent of calories from fat.

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