What matters most is calories. People can lose weight on a high-carb or low-carb diet if calories are controlled. The trick is to find a balance that lets you eat the foods that satisfy you. If you would rather have a steak than a bowl of pasta, then you'll probably do well on a low-carb plan. If you can't imagine life without toast and cereal, then you're not going to be happy low-carber.
Set yourself up in Sparkpeople and follow the guidelines they give you at first. It's a pretty middle-of-the-road recommendation, something that will work for most people. If it doesn't work for you, you can adjust things later, but SparkPeople gives you a good starting point.
I lost my weight while getting 65-70% of my calories from carbs. Pookie lost hers with about 40% carbs. I don't necessarily recommend either of those extremes, but it does show that both extremes can work. Start with the average, and move out from there to find what works best for you.
It sounds from your initial post that you have NOT entered your information at SP. For when you do, you will receive a range for calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates for weight loss. Start your program. THEN start tracking your food intake using the SP food tracker, you will quickly see how close you are coming to your ranges and where food selections and portion sizes may need to change to meet needs. Let me know if you need help in setting up the process. SP Registered Dietitian Becky
9/30/10 6:05 P
haha.. oh dear.. i think I just keep confusing myself with each answer I receive.. However, I am definitely learning a lot about diet/nutrition which is what I need.
I am debating whether my small dinner of brown rice, crushed tomato and navy beans were bad for me???!
9/30/10 4:54 P
The brain is fueled by glucose which can come from carbs or it can come from gluconeogenesis.
Eating a diet that is lower in carbohydrates is not unbalanced nor is it unsafe in anyway. Research from as early as the 1900s and as late as 2009 has shown that fat is healthy and required for the body to function properly.
Macronutirients are important and some people are unable to lose weight on calorie restriction alone. There have studies recently that show that low fat/high carbohydrates lead to lower LDL cholesterol, but also lead to lower HDL cholesterol. This is a very bad thing as it means that the LDL is the worst kind, vLDL. When you have a slightly high LDL but a much higher HDL, the way eating lower carb makes your lipid profile, you have nice big fluffy LDL which is good for you.
The best way to eat, in my opinion, is to limit processed foods. Eat your fill of fresh veggies and fruits (frozen is fine, stay away from canned). Eat protein from non-bean sources (beans contain inflammtory substances and inflammation is bad for your heart) and eat healthy fats.
I tend to eat between 50-60% of my diet from fat, 20-30% from protein and 10-20% from carbohydrates. I feel great, have less joint pain, more energy and am able to get through my workouts better at this range.
From Aug 18 to Sept 18 I lost 6 pounds of fat and improved my body fat percentage by over 2%. Which, according to some people is not possible since "low' carb diets only result in water weight loss.
I personally do not go below 50 grams of carbohydrate a day ona regular basis. It doesn't work for me, it caused me to plateau. But, there are some people who do fine on that or lower, feel great and love it that way.
The bottomline is you need to find what works for you. Try following the spark plan as written and if it doesn't work, adjust from there. It didn't work for me. I tried for over three years, and only lost about 10 pounds the entire time. I ate healthy and I exercised, it should have worked. When I adjusted my macronutrients, ditched grains and went to un-processed foods I lost weight. I like how I feel and how I look (even if I still need to lose a few more pounds). I also am amazed that now that I eat totally against the normal way of eating I rarely am missing any of my mocirnutirents (vitamins and minerals) where as when I was eating more carbs, I rarely acheived those goals. I do end up supplementing Vitamin D, fish oils (to balance out omega 3: 6 ratios, magnesium and folic acid. But, just about everyone should be supplementing those (well folic acid for women of childbearing age).
P.S. you can see my progress photos on my sparkpage :)
Fitness Minutes: (88,925)
9/30/10 3:58 P
Some vegetables do, some dont, and fibre carbs are not used by the body in the same way either.
here is a great link, the whole low carb section is great.
9/30/10 3:39 P
But doesn't veggies have a lot of carbs too? I really need to find a complete listing of food w/ calories, carbs, etc.. I may need to invest in a book. haha!
Fitness Minutes: (88,925)
9/30/10 3:33 P
When I was eating at 1200 I kept my carbs under 100g a day, protein over 100g a day. I got my carbs from natural sources, nothing processed.
Eating a HUGE bowl of fresh steamed vegetables is way more satisfying than a cup of nutrionally void pasta!
9/30/10 3:26 P
Thank you so much for all that info! I thought that going on the fruits and veggies route was the better option. I didn't understand why Atkins would limit/void those kinds of foods from your diet because of the carb count. Fruits & veggies are good for you!! Do you have any advice on menu meal planning? This is something new to me as well, I am trying to make sure I keep a minimum of 1200 calories a day, its hard thinking about food so much!!
HELAINAH - it's a mistake to go low carb. Your body cannot burn fat without a carbohydrate fire to burn it in. Your brain and nervous system run EXCLUSIVELY on carbohydrate, so if you go low-carb you're hurting your brain and nervous system.
What matters for weight loss is that you get QUALITY carbs. That means lots of veggies and fruit, whole grains, and then get your lean protein. STay away from processed carbs like crackers, cookies, etc. Try to stay away from refined flour, refined sugar, white rice, white pasta. These are essentially empty calories.
Your body needs between 50-70% of its totaly calorie intake to be carbohydrate. It needs another 15-30% to be protein. Then the rest (10% or less) to be fat.
This is all based on the hard, factual science of chemistry and nutrition and the way your body uses macronutrients. Any "diet" that says you have to cut a whole food group is A) not healthy and B)not going to produce long-lasting weight loss.
These so-called low-carb diets produce a lot of weight loss because of water. You're eating more protein on these "low-carb" diets, and that means your kidneys are stressed trying to process all that protein (that it doesn't need and can't use). When you urinate the protein, it takes calcium with it as well - so you're essentially taxing your kidneys unnecessarily, you're losing calcium which could lead to weakness in your bones, and you're dehydrating yourself.
Studies continue to show that weight loss is about calories, not about one macronutrient being favored or cut out.
Incidentally, the two lowest carb diets such as Atkins and SouthBeach have recently revised their stances on carbohydrate to include MORE carbs in their plans. That is a big red sign telling you your body NEEDS carbohydrate. Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame. I hope this helps.
Edited by: SKYWATCHERRS at: 9/30/2010 (15:00)
9/30/10 2:37 P
At one time I was able to lose 40 pounds but gained back 20 recently due to A LOT of extra stress at work which lead to stress eating and lack of exercise. Before, I was exercising more and eating whatever. This time around, I want to do it right with healthy eating and exercising. I, too, hardly eat meat and stick mostly to soy milk. I am borderline vegetarian that doesn't like tofu.. haha Thank you for your imput!!
9/30/10 2:33 P
Personally I rely on calorie counting alone. I try to be balanced in what I eat, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and very little meat. I never achieve the exact balance the Spark recommends but I don't think I could even if I was eating a lot more. Balance is my goal. I am much older than you and get little exercise but I feel good and lose about a pound a week. Carbs get a lot of press but I don't need the added complexity of good carbs vs. bad, etc. I'm just happy to be losing weight and to feel better than I have in years.
9/30/10 2:27 P
I am a 25 year old female starting a 1200 calorie diet to lose weight (35 pounds to be exact). I am confused as to how much sugar, fat, protein and especially carbs that I should consume. I know that being on a fat-loss diet, you should consume very few of these, however, eating just an apple alone can be as many as 32 carbs!! I like eating fruit, veggies and brown rice.. any advice/resources would really help. THANK YOU!!
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