Carbohydrates for weight loss - should you exclude them? Daily weight norms

Carbohydrates for weight loss - should you exclude them? Daily weight norms

Carbohydrates for weight loss - should you exclude them? Daily weight norms
Carbohydrates for weight loss - should you exclude them? Daily weight norms

The first popular weight loss diets, which appeared in the 80's, were based on fat restriction - low-fat foods are automatically recognized as healthy by reducing calories (but replacing fat with sugar). By the early 2000s, it became clear that carbohydrates should be excluded.

As a result, in 2010 the understanding was formed that avoiding carbohydrate foods is the first rule for weight loss. The result is a growing interest in carbohydrate-free  and  keto- free diets   . But is it really necessary to completely eliminate carbohydrates for weight loss?

//  Carbohydrates and weight loss

Carbohydrates and weight loss

Unfortunately, the long speech of a nutritionist, who should not exclude any nutrients when losing weight (and weight loss itself should be done as smoothly as possible and with a loss of no more than 0.5 kg per week), does not satisfy most people who want to lose weight.

The result is a constant attempt to determine the number that guarantees the fastest effect (the second part of the nutritionist's speech about possible side effects will also be ignored). If carbohydrates lead to weight gain, it seems quite logical that they be completely eliminated.

At the same time, there is another phenomenon - in fact, people love carbohydrates and therefore consider their rejection exclusively as a temporary phenomenon aimed at normalizing weight. No one seriously aspires to eat without carbs for the rest of their lives.

Diet for weight loss - the current position

According to recent research on weight loss, the proportions of BJU in the diet play a much smaller role than the total calorie intake - as well as the period of control over your diet. Most people who lose weight lose interest in dieting in the first few months.

One of the most detailed studies (analyzing the diet of 800 people in 2 years) showed that only half of them managed to lose weight - on average, participants lost 6 kg. Only 15% of people have managed to lose over 10% of their body weight.

Carbohydrate norms for weight loss

When considering the effect of carbohydrates on weight loss, it is necessary to divide them into three categories -  fast carbohydrates  (sugar and sugar-based pastries),  starchy vegetables  (such as potatoes) and  complex carbohydrates  (actually low glycemic index foods) .

The World Health Organization emphasizes that there is no single carbohydrate standard for weight loss ² - the conversation should be about reducing sugar and starchy vegetables, but to maintain adequate levels of fiber and other complex carbohydrate sources.

The maximum amount of sugar (including sugar added to foods as an ingredient) recommended in a diet without weight loss is 7-9% of calorie intake. On average, this is 30-50 g of sugar per day. However, Russians consume 110 g of sugar per day, while among adolescents the figure reaches 250 g.

//  WHO recommendations (for PP) ²:

  • total carbohydrates - no more than 55% of the caloric norm
  • sugar (including added) - not more than 7-9% (30-50 g per day)
  • fiber - at least 18-25 g per day

How does sugar break down metabolism?

For comparison, the recommended daily dose of sugar (without the goal of losing weight) is a glass of fruit juice, 100 g of cereals, 100 g of dried fruit or 2-3 pieces of cookies or cakes. In addition, each of these products almost 100% covers the maximum figure.

Excess sugar in the diet leads to chronically high blood glucose levels - which disrupts the natural mechanisms of hunger control (which leads to overeating), and also disrupts the body in a complex way, provoking premature aging.

There is every reason to believe that the consumption of sugar over 10% of daily calories in the long run is associated with a significant increase in the risk of chronic diseases - obesity, diabetes, hypertension³.

Maximum carbohydrates

Maximum carbohydrates

Let's go back to the WHO dietary guidelines. With a recommended caloric intake of 2000 kcal (most women), 55% of the daily value is about 270 g of "net" carbohydrates. With a recommended calorie intake of 2500 kcal (most men) - about 345 g.

Remember that "net" carbohydrates mean not only the weight of carbohydrate foods, but the final carbohydrate content. For example, 100 g of dried buckwheat contains 60 g of carbohydrates, while during cooking this volume of cereal will turn into 350 g of porridge.

In the case of a diet for weight loss, modern nutritionists proceed from the recommendation of  150 g of carbohydrates  per day - however, the figure is always adjusted depending on the level of activity of a particular person, as well as his age and body weight.

//  Carbohydrate norms for weight loss (women)  4  :

  • with a body weight of 50 kg - 120 g
  • with a weight of 60 kg - 150 g
  • with a weight of 70 kg - 170 g
  • with a weight of 90 kg - 190 g

//  Carbohydrate norms for weight loss (men)  4  :

  • with a body weight of 50 kg - 160 g
  • with a weight of 60 kg - 165 g
  • with a weight of 70 kg - 175 g
  • with a weight of 90 kg - 185 g


Eliminating carbohydrates in general is a wrong and dangerous decision. To lose weight, it is important to limit sugar, fast carbohydrates and sources of starch as much as possible, while fiber and complex carbohydrates should be present in the diet.

The information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment.

Data sources:

  1. Comparison of diets for weight loss with different compositions of fats, proteins and carbohydrates,  source
  2. World Health Organization: Diet, nutrition and prevention of type 2 diabetes,  pdf
  3. "Dietary Guidelines for Americans", Edition 2020-2025,  pdf
  4. Calculate the recommended carbohydrate intake,  source
  5. Healthy, source