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How Many Carbs in a Low Carb Diet?

By Pam Nisevich Bede, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
ZonePerfect Nutritionist

December 2019

Going low carb? The ZonePerfect Pros weigh in on the right low carb daily macros and offer advice on keeping your lifestyle simple.

What is the low carb diet?

What is the low carb diet

The low carb diet is a lifestyle approach working to eliminate excessive calories by strictly limiting carbohydrates and replacing them with protein-rich foods, nourishing fats, and choices dense with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The low carb lifestyle works for many people as it incorporates familiar protein-rich foods to keep the body fuller, longer, while allowing from choiceful carbohydrate and nourishing fat. Perfect proportions of all three of these macronutrients create a plate that’s loaded with variety, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

When following a low carb lifestyle, many different plans exist and the ZonePerfect Pros took a deep dive to uncover a macro ratio that will help you move closer to your low carb goals. Aim for: less than 25% (aim for 15-25%) of calories from carbs, 40-50% of calories from protein, and 30-35% of calories from fat. With the extra dose of protein, this blend helps you fight hunger, gives you consistent energy, and nourishes your body so you can tone up and hit your goals.

OK, but how many grams should I have a day?

If you decide low carb is your chosen lifestyle (good choice BTW!)
This means that you aim to have approximately 15-25% of the calories in your day from carbs, 40-50% from proteins, and the remainder - about 30% - from fats.

how many grams

Now, let's say you know you need 2000 calories/day – to keep the math simple.

  • 2000 calorie diet x 20% = 400 calories from carbohydrate / day
  • There are 4 calories per 1 gram of carbohydrate
  • 400 calories / 4 calories = 100 grams of carb / day
calories

Foods that fit

Think about the foods on your plate and the source of those excess indulgent calories that may be holding you back from reaching your weight and wellness goals. Did desserts, heaping portions of mashed potatoes and pasta, and fluffy pastries come to mind?

Here are foods that always fit: non-starchy vegetables (i.e. not potatoes, corn, peas); protein from meat, vegetable sources, dairy, fish, poultry, eggs, and seafood; fats from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, butte. Foods that sometimes fit (i.e. higher in carb but still rich in nutrients) whole grains, fruit and other foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

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