A low carb diet does not restrict carbohydrate intake as strictly as a ketogenic diet does. However, with a low carb diet, there are some foods that contain high carbs including some healthy foods. If you are not paying attention, it is easy to eat too many carbs.
How many carbohydrates should you eat every day to lose weight?
It depends on an individual’s physical tolerance or goals. Eating from 20 grams to 150 grams per day will have different effects.
If you want to lose weight, you need to avoid or limit high-carb foods as much as possible.
In addition to high-sugar or processed foods such as cakes, ice cream, or canned foods, the following foods should also be avoided or eaten as little as possible.
1. Bread and grain
Bread is a staple food for many people. It is convenient, delicious, and filling. It is also popular with adults and children.
However, bread contains a very high amount of carbohydrates, whether it is white bread, black bread, or whole wheat bread.
The following are the amount of carbs contained in several common types of bread [*]:
- White bread (1 slice): 13 grams of net carbs
- Whole wheat bread (1 slice): 15 grams of net carbs
- Bagel (1 whole): 28 grams of net carbs
The number of carbs by itself does not seem very large, but when used to make a sandwich, you can easily eat too many carbohydrates.
Most grains, including rice, wheat, and oats are also high in carbohydrates. They also need to be limited or avoided when following a low-carb diet.
2. Certain fruits
Fruits and vegetables have always been regarded as healthy foods. Most of them are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer [*].
However, there are some fruits that are not suitable for low-carb diets, for example:
- 1 banana: 24 grams of net carbs
- raisins (1 ounce / 28 g): 21 grams of net carbs
- jujube (2 pieces): 32 Gram net carbs
- mango chunks (1 cup/165 g): 25 g net carbs
In comparison, berries have lower sugar and higher fiber content. Even in a very strict ketogenic diet, you can have berries appropriately.
3. Starchy vegetables
Some vegetables are high in starch. You should try to limit or avoid eating them. For example:
- corn (1 cup / 175 g): 36 g net carbs
- potato (1 medium size): 33 g net carbs
- sweet potato (1 medium size): 20 g net carbs
When limiting carbohydrate intake, it is preferable to choose more non-starch and high-fiber vegetables such as kale, broccoli, spinach, or asparagus.
There are many different types of pasta with different lengths and shapes. They are cheap and easy to cook. However, they also have one thing in common. They are high in carbohydrates.
For example, 250 grams of cooked spaghetti contains 40 grams of net carbohydrates. You can guess that this may not be suitable for a low-carb diet.
Many people like to have sweet oatmeal porridge for breakfast. Although oatmeal contains a lot of nutrients, oatmeal also has a high amount of carbohydrates.
For example, 1 cup (90 grams) of cooked oatmeal contains 28 grams of net carbohydrates. By adding milk or raisins and nuts, the calorie and carbohydrate content gets even higher.
Beer is commonly known as “liquid bread”. It contains a variety of amino acids but is also very high in carbohydrates (mainly sugars).
A 12-ounce (356 ml) can of beer contains 13 grams of carbohydrates. Even light beer contains 6 grams of carbohydrate per can.
Moreover, studies show that compared to solid foods, liquid carbohydrates do not easily produce satiety. Therefore, it can increase your appetite, thereby promoting weight gain.
7. Sweeten yogurt
Plain yogurt doesn’t contain many carbohydrates. However, many people like to eat sweetened or fruit-flavored low-fat or non-fat yogurt.
Sweet yogurt usually contains as many carbohydrates as desserts.
A cup of 245 grams of non-fat sweet fruit yogurt can contain up to 47 grams of carbohydrates, which is even higher than that of some ice creams [*].
If you like yogurt, you can start with half a cup (123 grams) of plain Greek yogurt plus 50 grams of blackberries or raspberries, which has less than 10 grams of carbs.
8. Fruit juice
Although the juice contains some nutrients, it is also high in carbohydrates (mainly sugar), which will stimulate the rapid rise of blood sugar.
- 12 ounces (355 ml) of apple juice contains 48 grams of carbohydrates and
- 12 ounces (355 ml) of grape juice contains up to 60 grams of carbohydrates.
In addition, like beer, juices are also liquid carbohydrates. Thus, the appetite center of your brain may not be able to process these carbs in the same way as solid carbohydrates.
Therefore, drinking juice can cause hunger and also cause your food intake to increase. [*]
Legumes and their products are considered healthy foods. They have many benefits to the body, like reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Although legumes are high in fiber, they also contain a lot of carbohydrates.
The following shows the amount of carbs contained in 1 cup (160-200 grams) of cooked beans.
You can add a small amount to your diet according to your personal needs:
- small lentils: 40 grams of carbohydrates, of which 16 grams are fiber
- peas: 25 grams of carbohydrates, of which 9 grams are fiber
- black beans: 41 grams of carbohydrates, of which 15 grams are fiber
- pinto beans: 45 grams of carbohydrates, of which 15 grams are fiber
- chickpeas: 45 grams of carbohydrates, of which 12 grams are fiber
- kidney beans: 40 grams carbohydrates, of which 13 grams are fiber
10. Honey or any form of sugar
When eating a low-carb diet, you should not eat any sugary food, such as cookies, candies, or cakes.
However, you may not realize that some sugars in their natural form contain as many carbohydrates as added sugars.
For instance, (Calculated according to the content of each spoon):
- white sugar: 12.6 grams of carbohydrates
- maple syrup: 13 grams of carbohydrates
- agave nectar: 16 grams of carbohydrates
- honey: 17 grams of carbohydrates
Moreover, these sweeteners have almost no nutritional value.
If you are craving sweets, you can choose a relatively healthy low-carb sweetener (sugar substitute) like stevia and erythritol to add to your food or drink.
Milk is an excellent source of many nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and several B vitamins.
However, it’s also high in carbohydrates. Whether full-fat, low-fat or skimmed milk, every 8 ounces (240 ml) contains 12-13 grams of carbohydrates.
You can substitute milk with unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk. Moreover, compared with milk, drinking almond milk or coconut milk can be better for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.
In addition to meals, most people like snacks, such as crackers, potato chips, popcorn, and so on.
However, these highly-processed foods often contain high carbohydrates but few other nutrients. Even graham crackers contain a lot of sugar.
People who eat snacks in their free time, like while they are watching TV, or talking on the phone, can easily overeat, almost unconsciously. Thus, it is important to be careful with these types of foods when following a low-carb diet.
Most people choose a low carb diet to lose weight or improve their health. When choosing this diet, it is important to eat nutrient-rich foods that are low in carbohydrates.
Some common foods contain too many carbohydrates. They should be avoided or limited on a low carb diet.
You can make your own choices based on your personal tolerance or dietary goals.