2

votes

Is it Carbs or Calories that affect weight loss?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 09, 2012 at 10:47 PM

I've found that I do A LOT better on higher carb, 80-100g a day, and am trying to be aware of my calories keeping it around 1200. But I am SO confused, some people say NOT to count calories, but to rather stay low carb (which i'm not sure what that range is), in order to lose weight, while others say carbs DO NOT matter that much as long as you're not over 150g and you WATCH your calories. Which is true? Right now I'm moderate carb 80-100g per day and are trying to keep my calories in check. I feel pretty good (used to be less than 40g of carbs a day and felt miserable so it's quite the change), but I'm worried i'm not going to lose weight without the low carb. I think I will, but I've only been doing this for a few days, and I keep reading all kinds of threads advocating that you MUST BE LOW CARB to lose weight and I'm worried :/ What's the truth? Can I be moderate carb 80-100g at around 1200 cals and lose weight? Or must I lower the carbs?

5'1, 131 lbs, 16yrs old

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 11, 2012
at 07:35 PM

sure thhq, but we're the guys that don't eat the corn or the ducks that eat the corn.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 11, 2012
at 02:17 AM

thank you so much !!

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 11, 2012
at 02:14 AM

just found this article and it actually describes my life, and the anecdote I discovered before reading this. Wish I would have read this before. http://www.paleoforwomen.com/carbohydrates-for-fertility-and-health/ almost cried haha. thank you for all your comments!!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 10:25 PM

Also, we've only been force feeding corn to ducks and humans for the last century....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I lost 50 lbs doing it Borofergie and the weight has stayed off eating a high carb diet. I started out counting carbs, but counting calories was a lot easier. I was eating too much and it restricted my portions of everything. It also gives you a metric on activity. I'll agree that it's not for everyone and you have to be inspired to make it work.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Not sure that calorie counting is a paticularly effective way of treating obesity. We've only been doing it since the 1950s, during which time we've "invented" an obesity epidemic. There was very little obesity in 200million years before we learned to count calories.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Amen. It makes no sense getting on the diet roller coaster so young. Count carbs or cals when you're older and have a real health concern.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:42 AM

Calorie counting has been around since the 1950s (a period when we almost invented obesity), using your appetite to regulate your calorie intake has been around for like 200 million years (a period when there was almost no large-scale obesity problem). I don't agree that (unless you are very careful with it) calorie counting is an effective way of treating obesity.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:37 AM

I agree with the concept that you need to eat now what you see yourself eating from now on. Either accept the eating style that will support your ideal body, or accept the body that accompanies your ideal eating style. Neither is inherently wrong. I think there are times you'll need to apply both those concepts (I have). You'll probably shift your diet within your life (it happens), but drastic "stage-style" diet shifts don't translate to lifestyle changes for a lot of people.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:28 AM

:) I think low carb works for many people because that's the way they can easily manage a caloric deficit. The budget concept of calories suited me more for weight loss purposes. For those with a true metabolic syndrome, it may be a different story. My body did need the help of lower-carb in the end to become truly healthy in light of my PCOS, but my body didn't resist the initial weight loss that eventually paved the way to understanding real health.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Counting grams of a macronutrient is way more complicated than counting calories. Calorie counting is related to real food. Carb counting (and its alter-ego fat counting) is related to deconstructed, imaginary food. OUR ANCESTORS DID NOT OVERTHINK DINNER. They just ate.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on October 10, 2012
at 04:08 AM

(continued from ^^^) in thermogenic reduction than losing the same weight in 14 weeks does. This will also make a difference in how quickly you plauteau. This thermogenic reduction is important as research also shows that it extends for at least a year and maybe years out after your weight loss. Reducing cals too low and losing too fast are things you *don't* want to do.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on October 10, 2012
at 04:05 AM

I would suggest that if you are looking at overall carbs and calorie counting, that you do exactly that. Incorporate portions of whatever you see yourself eating for life, at least as you move along in your weight loss. Do not restrict your eating in a way that you will not continue. Learn how much banana you can eat. See how it does or does not make a difference. And GO SLOW. You are going to experience metabolic slow down, a reduction in thermogenesis. How much is individual. But there is good research that shows that losing the same amount of weight in say 28 weeks yields 50% less

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Thank you for your very thoughtful answer. I think you are right. We'll see how it goes a few weeks from now. My only question about this is in regards to fruit... just because I'm staying away from bananas or fruits besides some occasional berries, doesn't mean I have to stay away from them forever right? But overall I think I agree with you :) thank you!!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 10, 2012
at 02:56 AM

Why count? Because it's entirely possible to eat an energy excess with paleo foods.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 01:35 AM

Thank you!! See thats the thing I need to work out, I'm feeling SO much better with a moderate carb intake 80-100 grams but I need to get my but exercising hha to use that energy appropiately :) That's my goal for this next week thanks anon!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 01:24 AM

My answer to Kurt is "Why not?". There's plenty of obesity to treat and counting is one very effective way to do it. Some people don't want to wonk their macros and avoid food groups.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 10, 2012
at 01:14 AM

Consider substituting sweet potatoes for white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are higher in the type of starch that breaks down more slowly than white potatoes are. Your total starch might remain the same, but you're less likely to ride the blood sugar roller coaster. If the U.S. ever regulates the amount of arsenic in rice (see the latest Consumer Reports), rice will also be a "safe starch."

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:07 AM

Wow thank you! Congrats losing 40 lbs thats awesome. Your experience makes me think healthy carb intake shouldn't affect someone if overall calories are in check, considering when you were at low carb and moderate carb at maintenance calories, that it didn't make a difference. That's encouraging. So hopefully at a calorie deficient, at a decent amount of healthy carbs 80-100g I will lose weight just fine :) *fingers crossed*/*praying*

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:04 AM

See I felt MUCH more deprived eating low carb, only meats and veggies, and was very depressed. I would eat, and eat, and eat some days of meat and veggies and fats trying to fill a void and would go way over my calorie limit hating myself. Since adding in potatoes (steamed), I feel SO MUCH better and actually find myself "satisfied" at the end of a meal and no feelings of needing to eat more to fill some void. So for me 80-100g of carbs seems to be working SO much better, but like I said, has me worried if that amount of carbs will still allow weight loss.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:03 AM

See I felt MUCH more deprived eating low carb, only meats and veggies, and was very depressed. I would eat, and eat, and eat some days of meat and veggies and fats trying to fill a void and would go way over my calorie limit hating myself. Since adding in potatoes (steamed), I feel SO MUCH better and actually find myself "satisfied" at the end of a meal and feeling a need to eat more to fill a void. So for me 80-100g of carbs seems to be working SO much better, but like I said, has me worried if that amount of carbs will still allow weight loss.

  • C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

    asked by

    (753)
  • Views
    12.1K
  • Last Activity
    1403D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

best answer

10
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 09, 2012
at 10:54 PM

The answer is "yes". You of course you can lose weight @ 100g a day of carbohydrate.

Ultimately you need to run at a calorie deficit to lose weight, but by reducing your dependence on carbohydrates you can begin to trust your appetite to control your calorie intake, instead of being deceived by "sugar rush" induced hunger.

Like Kurt Harris says: "Calories do count, but why bother counting?".

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 10:23 PM

I lost 50 lbs doing it Borofergie and the weight has stayed off eating a high carb diet. I started out counting carbs, but counting calories was a lot easier. I was eating too much and it restricted my portions of everything. It also gives you a metric on activity. I'll agree that it's not for everyone and you have to be inspired to make it work.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 10:25 PM

Also, we've only been force feeding corn to ducks and humans for the last century....

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 01:24 AM

My answer to Kurt is "Why not?". There's plenty of obesity to treat and counting is one very effective way to do it. Some people don't want to wonk their macros and avoid food groups.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:42 AM

Calorie counting has been around since the 1950s (a period when we almost invented obesity), using your appetite to regulate your calorie intake has been around for like 200 million years (a period when there was almost no large-scale obesity problem). I don't agree that (unless you are very careful with it) calorie counting is an effective way of treating obesity.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 10, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Not sure that calorie counting is a paticularly effective way of treating obesity. We've only been doing it since the 1950s, during which time we've "invented" an obesity epidemic. There was very little obesity in 200million years before we learned to count calories.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 10, 2012
at 02:56 AM

Why count? Because it's entirely possible to eat an energy excess with paleo foods.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on October 11, 2012
at 07:35 PM

sure thhq, but we're the guys that don't eat the corn or the ducks that eat the corn.

4
Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

on October 10, 2012
at 01:06 AM

Here is my take: you need to eat carbs according to your activity level and your ability to use them for energy. If you have metabolic syndrome / insulin resistance you will have troubles doing so. This may or may NOT mean you have to restrict them BTW. Carbs alone will not make you fat. Taking in excess energy that you cannot use will cause fat accumulation. Perhaps eating too much too frequently, perhaps burning less than you take in, perhaps having a metabolic problem that causes you to be incapable of using a certain macro (metabolic inflexibility = metabolic syndrome).

I too do MUCH better with more carbs and that means better bg control, energy for activity, zest for life, hormonal function, and satiety. When I restricted carbs to below 40 or so grams a day I had not desire to eat, had little energy, and had a slew of UGLY physical manifestations as well.

Don't believe the zealots. Carbs for sure will not kill you and just may be the ticket to better function.

~Anon

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 01:35 AM

Thank you!! See thats the thing I need to work out, I'm feeling SO much better with a moderate carb intake 80-100 grams but I need to get my but exercising hha to use that energy appropiately :) That's my goal for this next week thanks anon!

2
Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on October 10, 2012
at 02:56 AM

I think you have answered your own question. You have stressed how much being low carb did not agree with you. Basically, whatever you do to lose the weight, you are going to need to be able to do ongoing, or you will simply gain the weight back. It's that simple. So, if you hate being low carb, the likelihood of your continuing low carb eating after you have lost your weight is about zip. What does this mean? Regain + usually additional weight with each loss and regain. Do NOTHING during weight loss that you are not willing to continue, basically, forever. If you count calories, then you need to remain a committed calorie counter. Whatever you do NOW is not just about weight loss, unless it is your intention to regain. It is about maintenance and how you intend to live and eat for life.

You are very few days into doing your current 100carb/cal counting plan. Give it time. You'll figure it out.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:37 AM

I agree with the concept that you need to eat now what you see yourself eating from now on. Either accept the eating style that will support your ideal body, or accept the body that accompanies your ideal eating style. Neither is inherently wrong. I think there are times you'll need to apply both those concepts (I have). You'll probably shift your diet within your life (it happens), but drastic "stage-style" diet shifts don't translate to lifestyle changes for a lot of people.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on October 10, 2012
at 04:05 AM

I would suggest that if you are looking at overall carbs and calorie counting, that you do exactly that. Incorporate portions of whatever you see yourself eating for life, at least as you move along in your weight loss. Do not restrict your eating in a way that you will not continue. Learn how much banana you can eat. See how it does or does not make a difference. And GO SLOW. You are going to experience metabolic slow down, a reduction in thermogenesis. How much is individual. But there is good research that shows that losing the same amount of weight in say 28 weeks yields 50% less

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on October 10, 2012
at 04:08 AM

(continued from ^^^) in thermogenic reduction than losing the same weight in 14 weeks does. This will also make a difference in how quickly you plauteau. This thermogenic reduction is important as research also shows that it extends for at least a year and maybe years out after your weight loss. Reducing cals too low and losing too fast are things you *don't* want to do.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Thank you for your very thoughtful answer. I think you are right. We'll see how it goes a few weeks from now. My only question about this is in regards to fruit... just because I'm staying away from bananas or fruits besides some occasional berries, doesn't mean I have to stay away from them forever right? But overall I think I agree with you :) thank you!!

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 11, 2012
at 02:17 AM

thank you so much !!

1
Ca22738a3c3efc400a35c426dfab47a3

on October 10, 2012
at 02:19 PM

At 16 years old, you need carbs! I'd encourage you to just to a small calorie deficit and loose what you want over time. A life time of fad diets has made it almost impossible for me to lose weight now at 43. If I knew then what I know now, I would have stayed away from carb restriction entirely and eaten natural foods, as much as I wanted so I wasn't hungry and likely would have set my body up for success later in life, instead of resisting giving up fat. You're young???Exercise and cut out all wheat, sugar, and processed crap. Should be all you need.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Amen. It makes no sense getting on the diet roller coaster so young. Count carbs or cals when you're older and have a real health concern.

1
5077d2f59b8463bb9e9f7a7f7be479e2

on October 10, 2012
at 12:13 PM

I like to lift heavy at the gym, and I also like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And life's a big, mean, sadistic bitch on training days if I don't eat carbohydrates. So for me, it's 60 grams of carbs about an hour before I train, with protein on the side, and then another 60 grams of carbs with protein on the side immediately after I train, followed by a meal of protein and fat- typically steak with avocado and olives on the side two hours after that, right before bed time.

I can't really function in the gym or on the mat, without those carbs.

HOWEVER- on a rest day, I barely take in 30 grams of carbs. And this doesn't affect me at all. My day on rest days consists of just walks with my dog in the morning and evening, and a few walks to break up the work day. The rest of the time it's either sitting in my cubicle doing work, or sitting on my ass on the couch with my dog watching movies or reruns on NetFlix. And so there's no need for carbs on rest days at all and I don't feel crappy or foggy at all.

1
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on October 10, 2012
at 12:37 AM

Everyone's body is different. I typically go for 50grams of carbs a day, but I'm a 44 year old woman, and so a tad bit farther along in my puberty than you. ;) If you feel good, that's more important, and how your body feels.

1
D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

on October 09, 2012
at 11:08 PM

Whatever works for you.

My personal experience is that it can be neither or both.

I gained 20 lbs one summer eating what I consider "maintenance calories" but at about 80% carbs. I remember my blood sugar being particularly malignant that summer.

I lost 40 lbs eating low-calorie, but at about 50-60% carbs.

I neither lost nor gained when eating low-carb, but "maintenance calories." But I was also at a healthy weight.

I've experienced weight gain caused my carbs, but I was eating an extreme amount of carbs at the time (think pastries, waffles, $1 frozen pasta meals, Sun Chips, cokes, cookies, orange juice, bagels, whole wheat bread).

I lost weight eating closer to "real food" at a lower caloric point, and my body could handle the carb load for the most part (didn't help my PCOS much, but it didn't exacerbate it either).

I eat "moderate carb" (100-200g/day) these days, lower than ever in my measured diet history. No weight loss, but my PCOS is finally under control.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:23 AM

Counting grams of a macronutrient is way more complicated than counting calories. Calorie counting is related to real food. Carb counting (and its alter-ego fat counting) is related to deconstructed, imaginary food. OUR ANCESTORS DID NOT OVERTHINK DINNER. They just ate.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on October 10, 2012
at 04:28 AM

:) I think low carb works for many people because that's the way they can easily manage a caloric deficit. The budget concept of calories suited me more for weight loss purposes. For those with a true metabolic syndrome, it may be a different story. My body did need the help of lower-carb in the end to become truly healthy in light of my PCOS, but my body didn't resist the initial weight loss that eventually paved the way to understanding real health.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:07 AM

Wow thank you! Congrats losing 40 lbs thats awesome. Your experience makes me think healthy carb intake shouldn't affect someone if overall calories are in check, considering when you were at low carb and moderate carb at maintenance calories, that it didn't make a difference. That's encouraging. So hopefully at a calorie deficient, at a decent amount of healthy carbs 80-100g I will lose weight just fine :) *fingers crossed*/*praying*

1
2e1591c76896828077b930de5107f1af

on October 09, 2012
at 11:00 PM

if you lower your carbs and up your fats, you will find that its easier and will feel less deprived,

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 10, 2012
at 01:14 AM

Consider substituting sweet potatoes for white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are higher in the type of starch that breaks down more slowly than white potatoes are. Your total starch might remain the same, but you're less likely to ride the blood sugar roller coaster. If the U.S. ever regulates the amount of arsenic in rice (see the latest Consumer Reports), rice will also be a "safe starch."

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:03 AM

See I felt MUCH more deprived eating low carb, only meats and veggies, and was very depressed. I would eat, and eat, and eat some days of meat and veggies and fats trying to fill a void and would go way over my calorie limit hating myself. Since adding in potatoes (steamed), I feel SO MUCH better and actually find myself "satisfied" at the end of a meal and feeling a need to eat more to fill a void. So for me 80-100g of carbs seems to be working SO much better, but like I said, has me worried if that amount of carbs will still allow weight loss.

C23148e16a4dd05351d1902a69097d65

(753)

on October 10, 2012
at 12:04 AM

See I felt MUCH more deprived eating low carb, only meats and veggies, and was very depressed. I would eat, and eat, and eat some days of meat and veggies and fats trying to fill a void and would go way over my calorie limit hating myself. Since adding in potatoes (steamed), I feel SO MUCH better and actually find myself "satisfied" at the end of a meal and no feelings of needing to eat more to fill some void. So for me 80-100g of carbs seems to be working SO much better, but like I said, has me worried if that amount of carbs will still allow weight loss.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!