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How to Lose Weight Eating Less Than 20 Carbs Per Day

author image Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis has worked in nutrition in the clinical setting and currently works as a licensed Realtor in California. Davis began writing about nutrition in 2006 and had two chapters published in "The Grocery Store Diet" book in 2009. She enjoys writing about nutrition and real estate and managing her website, She earned her bachelor's degree in nutrition from San Diego State University.
How to Lose Weight Eating Less Than 20 Carbs Per Day
Keeping a food journal can help you stick to your low carbohydrate diet. Photo Credit: Picturenet/Blend Images/Getty Images

Losing weight is not easy because it requires time, planning and will power. People embrace many different diets to lose weight. Because excess carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat, some people restrict carbohydrates to lose weight. The Ask the Dietitian website says eating 20 grams of carbohydrates a day or less forces a person's body into ketosis, in which the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. However, risks are associated with restricting carbohydrate intake, so it's important to talk to your doctor before starting such a diet.

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Step 1

Purchase a carbohydrate counter book or sign up for a free account on a nutritional database such as When you are counting carbohydrates, it is essential to know how many carbohydrates a particular food has, or else you could jeopardize the diet. For example, one piece of fruit may contain more than 20 g of carbohydrates.

Step 2

Learn which foods are carbohydrates, which are fats and which are proteins. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are carbohydrates, while meats and dairy products count as proteins and fats. Butter, oils and avocados count as fats. Practice counting your daily carbohydrate intake and planning meals ahead of time in a food journal.

Step 3

Limit your carbohydrate intake to 20 g a day or less. It's a good idea to break these carbohydrates up throughout the day rather than eating them all at once. Use the carbohydrate counter book to plan different carb combinations.

Step 4

Increase your fat and protein intake so that you stay in ketosis, which is the fat-burning state you should enter by limiting carbs. Dr. Michael Eades says dieters restricting carbohydrates should consume healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados. Try adding olive oil and vinegar to salads for dressing, and topping veggies with butter.

Step 5

Be sure to drink plenty of water--at least eight glasses a day. The Mayo Clinic says one side effect of limiting carbohydrates is that they can cause a loss of water weight, causing dehydration. Drinking water at every meal and snack can reduce this side effect.

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