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How to Reduce Carbs for Weight Loss

author image Lisa Atkinson
Lisa Atkinson has been writing health and fitness articles since 2000. She is a regular contributor to "The Fitness Motivation Monitor" health and fitness newsletter and to "The Rehab Connection." She has a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Massachusetts and is certified as a medical exercise specialist and health and fitness coach.
How to Reduce Carbs for Weight Loss
Frosted cupcakes on a wooden table. Photo Credit: Metkalova/iStock/Getty Images

There have been numerous research studies and success stories about cutting carbs to lose weight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. One lingering question is whether it's better to all carbs out of a diet or whether to substitute “bad” carbs for “good” ones. Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet. They provide the fuel the body needs to feed your cells to keep you moving and functioning properly. Therefore, you cannot cut all carbs out of your diet, but you can reduce the carbs that you eat and make conscious decisions to eat healthier, “good” carbs, which can lead to weight loss.

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Step 1

Use a food diary to keep track of the types of foods that you are eating. Categorize the foods as carbs (sugars, breads, grains, fruits and vegetables), proteins (meat, fish, poultry, dairy or nuts) or fats.

Step 2

Categorize the carbs as simple or complex. Simple carbs are sugary sweets, white breads, pasta or rice, or anything with high amounts of high fructose corn syrup. Complex carbs are fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, pasta, cereal and brown rice.

Step 3

Substitute complex carbs for simple carbs wherever you can. According to the USDA Healthy Eating Pyramid, you should eat more whole grains, which take longer to digest and help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Complex carbs are often higher in fiber and provide you will more quantity of food for the same amount of calories as simple carbs. That means you can eat more for fewer calories, which will help you lose weight.

Step 4

Add more protein and healthy fats into your diet, instead of carbs. Instead of eating chips for a snack, consider cheese on whole grain crackers. It will make you feel full for longer and reduce your overall calories.

Step 5

Limit eating sugary, simple carbs to once or twice a week. Trying to cut these foods out of your diet completely will usually fail and cause you to binge eat on these foods. Instead, find a healthier alternative and allow yourself a treat a few times a week as a reward for a new way of eating. Also, incorporate any simple carbs into a meal that is loaded with fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. This will cause you to eat fewer of the simple carbs because you will fill up on the healthier foods.

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