One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to losing bodyfat is, How much carbohydrate should I be eating? The confusion comes from all of the low-carb and no-carb diets out there.
The truth is, following extremely low-carb and no-carb diets for extended periods can be dangerous because your body needs the phytonutrients and fiber you get from fruits and vegetables. Also, the brain uses carbs almost exclusively for energy. Low carbs can make your physique look flat, due to low glycogen stores and less fluid retention in the muscles. If you’re drug-free, the right number of carbs will help you achieve a bigger, harder look.
So what’s the optimum carb intake? The ideal amount for you is activity dependent—as are the percentages of protein and fats you should eat. For example, the body stores 300 to 400 grams of glycogen from carbs. The number of carbs you should eat each day depends on how much you burn.
If you lift weights and/or perform cardio, you may need to eat up to 200 grams of carbs in a 24-hour period to replenish what you burned and keep your body functioning normally, but probably no more than that. Any amount you take in above what you burn will probably be stored as bodyfat.
If you do no intense glycogen-burning activity, your carb intake should be significantly lower, as what you take in that isn’t used for immediate energy will be stored as ugly bodyfat.
Think of carbs as energy for activity, but also consider fruits and vegetables for health. Don’t restrict them, but eat only enough to supply your energy needs if you want to stay lean.
Editor’s note: The above is adapted from the e-book X-treme Lean Fat-Burning and Nutrition Guide, available at www.X-tremeLean.com.