We have all heard on television, social media, celebrities, and other sources that carbohydrates are bad for you. This is actually not true at all as carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for our brains. We require about 125-135 grams of carbs per day in order for your body to convert those carbs into glucose (what our bodies use for energy) and work efficiently. It is true that our bodies can convert other sources such as fats and proteins into glucose for energy, but carbohydrates are converted more efficiently into energy.
With this being said, excessive carbohydrate intake can potentially inhibit your health and fitness goals. Too many carbohydrates in combination with surplus fats and proteins can lead to an excess amount of calories and lead to weight gain, or a stall in your health goals. You may not realize it, but certain things you eat or drink can have a lot more carbs than you initially thought.
Take for instance an 8oz glass of natural 100% orange juice, although a healthy option for a drink, a cup has 110 calories with 26 grams of carbohydrates. This may not sound bad, but the problem arises when you may drink 2 or 3 cups of orange juice without realizing it. You may have grabbed a large shaker cup (about a 24oz bottle) and filled it 3/4th of the way and you then have 78 grams of carbs.
Let us look at one other example. A ½ cup of vanilla Blue Bell Ice Cream has 20g carbs. Most people on average are having a cup or more of ice cream when they have it, which can be upwards of 40 calories with very little nutritional value.
Here are some ways for you to reduce your carbohydrate intake.
Tip 1-Measure out how much you are drinking:
Use that handy shaker bottle that has measuring lines in order to fill out to just a serving. If the serving is, 8oz only drink that amount of your favorite juice. Make sure you look at the nutrition facts on the product in order to get the serving size. In addition, reducing or eliminating sugary sweetened drinks altogether is a very helpful way to reduce carbs.
Tip 2-Replace your normal pasta with zucchini or spaghetti squash.
Next time you want to make spaghetti, use a spiralizer to make zucchini noodles and use this in place of normal pasta. You will enjoy the taste, and cut out a ton of carbs. A cup of zucchini has roughly four carbs compared to half a cup of pasta, which has 25 grams of carbs. Spaghetti squash is also the way to go with a cup of it having about 7 grams.
Tip 3- Use lettuce instead of buns in certain recipes
Next time you want to make a delicious burger or hot dog, and want to eliminate, some of the carbs wrap the patty or hot dog in lettuce and use your favorite condiments and veggies. You virtually have no carbs coming from your lettuce, as opposed to about 30 grams of carbs per burger or hot dog bun.
Tip 4-Replace flour tortillas with corn tortillas
Want to make some delicious tacos? Next time opt for a corn tortilla instead of flour tortillas. One flour tortilla has about 25 grams of carbs, and corn tortillas have about 12 grams of carbs per tortilla. You get to eat two corn tortillas for the same amount of carbs in one flour tortilla, not a bad deal.
Tip 5- Replace sugar when baking or adding sugar to recipes with stevia
Stevia, although containing a very tiny amount of calories is much sweeter than normal sugar so you use a lot less amounts of it. One gram of refined sugar is equal to 1 gram of carbohydrate, which can add up very quickly when baking. You may use 30 grams of sugar for a recipe while only needing maybe 10 or 15 grams of stevia for the same amount of sweetness.
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