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In recent times, carbohydrates are being demonized as the cause of weight gain.
So many of us want to eliminate carbohydrates from our diet; while reducing carbohydrates can be helpful over a short period of time, it is usually not sustainable long term especially on a Nigerian Diet. Carbs are not the enemy!
Have you noticed that Body builders eat close to 200g of carbohydrates in a day and they still have less than 4% body fat?

Image credit: Quora

Have you noticed bricklayers in your environment? They eat bread, beans, and a bottle of Pepsi for breakfast; Pounded yam for lunch; God knows what for dinner. Yet their abs is still well defined with no gym or structured exercise.

What’s their secret?
Their level of physical activity! Their job demands a very high level of physical activity and is energy consuming.

The major reason why a lot of us struggle with weight loss is because we eat more food than our body really needs to function on a daily basis.
Before concluding that your intake of Carbohydrates is the reason why you’re not losing weight, you need to be sure you’re in a calorie deficit.
Being in a calorie deficit simply means that you’re eating fewer calories than your body needs daily.
Once you’re sure that you’re in a calorie deficit, you can then focus on determining your critical carbohydrate level (CCL).


Critical carbohydrate level is defined as the gram of net carbs that allow you to consistently lose weight or maintain weight.
From the definition, there are two types.
1. Ongoing weight loss CCL
2. Maintenance CCL

Ongoing weight loss CCL is the gram of Net Carbs that allows you to consistently lose weight. Realistically, 1-2kg loss per week depending on your age, rate of metabolism, and presence of any medical condition.

Maintenance CCL on the other hand is the amount of net carbs that allows you to maintain your goal weight.
Net carbs = The total Carbohydrate Content of the Food minus the fiber content.

Net carbs reflect the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level and are the only carbs we really need to count.

Critical Carbohydrate level differs from one person to the other. How do you know your own critical carbohydrate level?

1. By knowing the amount of Carbs in your meals using recognized database like the United States Department of Agriculture Database and also by reading food labels.

2. By studying yourself and noting how your body responds to certain meals. This is where keeping a food journal comes in handy.

How do you feel after eating different meals? Do you feel full? Do you feel hungry within two hours of eating? Do you feel bloated when you wake up in the morning? Do you feel light? Do you feel constipated? Do you have increased cravings for sugar?

After 1 week of a combination of some foods, did you lose weight, gain weight or maintained your weight?
Discovering your critical carbohydrate level requires you to a study yourself and keep a food journal or diary for accountability.
Remember, getting to your goal weight is not the grand finale; the real goal is to maintain your new weight indefinitely.
For maintenance, each one of us has a highly individualized level of carbohydrate intake that allows us to neither gain nor lose weight.
You can discover yours by adding one or two moderately high carbohydrate meals such as rice, yam, pasta or bread to your ongoing weight loss plan and note how your body responds after one week.

Carbs are not the enemy. To lose weight you need to ensure that you’re in a calorie deficit.
After that you can now study how your body responds to certain foods.

This strategy allows you to maintain a healthy weight for life.