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Should Men Cut Back on Carbs?

Croissants next to a bowl of soup

As the New Year approaches, many Americans will set resolutions to achieve weight loss, improve nutritional wellness, and increase overall energy. If you’re currently elevating your diet plan to lose or maintain a healthy weight, you might be considering cutting carbohydrates, but is this the right approach to healthy men’s weight loss?

Read on to learn more about the importance of carbohydrates and whether or not cutting down on this macronutrient is the best solution.

Carbohydrates 101

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients (along with protein and fat) that we need to survive. They break down food into glucose to help fuel our bodies and give us more energy.

But here’s where things get interesting. Before cutting carbs from your diet, you need to know the two types of carbohydrates we consume daily: simple and complex.

Our bodies digest simple carbohydrates much more quickly than complex ones, which can cause spikes in blood sugar. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates take longer to digest. The reason? Complex carbs contain fiber, which the body cannot break down into glucose. Therefore, the digestion process is much slower and typically won’t impact blood sugar.

Foods that contain simple carbohydrates

  • Frozen processed foods (i.e., pizzas, bagels, pretzels, lasagna, etc.)

  • Baked goods (i.e., muffins, cupcakes, pies, pastries, etc.)

  • Candy

  • Soft drinks

  • Sports drinks

  • Syrups

  • Ice cream

Foods that contain complex carbohydrates

  • Vegetables

  • Fruits

  • Legumes

  • Whole grains

Simple vs. Complex Carbohydrates

One of the easiest ways to distinguish simple vs. complex carbohydrates is to consider each food product’s nutritional value. 

For example, you already know that a cup of broccoli is healthier than a cup of ice cream because broccoli is low in calories, high in fiber, and contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin C, calcium, iron, and magnesium. 

On the other hand, ice cream is high in sugar, fat, and calories, with little-to-no fiber or nutritional value. 

So, this brings us back to the question of cutting carbs: should you or shouldn’t you? 

The answer might be a little of both. Simply put, instead of wondering how to cut back on carbs, consider how to cut carbs from your diet that offer minimal nutritional impact.

To do so, you’ll need to focus on foods with high nutrient density.

Why Nutrient Density?

Nutrient density refers to the contribution of nutrients and food components per calorie. Broadly speaking, the higher the nutrients per calorie serving, the more nutrient-dense the food is.

Therefore, when choosing foods that contain carbs, stick with ones that offer other essential nutrients and are high in fiber and low in sugar per calorie serving. For instance, eat a whole orange instead of drinking a glass of orange juice. Although the fruit still contains carbohydrates, it has 2x the fiber and half the sugar.

How Many Carbs Per Day for Men

Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates should make up 45% to 65% of total daily calories, which equals around 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

However, metabolisms, lifestyles, and activity levels vary from person to person; therefore, to understand the right amount of carb intake that’s best for you—especially if you’re looking to lose weight—you’ll want to talk to a men’s health professional.

Best Time to Eat Carbs

Remember that carbs give us energy, so the best time of the day to eat carbs would be earlier in the day vs. later, as you’ll burn more calories and energy than you would at night. Therefore, try avoiding carb-heavy meals in the evening, when you’ll be less active and more stationary.

Cutting out carbohydrates from your diet can, in fact, help with weight loss, improve athletic performance, and reduce the risk of developing serious medical conditions, such as high cholesterol and diabetes. But it’s essential to remove certain carbs from your diet and still get the vital macro-nutrients your body needs to thrive.

As we head into another year, it’s time to put your health and wellness journey at the top of your to-do list. At EveresT Men’s Health, we can help. We offer three convenient locations in Eagan, Plymouth, and Woodbury

Our team of men’s health experts can help you develop a nutritional weight-loss program that fits your lifestyle and leaves you feeling energized and the best you’ve felt in years. We also offer various proactive medical services to support you at every step of your men’s health journey.

To get started, schedule a consultation at our clinic today!