Ultimate Guide to Following a Low

 It turns out that what is low in carbohydrates for one person is not low for another person. "There is no medical definition of low carb," says Kelly Schmidt, RD, based in Columbus, Ohio. Basically, you are reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat from your norm. In general, however, a low-carb diet can contain 50 to 100 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day, he says. This includes a ketogenic diet, while 100 to 200 g of carbohydrates per day is a moderate carbohydrate diet.

You probably hear more about low carb weight loss, but for some people, the approach could also help optimize their health, says Schmidt. "Research shows that women who are obese or have metabolic problems can achieve better hormonal outcomes with fewer carbohydrates," says Schmidt, noting that other nutritional outcomes can include better sleep, mental clarity, and increased satiety. (one)

As low-carb nutritionist Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE, who lives in Orange County, California points out, when you cut carbs, your blood sugar and insulin levels generally go down, which can be good for some people. "Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which increases blood sugar levels and causes the pancreas to produce insulin to transport the sugar into the cells," says Spritzler. "When you're overweight or obese, your blood sugar rises and your pancreas sends out insulin, but your cells may not respond, causing your pancreas to overproduce insulin," he says. High insulin levels increase hunger and trigger fat storage, he explains.

Hence, eating a low-carb diet can help keep blood sugar in check and keep insulin levels low, potentially contributing to weight loss. Since doctors often recommend people with type 2 diabetes lose weight in order to improve their blood sugar, this approach could potentially improve blood sugar levels, both directly and indirectly.