Low-carb diets have been popular ever since the Atkins diet became the go-to for weight loss in the early 2000s. While some have questioned whether the high-protein and fat diet is actually healthy, a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein actually can be very beneficial for weight loss and overall wellbeing.

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Dietitian Jon Leech discusses why you may want to consider cutting carbs in this video from Authority Nutrition. He explains that by reducing carbs, many dieters won’t need to count calories as you’ll likely be less hungry by replacing sugar and starches, such as breads and pasta, with more satiating protein and fat. The average person eats more than 200 grams of carbohydrates per day, so low-carb diets would be well below that.

Leech explains that a moderate intake of carbohydrates, about 100 to 150 grams per day, are recommended for lean and active people who simply want to maintain weight. It is possible to lose weight the dietitian explains, however that would involve counting calories or monitoring portions.

If you’re looking to drop weight, Leech advises aiming for 50 to 100 grams of carbs a day. This would include a diet full of vegetables, about two pieces of fruit and only minimal amounts of starchy carbs like potatoes. You’ll have to cut junk food and snacks out, but those are easy wasy to eliminate carbs and sugar.

Extreme dieters can go as low as 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Leech says that your body goes into ketosis when you eat fewer than 50 grams per day. This is the process by which your energy is supplied by ketone bodies and this really helps with weight loss. However, you’ll have to be more strict on this diet and eliminate fruit, except berries, and only eat vegetables low in carbs.

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While many turn to low carb as a way to lose weight, the diet can actually help improve your overall health. By eliminating processed junk food, eating high-fiber carbs and choosing lean meats, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy and vegetables, you’ll have a heart-healthy diet that wards off diseases. But if you are looking to lose weight, low carb could be helpful if other diets have failed.

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