Eating 1,500 calories a day will most likely help you shed pounds. Going low-carb – especially when coupled with a high-protein intake – can increase satiety and help you get your calorie intake where it needs to be for effective weight loss. However, consuming too few carbs can cause unwelcome side effects.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests 1,500 calories a day is appropriate for overweight women who exercise regularly and women who weigh more than 164 pounds – if they want to lose weight. The NHLBI also suggests that many women who avoid workouts and weigh less than 165 pounds should aim for 1,000 to 1,200 calories daily to successfully shed pounds. However, individualized weight-loss calorie needs vary.
Going low-carb often means limiting your carb intake to 50 to 150 grams daily, notes MayoClinic.com. Although passing on carbs may help you stick to a 1,500-calorie allotment, eating too few carbs can cause nausea, diarrhea, headaches, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies and even bad breath, MayoClinic.com reports. To avoid these unwelcome side effects, aim to eat at least 130 grams of carbs daily – the recommended dietary allowance for adults, according to the Institute of Medicine – which is still within the low-carb range, notes MayoClinic.com.
General Carb Recommendations
The Institute of Medicine’s acceptable macronutrient distribution range is a guideline for carbs, based on a percentage of your total calorie intake. According to these guidelines, the majority of adults benefit from getting 45 to 65 percent of their total calorie intake from carbs. This is equivalent to 169 to 244 grams of carbohydrates daily when following a 1,500-calorie plan. However, unless you’re very active the RDA of 130 carb grams daily may be adequate, especially during weight loss – but check with your doctor to be sure.
Sources of Carbs
Although carbs have gotten a bad reputation among some of the dieting community, not all carbs are bad, even during weight loss. Fiber-rich, carb-containing foods -- such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes -- can increase satiety, which makes it easier to stick to a lower-calorie allotment. Low-fat dairy foods are also healthy sources of carbohydrates. However, stay away from added sugars, sweets, desserts, candy, soda, other sugary drinks and refined grains – such as white rice and white bread – to avoid packing on unwanted pounds.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.