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Keto grams of carbs: Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss | The Nutrition Source


Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss | The Nutrition Source

Finding yourself confused by the seemingly endless promotion of weight-loss strategies and diet plans? In this series, we take a look at some popular diets—and review the research behind them.

What is it?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating plan that has been used for centuries to treat specific medical conditions. In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in closely monitored settings for cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, this diet is gaining considerable attention as a potential weight-loss strategy due to the low-carb diet craze, which started in the 1970s with the Atkins diet (a very low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, which was a commercial success and popularized low-carb diets to a new level). Today, other low-carb diets including the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are all high in protein but moderate in fat. In contrast, the ketogenic diet is distinctive for its exceptionally high-fat content, typically 70% to 80%, though with only a moderate intake of protein.

How It Works

The premise of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that if you deprive the body of glucose—the main source of energy for all cells in the body, which is obtained by eating carbohydrate foods—an alternative fuel called ketones is produced from stored fat (thus, the term “keto”-genic). The brain demands the most glucose in a steady supply, about 120 grams daily, because it cannot store glucose. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is eaten, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose. [1]

When ketone bodies accumulate in the blood, this is called ketosis. Healthy individuals naturally experience mild ketosis during periods of fasting (e.g., sleeping overnight) and very strenuous exercise. Proponents of the ketogenic diet state that if the diet is carefully followed, blood levels of ketones should not reach a harmful level (known as “ketoacidosis”) as the brain will use ketones for fuel, and healthy individuals will typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming. [2] How soon ketosis happens and the number of ketone bodies that accumulate in the blood is variable from person to person and depends on factors such as body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate. [3]

Excessive ketone bodies can produce a dangerously toxic level of acid in the blood, called ketoacidosis. During ketoacidosis, the kidneys begin to excrete ketone bodies along with body water in the urine, causing some fluid-related weight loss. Ketoacidosis most often occurs in individuals with type 1 diabetes because they do not produce insulin, a hormone that prevents the overproduction of ketones. However in a few rare cases, ketoacidosis has been reported to occur in nondiabetic individuals following a prolonged very low carbohydrate diet. [4,5]

The Diet

There is not one “standard” ketogenic diet with a specific ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day—less than the amount found in a medium plain bagel—and can be as low as 20 grams a day. Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein. For a 2000-calorie diet, this translates to about 165 grams fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, and 75 grams protein. The protein amount on the ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. The amino acids in protein can be converted to glucose, so a ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to preserve lean body mass including muscle, but that will still cause ketosis.

Many versions of ketogenic diets exist, but all ban carb-rich foods. Some of these foods may be obvious: starches from both refined and whole grains like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and cookies; potatoes, corn, and other starchy vegetables; and fruit juices. Some that may not be so obvious are beans, legumes, and most fruits. Most ketogenic plans allow foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, lard, and butter, as well as sources of unsaturated fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish. Depending on your source of information, ketogenic food lists may vary and even conflict.

The following is a summary of foods generally permitted on the diet:


  • Strong emphasis on fats at each meal and snack to meet the high-fat requirement. Cocoa butter, lard, poultry fat, and most plant fats (olive, palm, coconut oil) are allowed, as well as foods high in fat, such as avocado, coconut meat, certain nuts (macadamia, walnuts, almonds, pecans), and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, hemp, flax).
  • Some dairy foods may be allowed. Although dairy can be a significant source of fat, some are high in natural lactose sugar such as cream, ice cream, and full-fat milk so they are restricted. However, butter and hard cheeses may be allowed because of the lower lactose content.
  • Protein stays moderate. Programs often suggest grass-fed beef (not grain-fed) and free-range poultry that offer slightly higher amounts of omega-3 fats, pork, bacon, wild-caught fish, organ meats, eggs, tofu, certain nuts and seeds.
  • Most non-starchy vegetables are included: Leafy greens (kale, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, bok choy, lettuces), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, summer squashes.
  • Certain fruits in small portions like berries. Despite containing carbohydrate, they are lower in “net carbs”* than other fruits.
  • Other: Dark chocolate (90% or higher cocoa solids), cocoa powder, unsweetened coffee and tea, unsweetened vinegars and mustards, herbs, and spices.

Not Allowed

  • All whole and refined grains and flour products, added and natural sugars in food and beverages, starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and winter squash.
  • Fruits other than from the allowed list, unless factored into designated carbohydrate restriction. All fruit juices.
  • Legumes including beans, lentils, and peanuts.
  • Although some programs allow small amounts of hard liquor or low carbohydrate wines and beers, most restrict full carbohydrate wines and beer, and drinks with added sweeteners (cocktails, mixers with syrups and juice, flavored alcohols).

*What Are Net Carbs?
“Net carbs” and “impact carbs” are familiar phrases in ketogenic diets as well as diabetic diets. They are unregulated interchangeable terms invented by food manufacturers as a marketing strategy, appearing on some food labels to claim that the product contains less “usable” carbohydrate than is listed. [6] Net carbs or impact carbs are the amount of carbohydrate that are directly absorbed by the body and contribute calories. They are calculated by subtracting the amount of indigestible carbohydrates from the total carbohydrate amount. Indigestible (unabsorbed) carbohydrates include insoluble fibers from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; and sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol commonly used in sugar-free diabetic food products. However, these calculations are not an exact or reliable science because the effect of sugar alcohols on absorption and blood sugar can vary. Some sugar alcohols may still contribute calories and raise blood sugar. The total calorie level also does not change despite the amount of net carbs, which is an important factor with weight loss. There is debate even within the ketogenic diet community about the value of using net carbs.

Programs suggest following a ketogenic diet until the desired amount of weight is lost. When this is achieved, to prevent weight regain one may follow the diet for a few days a week or a few weeks each month, interchanged with other days allowing a higher carbohydrate intake.

The Research So Far

The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial metabolic changes in the short-term. Along with weight loss, health parameters associated with carrying excess weight have improved, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides. [2,7] There is also growing interest in the use of low-carbohydrate diets, including the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes. Several theories exist as to why the ketogenic diet promotes weight loss, though they have not been consistently shown in research: [2,8,9]

  • A satiating effect with decreased food cravings due to the high-fat content of the diet.
  • A decrease in appetite-stimulating hormones, such as insulin and ghrelin, when eating restricted amounts of carbohydrate.
  • A direct hunger-reducing role of ketone bodies—the body’s main fuel source on the diet.
  • Increased calorie expenditure due to the metabolic effects of converting fat and protein to glucose.
  • Promotion of fat loss versus lean body mass, partly due to decreased insulin levels.

The following is a summary of research findings:

The findings below have been limited to research specific to the ketogenic diet: the studies listed contain about 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrate. Diets otherwise termed “low carbohydrate” may not include these specific ratios, allowing higher amounts of protein or carbohydrate. Therefore only diets that specified the terms “ketogenic” or “keto,” or followed the macronutrient ratios listed above were included in this list below. In addition, though extensive research exists on the use of the ketogenic diet for other medical conditions, only studies that examined ketogenic diets specific to obesity or overweight were included in this list. (This paragraph was added to provide additional clarity on 5.7.18.)

  • A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials following overweight and obese participants for 1-2 years on either low-fat diets or very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets found that the ketogenic diet produced a small but significantly greater reduction in weight, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and a greater increase in HDL and LDL cholesterol compared with the low-fat diet at one year. [10] The authors acknowledged the small weight loss difference between the two diets of about 2 pounds, and that compliance to the ketogenic diet declined over time, which may have explained the more significant difference at one year but not at two years (the authors did not provide additional data on this).
  • A systematic review of 26 short-term intervention trials (varying from 4-12 weeks) evaluated the appetites of overweight and obese individuals on either a very low calorie (~800 calories daily) or ketogenic diet (no calorie restriction but ≤50 gm carbohydrate daily) using a standardized and validated appetite scale. None of the studies compared the two diets with each other; rather, the participants’ appetites were compared at baseline before starting the diet and at the end. Despite losing a significant amount of weight on both diets, participants reported less hunger and a reduced desire to eat compared with baseline measures. The authors noted the lack of increased hunger despite extreme restrictions of both diets, which they theorized were due to changes in appetite hormones such as ghrelin and leptin, ketone bodies, and increased fat and protein intakes. The authors suggested further studies exploring a threshold of ketone levels needed to suppress appetite; in other words, can a higher amount of carbohydrate be eaten with a milder level of ketosis that might still produce a satiating effect? This could allow inclusion of healthful higher carbohydrate foods like whole grains, legumes, and fruit. [9]
  • A study of 39 obese adults placed on a ketogenic very low-calorie diet for 8 weeks found a mean loss of 13% of their starting weight and significant reductions in fat mass, insulin levels, blood pressure, and waist and hip circumferences. Their levels of ghrelin did not increase while they were in ketosis, which contributed to a decreased appetite. However during the 2-week period when they came off the diet, ghrelin levels and urges to eat significantly increased. [11]
  • A study of 89 obese adults who were placed on a two-phase diet regimen (6 months of a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and 6 months of a reintroduction phase on a normal calorie Mediterranean diet) showed a significant mean 10% weight loss with no weight regain at one year. The ketogenic diet provided about 980 calories with 12% carbohydrate, 36% protein, and 52% fat, while the Mediterranean diet provided about 1800 calories with 58% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 27% fat. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were compliant with the entire regimen. [12] It is noted that the ketogenic diet used in this study was lower in fat and slightly higher in carbohydrate and protein than the average ketogenic diet that provides 70% or greater calories from fat and less than 20% protein.

Potential Pitfalls

Following a very high-fat diet may be challenging to maintain. Possible symptoms of extreme carbohydrate restriction that may last days to weeks include hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain “fog.” Though these uncomfortable feelings may subside, staying satisfied with the limited variety of foods available and being restricted from otherwise enjoyable foods like a crunchy apple or creamy sweet potato may present new challenges.

Some negative side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet have been suggested, including increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, and increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout). Possible nutrient deficiencies may arise if a variety of recommended foods on the ketogenic diet are not included. It is important to not solely focus on eating high-fat foods, but to include a daily variety of the allowed meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds to ensure adequate intakes of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc)—nutrients typically found in foods like whole grains that are restricted from the diet. Because whole food groups are excluded, assistance from a registered dietitian may be beneficial in creating a ketogenic diet that minimizes nutrient deficiencies.

Unanswered Questions

  • What are the long-term (one year or longer) effects of, and are there any safety issues related to, the ketogenic diet?
  • Do the diet’s health benefits extend to higher risk individuals with multiple health conditions and the elderly? For which disease conditions do the benefits of the diet outweigh the risks?
  • As fat is the primary energy source, is there a long-term impact on health from consuming different types of fats (saturated vs. unsaturated) included in a ketogenic diet?
  • Is the high fat, moderate protein intake on a ketogenic diet safe for disease conditions that interfere with normal protein and fat metabolism, such as kidney and liver diseases?
  • Is a ketogenic diet too restrictive for periods of rapid growth or requiring increased nutrients, such as during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, or during childhood/adolescent years?

Bottom Line

Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still limited. Most of the studies so far have had a small number of participants, were short-term (12 weeks or less), and did not include control groups. A ketogenic diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people including weight loss and improvements in total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. However, these effects after one year when compared with the effects of conventional weight loss diets are not significantly different. [10]

Eliminating several food groups and the potential for unpleasant symptoms may make compliance difficult. An emphasis on foods high in saturated fat also counters recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Heart Association and may have adverse effects on blood LDL cholesterol. However, it is possible to modify the diet to emphasize foods low in saturated fat such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.

A ketogenic diet may be an option for some people who have had difficulty losing weight with other methods.   The exact ratio of fat, carbohydrate, and protein that is needed to achieve health benefits will vary among individuals due to their genetic makeup and body composition. Therefore, if one chooses to start a ketogenic diet, it is recommended to consult with one’s physician and a dietitian to closely monitor any biochemical changes after starting the regimen, and to create a meal plan that is tailored to one’s existing health conditions and to prevent nutritional deficiencies or other health complications. A dietitian may also provide guidance on reintroducing carbohydrates once weight loss is achieved.

A modified carbohydrate diet following the Healthy Eating Plate model may produce adequate health benefits and weight reduction in the general population. [13]



  1. Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):789.
  2. Paoli A. Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Feb 19;11(2):2092-107.
  3. Gupta L, Khandelwal D, Kalra S, Gupta P, Dutta D, Aggarwal S. Ketogenic diet in endocrine disorders: Current perspectives. J Postgrad Med. 2017 Oct;63(4):242.
  4. von Geijer L, Ekelund M. Ketoacidosis associated with low-carbohydrate diet in a non-diabetic lactating woman: a case report. J Med Case Rep. 2015 Dec;9(1):224.
  5. Shah P, Isley WL. Correspondance: Ketoacidosis during a low-carbohydrate diet. N Engl J Med. 2006 Jan 5;354(1):97-8.
  6. Marcason W. Question of the month: What do “net carb”, “low carb”, and “impact carb” really mean on food labels?. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004 Jan 1;104(1):135.
  7. Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Comparison of effects of long-term low-fat vs high-fat diets on blood lipid levels in overweight or obese patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Dec 1;113(12):1640-61.
  8. Abbasi J. Interest in the Ketogenic Diet Grows for Weight Loss and Type 2 Diabetes. JAMA. 2018 Jan 16;319(3):215-7.
  9. Gibson AA, Seimon RV, Lee CM, Ayre J, Franklin J, Markovic TP, Caterson ID, Sainsbury A. Do ketogenic diets really suppress appetite? A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Jan 1;16(1):64-76.
  10. Bueno NB, de Melo IS, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87.
  11. Sumithran P, Prendergast LA, Delbridge E, Purcell K, Shulkes A, Kriketos A, Proietto J. Ketosis and appetite-mediating nutrients and hormones after weight loss. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;67(7):759.
  12. Paoli A, Bianco A, Grimaldi KA, Lodi A, Bosco G. Long term successful weight loss with a combination biphasic ketogenic mediterranean diet and mediterranean diet maintenance protocol. Nutrients. 2013 Dec 18;5(12):5205-17.
  13. Hu T, Mills KT, Yao L, Demanelis K, Eloustaz M, Yancy Jr WS, Kelly TN, He J, Bazzano LA. Effects of low-carbohydrate diets versus low-fat diets on metabolic risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Oct 1;176(suppl_7):S44-54.

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A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: The #1 Keto Guide


Get started on keto 

3. Keto benefits: Why eat a keto diet

The benefits of a ketogenic diet are similar to those of other low-carb and higher-fat diets, but it appears to be more powerful than liberal low-carb diets. Think of keto as a super-charged, low-carb diet, maximizing the benefits. However, it may also increase the risk of side effects a bit.


Get started on keto 


Lose weight

Turning your body into a fat-burning machine can be beneficial for weight loss. Fat burning is significantly increased, while insulin – the fat-storing hormone – levels drop greatly. This appears to make it far easier for body fat loss to occur, without hunger.

More than 30 high-quality scientific studies show that, compared to other diets, low-carb and keto diets result in more effective weight loss.


Appetite control

On a keto diet you’re likely to gain better control of your appetite. It’s a very common experience for feelings of hunger to decrease dramatically, and studies prove it.

This usually makes it easy to eat less and lose excess weight – just wait until you’re hungry before you eat. It also makes intermittent fasting easier, something that can enhance efforts to reverse type 2 diabetes and speed up weight loss, beyond the effects of keto only.

Plus, you could save time and money by not having to snack all the time. Many people only feel the need to eat twice a day on a keto diet (often skipping breakfast), and some just eat once a day, termed OMAD.

Not having to fight feelings of hunger could also potentially help with problems like sugar or food addiction.

At last, feeling satisfied can be part of the solution. Food can stop being an enemy and become your friend, or simply fuel — whatever you prefer.

Control blood sugar and reverse type 2 diabetes

Studies prove that a ketogenic diet is excellent for managing type 2 diabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease. It makes perfect sense, since keto lowers blood-sugar levels, reduces the need for medications and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.

Since a keto diet may reverse existing type 2 diabetes, it’s likely to be effective at preventing it, as well as reversing pre-diabetes.

Note that the term “reversal” in this context simply means that the disease gets better, normalizing glucose control while minimizing the need for medications. In the best case, blood glucose returns to normal without the need for medications.

However, lifestyle changes only work when you do them. If a person returns to the lifestyle he or she had when type 2 diabetes appeared and progressed, over time it is likely to return and progress once again.

How to reverse type 2 diabetes

200+ success stories

Improved health markers

Many studies show that low-carb diets improve several important risk factors for heart disease, including the cholesterol profile, which includes high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. Total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are usually impacted modestly.

It’s also typical to see improved blood sugar levels, insulin levels, and blood pressure.

These commonly improved markers are connected to something called “metabolic syndrome,” an insulin-resistant condition that low-carb diets treat effectively.

My health markers after 10 years on a keto diet

Energy and mental performance

Some people use ketogenic diets specifically for increased mental performance. Also, it’s common for people to experience an increase in energy when in ketosis.

On keto, the brain doesn’t need dietary carbs. It’s fueled 24-7 by ketones along with a smaller amount of glucose synthesized by your liver. There is no need for dietary carbohydrates.

Therefore, ketosis results in a steady flow of fuel (ketones) to the brain, thus avoiding problems experienced with big blood sugar swings. This may sometimes result in improved focus and concentration, and resolution of brain fog, with improved mental clarity.

A calmer stomach

A keto diet can result in a calmer stomach, less gas, fewer cramps and less pain, often resulting in improvements in IBS symptoms.

For some people this is the top benefit, and it often only takes a day or two to experience it. Learn more

Increased physical endurance

Ketogenic diets can in theory increase your physical endurance by improving your access to the vast amounts of energy in your fat stores.

The body’s supply of stored carbohydrates (glycogen) only lasts for a couple of hours of intense exercise, or less. But your fat stores carry enough energy to potentially last for weeks.

Beyond this effect, another potential benefit is the reduction in body fat percentage that can be achieved on a keto diet (see weight loss, above). This reduction in body fat weight is potentially valuable in a number of competitive sports, including endurance sports.

How to maximize endurance on a keto diet


The ketogenic diet is a proven and often effective medical therapy for epilepsy that has been used since the 1920s. Traditionally it was used primarily for children, but in recent years adults have benefited from it as well.

Using a ketogenic diet for epilepsy can allow some people to take fewer anti-epileptic drugs or none at all, while potentially still remaining seizure-free. This may reduce drug side effects and thus increase mental performance.

Learn more

More possible keto benefits

A keto diet can also help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, and may help control migraine. It may also help improve many cases of PCOS and heartburn, while also often reducing sugar cravings. Finally it might help with certain mental health issues and can have other potential benefits.

It might sound like a keto diet is a miracle cure for anything. It’s certainly not. While it can have many benefits, it’s not for everyone. Learn more about if a low-carb or keto diet is right for you

Learn more about the science supporting the effect of low-carb diets

Keto diet results

We love receiving stories from people who are using a keto diet to dramatically improve their health. We’ve been sent thousands of such stories, and we publish some of the most amazing ones – over 300 so far – for you to read.

All stories about keto results

  • Keto and intermittent fasting: ‘I am completely blown away by the changes’ 

  • Minus 125 pounds and no more binge eating on a keto diet 

How much food is 20 or 50 grams of carbs?

To go into ketosis, and stay there, you are almost certain to succeed by eating fewer than 20 net grams of carbs each day. While healthy, active and insulin sensitive individuals can remain in ketosis at higher levels of carb intake, others must be more strict with their carb intake.

What does 20 or 50 grams of carbs look like on a plate? On this page your find some simple pictures.

What looks more appetizing and filling: a plate overflowing with above ground vegetables, or a half of a hamburger bun – naked?

It is easy to see how consuming 20 grams of vegetables, even with the sweet taste of cherry tomatoes or sweet peppers, is not only very satisfying but also chock full of vitamins and minerals. See our keto vegetables guide.

But what about that naked half bun? Add if you add the other half, the ketchup, and other fixings, soon it is easy to see that you will be well over your daily carb count. That is why regular bread is never a recommended part of a keto diet. It is exceedingly challenging to eat it and stay below 20 grams of carbs. We do have recipes, however, for delicious keto breads that have much lower grams of carbs.

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High carb foods: here’s 20 grams

So what does 20 grams of carbs look like for potatoes, pasta, rice or bread?

It is one potato, a small serving of pasta (about 1/2 cup), about 1/2 cup of white rice, and that half bun.

It won’t take much of any of these foods to exceed your daily carb limit and take you out of ketosis.

What to eat instead? Try cauliflower – riced, mashed, au gratin and many other ways — which makes a great replacement for rice or potatoes. For bread replacements, try making any of Diet Doctor’s delicious bread and cracker recipes. Craving a sauce on a bed of pasta? We have keto pasta recipes or just spiralize a zucchini for a fresh veggie take on a noodle bed for a zesty sauce.


Low-carb food: here’s 20 grams

Compare that half of a hamburger bun or miserly portion of pasta to 20 grams of various vegetables, nuts and berries.

Betcha can’t eat 20 grams of spinach in one go! That plate on the bottom right isn’t even 20 grams, it is about 5! It was all we could fit on the plate. Spinach has 1.4 grams of carbs in 100 grams of leaves. You would have to eat about three pounds (1.5 kilos) of spinach to get to 20 grams.

Berries and nuts do have more grams of carbs per serving, so be careful:, they can add up to over 20 grams if you munch mindlessly.

Keto fruits and berries guide

Keto nuts guide


Moderate low carb eating: What does 50 grams look like?

If you occasionally want to “carb up,” or if you can maintain ketosis at a higher level of carbs, eating 50 grams of carbs means you’re still staying relatively low carb.

Here’s 50 grams of refined or higher carb foods: three slices of bread, three potatoes, a cup of rice and a cup of pasta.

50 grams of carbs in low-carb foods

Here’s 50 grams of lower carb foods like vegetables, nuts and berries. That a lot of food on a plate.

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A ketogenic diet for beginners 

Ketogenic diet foods – what to eat and what to avoid 

14-day keto diet meal plan with recipes and shopping lists 

How many carbs on keto? Explanation, tips, and more

The ketogenic, or keto, diet limits the intake of carbohydrates and replaces them with fats. This puts the body into a state of ketosis, in which it uses fats instead of carbs for fuel.

A person on a keto diet eats foods that contain high levels of fats and very low levels of carbohydrates. The diet excludes a wide range of foods, including some fruits and vegetables, as well as bread, beans, and legumes.

This article looks into the number of carbs that the keto diet allows per day and which foods can help a person stay on track.

According to a 2018 review of the different types of ketogenic diet, a person should consume up to 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates per day to stay in ketosis.

A female on a keto diet should consume 40–50 g of protein per day, while a male should consume 50–60 g of protein daily.

But different keto diets allow for different amounts of carbs, protein, and fat:

  • Standard ketogenic diet: Overall, 70% of a person’s intake is fat, 20% is protein, and 10% is carbs.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet: There is a cycle of 5 low carb days and 2 high carb days.
  • Targeted ketogenic diet: A person can eat more carbs around high intensity workouts.
  • High protein ketogenic diet: Overall, 60% of a person’s intake is fat, 35% is protein, and 5% is carbs.

The standard keto diet has been the subject of most research, and experts who recommend ketogenic diets tend to be more likely to recommend this type.

Learn about benefits of the keto diet here.

For anyone on the keto diet, it is important to consider the number of “net carbs” in foods.

A person can calculate the number of net carbs in a serving by subtracting the amount of fiber from the total number of carbs. If the food is processed, a person should also subtract half the sugar alcohol content. These quantities are included on food labels.

We look into these terms and the calculation in more depth below:

Total carbs

These are all the carbs in a serving of food, including the type that the body cannot completely digest and transfer into glucose for energy.

Net carbs

The body is able to absorb these, and they are also called digestible carbs.

To calculate the number of net carbs in a serving, subtract the fiber content from the number of total carbs. If the food is processed, also subtract half the sugar alcohol content.

Learn more about calculating net carb values here.


Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest and so cannot transform into glucose to store and use for energy.

The amount of fiber is included in the number of total carbs, but not in the number of net carbs.

Sugar alcohol

To calculate the number of net carbohydrates in processed foods, a person also needs to subtract half the amount of sugar alcohol from the number of total carbs.

The body does not digest all sugar alcohols, so these have less of an effect on blood sugar levels than regular sugar does.

Some examples of sugar alcohols include:

  • sorbitol
  • xylitol
  • mannitol
  • isomalt
  • maltitol
  • lactitol
  • hydrogenated starch hydrolysates

Find out more about sugar alcohols.

When a person consumes carbohydrates, the body turns those carbs into sugar, which cells use for energy.

Significantly limiting the intake of carbs causes the body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. As a result, glucose levels drop.

This forces the body to produce ketones, acids that appear in the blood and urine when the body burns fat. When the body uses fat as energy and releases ketones, this is called ketosis.

During ketosis, the body also produces less insulin, and it stores less fat as a result.

Learn more about how ketosis works.

The keto diet may help support weight loss, if this is a goal, by reducing levels of hunger and boosting metabolism. It may also help manage type 2 diabetes because the diet can reduce glucose levels.

How can someone with type 2 diabetes follow the keto diet safely?

Below, we explore how many net carbs various foods contain. This measurement excludes fiber and half the amount of sugar alcohols from the total number of carbs in the serving.

Fresh meat and fish

These foods tend to make up a large part of a keto diet, as they contain no carbohydrates but can be good sources of some nutrients.

Some examples of fresh meat and fish included in the keto diet include:

Learn how to incorporate meat into a diet for people with diabetes.


Cheese tends to be low in carbs but high in fat, making it a good choice for keto diets. For example, 100 g of cheddar cheese has 2.44 g of carbs and 34 g of fat.


Dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, are low in carbs and rich in magnesium, protein, vitamin C, and antioxidants.


Fruits are a key part of any diet, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals.

However, some fruits are high in carbs, so doing research, including checking labels, is key.

Nuts and seeds

Here, learn more about foods for a ketogenic diet.

Wheat-based products, such as rice, pasta, and cereals, are high in carbs. Therefore, a person on a keto diet should avoid them.

Below, we look at how many net carbs are in 100 g of various other foods.



Nuts, beans, and legumes

Keeping the keto diet sustainable can be challenging because it is very restrictive. A person may become bored by what they can eat.

Moreover, the diet can cause side effects.

Learn about possible side effects of the ketogenic diet here.

Gradual changes

It can help to ease into the diet gradually.

For instance, a person might stop eating one type of food at a time, such as bread or juice that is high in carbs and sugar.

Whole, unprocessed foods

Aim to consume carbs from whole, unprocessed foods to benefit from their vitamins and minerals.


For people on the keto diet, regular health monitoring is important, to check whether the diet is having any effects on the heart.

For people with diabetes, it is also important to monitor for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

Overall, it is important to check with a doctor before making any significant changes to the diet, such as by switching to a ketogenic diet.

A person on the keto diet should limit their carb intake to up to 50 g a day. A person generally replaces high carb foods with fatty foods, such as eggs, dairy products, and fresh meat and fish.

Wheat products and some fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes can be high in carbs, so checking food labels is key.

Before starting a keto diet, contact a doctor to make sure that the change will be safe.

How Many Carbs On Keto Should You Be Eating? What the Science Says

How many carbs can you have on keto? You may have heard 20 grams as the go-to number for achieving ketosis, but as it turns out the ideal carb intake can look different for everyone. Your exact need is more closely related to your overall calorie goal, body weight, metabolic efficiency, and activity level. Meaning, you may be able to eat more or less than you think! 

Keto Carb Calculator

Use this simple keto carb calculator below to get your recommended keto carb intake based on your unique health and fitness goals.

What Is The Keto Carb Limit? 

When it comes to your personal macro recommendations, you’ve got to turn to the science. We know there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to health on other diets, so why would keto be any different?

As it turns out, it’s not. Regardless of what the internet has told you, there doesn’t seem to be any conclusive research indicating that the 20 gram carb suggestion is right for every one (1,2,3,4,5,6). 

So why does everyone keep saying this?

This advised carb amount mainly comes from the recommended keto macro ranges, which include less than 5% of your calories come from carbs – on a 2,000 calorie diet, 5% of your calories would equal roughly 20 grams of carbs per day or less. 

Most people will still use 20 grams or less as a starting place, but there are a few other things to consider when it comes to your individual carbohydrate goals on a ketogenic diet. These include: 

Your Keto Diet Calories

Knowing your daily calorie needs is not only crucial for your ability to lose weight on keto but can also help you quickly estimate your keto macro ratio.  

Typically, the more calories you can eat, the more carbohydrates you can eat – and vice versa. And your calorie needs are most strongly tied to your body weight and activity level – the more you weigh and the more you move, the more energy you need to fuel your body. 

For a standard ketogenic meal plan, carbs should make up less than 5% of your energy intake. From this, you can quickly estimate grams by dividing carb calories by 4 (since there are four calories in each gram of carbohydrate). 

So if you need 1,200 calories a day, your carbohydrate threshold would be 60 calories from carbs or 15 grams of carbs a day. And for someone who eats 2,500 calories a day, that number would increase to 125 carb calories or 31 grams per day. 

Bottom line: The higher your daily calorie needs, the more carbs you can eat on keto.

Supporting Your Fitness Needs

In addition to using your daily calorie goal, how active you are and the level of intensity you train at can impact your ability to utilize carbs efficiently.  

Burning fat for fuel yields an increase in ketones – an efficient energy source that can replace sugars for nearly all of your daily needs. However, ketone bodies likely don’t support high-intensity training and explosive movements the same way glucose (primarily form carbs) does. 

Thus, if you are working out at higher intensities, regularly, you may be able to increase your carb intake a bit around your workouts without messing with your keto diet. 

Bottom line: The more active you are, the more carbs you can utilize efficiently. 

Your Metabolic Efficiency

Most of us burn a combination of fat and sugar for energy on a regular basis – regardless of which diet plan we are following. Yes, going keto can help you prioritize fat for fuel over everything else, but it’s not the only way to become good at burning fat. 

Your diet history is the largest factor in determining how well you can utilize different energy sources. If you lived on high carb foods for a while now, you might find it more of a dramatic shift to ketones – this is mainly because your body has been used to quick access to sugars for so long and you’ll need to cut back significantly. 

While on the flip side, if you’ve traditionally eaten moderately to lower carb before going keto, you may find it easier to make the jump. 

It is also crucial to mention this may look different for type 2 diabetics. While low carb diets and a ketogenic diet are thought to have favorable health benefits for those with diabetes, it is still highly recommended that you speak with your physician or a registered dietitian before trying keto. 

Bottom line: Your previous diet may determine how efficiently you can switch to fat for fuel. 

How Many Carbs to Get Into and Stay in Ketosis?

Research suggests that a carb intake of fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day is sufficient to promote ketosis in most people (7). But again, the perfect amount can change based on the many factors highlighted above. 

So how can you tell if your keto macro ratio is working? 

Experiencing side effects of Keto flu is usually a good first indicator that your carb-cutting is on track, but the best way to tell if your carb levels are ideal is to measure your ketone levels. 

If you are having a hard time reaching ketosis or adjusting to a very low carb diet like keto, keep in mind that it is entirely possible to see the weight loss benefits of going low carb without ketosis, as long as you control your calories. 

Bottom line: your body weight, fitness level, and previous diet determine your carb needs for ketosis. 

Special Mention: Protein Intake and Ketosis

While carbs are typically targeted as the sole perpetrator of increasing your insulin levels and blood sugar, protein might also increase insulin and can be converted into glucose (sugar) for fuel. This is why most ketogenic diet advocates suggest only moderate protein intake since it is thought protein may kick you out of ketosis. 

However, higher protein intake is highly encouraged for active individuals to supply important amino acids for muscle repair and growth. Additionally, research suggests that higher protein intakes likely don’t interfere with ketosis, and in fact, may help suppress appetite and support overall fat loss goals for non-athletes. 

Keto Net Carbs vs Total Carbs

Most importantly, when counting your carb intake, it is often recommended to use net carbs per day over total carbs.

Certain types of carbohydrates, like fiber and sugar alcohols, are not easily absorbed by the body and don’t affect your blood sugar and insulin levels the same way sugars do. Thus you can subtract these types of carbs from your daily total to count net carb intake. 

For example, if you eat 30 grams of total carbs, but that includes 12 grams of fiber you can count 17 grams of net carbs for the day.  

This approach is also much easier to manage your macros, as many nutritious, fibrous foods like fruits and veggies contain carbs, but also provide important health benefits you won’t want to miss out on.  

Psst… Trifecta keto meals have less than 10 grams of net carbs each! Helping you stay under you daily carb limit and on top of you overall nutrition. 

Bottom line: Count net carbs to allow room for nutrient-dense plant foods that support good health. 

Perfecting Your Keto Carb Macro

The truth is, cutting carbs is only part of the battle when it comes to seeing results on a ketogenic meal plan. You’ll also want to learn how to balance your protein intake and include plenty of healthy fats for a balanced approach.

This can take some strategy and skill, figuring out the right keto foods, portions, and recipes to keep you on track. 

This undertaking is also why it is becoming popular to solely focus on hitting carb intake with a so-called “lazy keto diet”.  

Want to make stickling to your low carb diet a little easier? Grab this free step by step guide to meal prep for keto, complete with food lists, menu planning tools, and expert advice to keep you track. 

How Many Grams of Carbs Per Day Should You Eat on Keto?

While it may seem pretty straightforward, the concept of “low carb” is actually a little ambiguous. For some people, low-carb could mean 100 grams of carbs per day, while for others, low-carb is strictly 20-30 grams. 

Missing carbs on keto?

Get our top keto recipes for carb lovers.

However, when following the keto diet, there’s very little wiggle room when defining what low-carb means to you. Essentially, low-carb in keto terms means that your carbs have been restricted to the point where you can enter ketosis.

But what’s the magic number that gets you in ketosis? Read on for tips on what 30 and 50 grams of carbs look like, which carbs to focus on, and meal plans to guide your journey.  

What 30 To 50 Carbs Per Day Looks Like

On the keto diet, you’re trying to transition to a metabolic state where you use ketones — rather than glucose — as your body’s primary energy source. To do this, you’ll need to keep your daily carb intake to a minimum and replace calories with healthy fats and protein. 

To enter (and remain) in ketosis, the macronutrient guidelines for the average person include:

  • 5-10% of calories from carbs
  • 20-25% from protein
  • 70-75%, or remaining calories from fat 

For most people, this nets out around 30 to 50 grams of carbs per day. 

The Difference Between Total Carbohydrates and Net Carbs 

Net carbs are the total amount of carbs you consume (in grams), minus the grams of dietary fiber. Net carbs are calculated this way because dietary fiber does not raise your blood glucose levels (blood sugar), which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid on keto. 

Many people choose to calculate net carbs — as opposed to total carbs — when they’re on a ketogenic diet. Calculating net carbs means you’ll get to eat slightly more total carbs during the day, which can make your life a lot easier.

Other people choose to stick to 30-50 total carbs daily, which is much more restrictive but is a guarantee that you’ll stay in ketosis. 

Your Keto Carb Limit: Which Carbs Are Best?

If you’re eating just 30-50 grams of carbs per day, you’ll want to make those carbs count. That means eating more high-fiber, nutrient-dense carbs and avoiding carbohydrates like sugar, grains such as bread, white rice, quinoa, and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and other tubers.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs: The Keto vs. SAD Debate

When it comes to good carbs and bad carbs, once again keto takes a different approach than most diets. 

The Standard American Diet (SAD) includes processed carbs like white bread, pastries, cookies, and pasta. Many dietitians will recommend more complex carbs like those found in lentils, beans, brown rice, whole grains, and starchy vegetables to combat SAD[*]. 

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They tell people to veer away from simple sugars (or “bad carbs”) found in white rice, white bread and processed snack foods, as most of the nutrition has been stripped away.

However, most foods considered “healthy carbs” by USDA dietetics are eliminated on keto, as they spike your insulin levels (thereby kicking you out of a ketogenic state). 

On keto, you’ll consume whole foods that rank very low on the glycemic index (and have very low net carb counts), including green, leafy veggies, healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and MCT oil, and high-quality protein[*].

What Does 30 and 50 Grams Of Carbs Look Like?

While the concept of keeping carbs within a 30 to 50-gram window may sound simple in theory, truly knowing the carb count in common foods is critical if you want to stay on track. Below is a list of common foods with their carb counts to give you an idea of what 30 to 50 grams of carbs would look like. 

This list is not exhaustive but it is meant to give you a general idea of which food groups are safe and which to keep an eye on when planning your meals. 


  • One bagel 36 net carbs
  • 1 piece sourdough bread 12 net carbs
  • ½ cup oatmeal 10 net carbs
  • ½ cup of white rice 26 net carbs
  • ½ cup of quinoa 17 net carbs


Most unprocessed meat contains zero net carbs. However, if the meat is processed, ingredients can be added, which up the carb count. For instance: 

  • 6oz ground beef 0 net carbs
  • 6 oz lamb chops 0 net carbs
  • 6 oz veal cutlet 0 net carbs
  • 6 oz chicken breast 0 net carbs
  • 1 oz beef jerky 2.6 net carbs 
  • 3 oz beef salami 3.4 net carbs
  • 3 oz deli ham 1.5 net carbs


  • ½ cup cottage cheese 2.8 net carbs
  • 1 tbsp butter 0 net carbs 
  • 1 cup 2% milk 11.7 net carbs
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt 17 net carbs
  • 1 piece American cheese 0.3 net carbs
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese 0.8 net carbs


  • 1 apple 17 net carbs
  • 1 small banana 21 net carbs
  • 1 avocado 4.8 net carbs 
  • ¼ cup blueberries 4 net carbs 
  • ¼ cup strawberries 4.8 net carbs 

Vegetables (non-starchy)

  • 6 asparagus spears 2.4 net carbs
  • 1 cup bok choy 0.8 net carbs
  • 0.5 cup broccoli 1.7 net carbs
  • 1 celery stalk 0.8 net carbs
  • ½ cup kale 2.4 net carbs 
  • 1 cup spinach 0.2 net carbs 

Vegetables (starchy)

  • 1 sweet potato 19 net carbs 
  • ½ cup white potato 14 net carbs 
  • ½ cup pumpkin 6 net carbs
  • ½ cup acorn squash 10.4 net carbs 
  • ½ cup butternut squash 8 net carbs

Nuts and Seeds

  • 2 tbsp almond butter 5.6 net carbs
  • 2 tbsp whole almonds 1.4 net carbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans 0.6 net carbs
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds 2.4 net carbs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds 1.5 net carbs 


Sources of fat like olive oil, coconut oil, butter, lard, and so on all contain zero carbs(and therefore zero net carbs), making them excellent additions to your keto diet. 

Which Foods To Focus On, And Which To Avoid

As you can see, it’s best to avoid anything in the grain family when you’re trying to avoid excess carbs. With carb counts hitting up to 30 grams per serving, grains are likely to be too carb-heavy to fit into your diet, even in modest amounts. 

Some people can get away with adding a small amount of the lower-carb varieties here and there (quinoa, for instance), but if you’re aiming to keep your carbs between 30 and 50 grams, you’re better off avoiding grains altogether.

The same goes for starchy vegetables like potatoes and squash. One-half cup of most starchy vegetables will provide at least 10 grams of net carbs, which is simply too many when you’re trying to keep carbs low. Instead, focus on the non-starchy varieties like green leafy vegetables (kale and spinach) and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. 

Most meat is almost 100% carb-free. However, some processed meats contain sugars and other additives that bring the carb counts up significantly. For instance, some beef jerky brands will come with 5 grams of carbs per serving, and a serving is only one ounce. 

Creating a meal plan that centers are unprocessed, high-quality meats is an excellent way to ensure that your plate is high-protein while remaining low-carb. Pair your meat with some low-carb veggies and you have a well-rounded keto meal. 

Fruit tends to be high in carbs, but you can enjoy a few varieties in moderation. Berries, for instance, are considerably lower carb than other types of fruit, and avocados are practically in line with low-carb veggies. 

Dairy can be hit or miss, so always check the label on your dairy products. In general, milk and yogurt are higher in natural sugars, while cheese and butter are much more keto-friendly. 

5-Day 30 Gram Meal Plan

Below is an example meal plan if you’re aiming to keep your carbohydrate intake around 30 grams of carbs per day. You’ll notice that this diet plan is made up of primarily low-carb foods, with an emphasis on fat and protein.

Day 1


2 eggs with ½ cup sauteed kale and onion and a piece of Cloud Bread (5 net carbs)


Grass-fed burger lettuce wraps with cheese, ½ avocado, and mayonnaise, with a handful of macadamia nuts (9 net carbs)


1 ½ cups Garlic-Lemon Zucchini Pasta (12 net carbs) 


Classic No-Bake Cookie (6 net carbs) 

Day 2


Keto Oatmeal with ¼ cup blueberries (5 net carbs) 


1 ½ cups Keto Taco Salad (7 net carbs) 


3 Simple Keto Meatballs over one cup of spaghetti squash with olive oil and ¼ cup tomato sauce (14 net carbs)


3 Mocha Cheesecake Brownie Bites (4.5 net carbs)

Day 3


Strawberry Collagen Shake (4 net carbs) 

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1 ½ cups Low-Carb Chili (8 net carbs)


6 oz Instant Pot Ribs with side Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (8 net carbs) 


Classic No-Bake Cookie (6 net carbs) 

Day 4


2 eggs with ½ cup sauteed kale and onion and a piece of Cloud Bread (5 net carbs)


1 cup Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (12 net carbs) 


Italian Turkey Casserole (5 net carbs) 


3 Mocha Cheesecake Brownie Bites (4.5 net carbs)

Day 5


Keto Oatmeal with ¼ cup blueberries (5 net carbs) 


Sheet Pan Sausage And Peppers (5 net carbs) 


Creamy Garlic Chicken over spaghetti squash (12 net carbs)  


Classic No-Bake Cookie (6 net carbs) 

5-Day 50 Gram Meal Plan

Below is a meal plan that fits into the 50 grams of carbs category. You’ll notice that there are slight adjustments to the 30 grams per day meal plan, with a continued focus on high-quality protein and low-carb veggies.

Day 1


3 Blueberry Protein Pancakes (9 net carbs) 


Grass-fed burger lettuce wraps with cheese, 1 avocado, and mayonnaise, with a handful of macadamia nuts (12 net carbs)


1 ½ cups Garlic-Lemon Zucchini Pasta with 6 oz scallops (16 net carbs)  


2 Classic No-Bake Cookies (12 net carbs) 

Day 2


Keto Oatmeal with ¼ cup blueberries (5 net carbs) 


1 ½ cups Keto Cashew Chicken (15 net carbs) 


3 Simple Keto Meatballs over one cup of spaghetti squash with olive oil and ½ cup tomato sauce, sprinkled with pine nuts (20 net carbs)


Nut Butter Cheesecake (6 net carbs) 

Day 3


3 Low-Carb Vanilla Waffles (12 net carbs) 


1 cup Keto Butter Chicken with Cauliflower rice (12 net carbs)


Instant Pot Ribs with side Balsamic Turnips (12 net carbs) 


2 Classic No-Bake Cookie (12 net carbs) 

Day 4


3 Blueberry Protein Pancakes (9 net carbs) 


1 cup Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (12 net carbs) 


1 ½ cups French Onion Soup with Sourdough Bread (13 net carbs)


3 Lemon Cashew Cookies (12 net carbs) 

Day 5


2 cup serving Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie (14 net carbs) 


2 Low-Carb Chicken Tacos (10 net carbs) 


Creamy Garlic Chicken over spaghetti squash (12)  


2 Classic No-Bake Cookies (12 net carbs) 

The Takeaway

Most people eat between 25-50 grams of carbs per day or 5-10% of their total calories on the ketogenic diet. While a stark contrast to the Standard American Diet, lowering your carb intake and getting into ketosis can lead to some impressive health benefits. 

The exact amount of carbs you consume will depend on your body composition, activity level, and fat loss goals. However, using the Perfect Keto Macro Calculator is a great place to start. 

On the keto diet, your goal is to burn ketone bodies — rather than glucose — for energy. To do this, you’ll eat a high-fat, low-carb diet. Keto foods include high-quality meat, nuts and seeds, plenty of healthy fats, and low-sugar fruits and vegetables. If you are looking to get started, be sure to visit the Perfect Keto recipe library for plenty of low-carb meal ideas.

Missing carbs on keto?

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How Many Carbs per Day on a Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet?

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How Many Carbs per Day to Stay in Ketosis?

As described in my post How Does the Ketogenic Diet Work? Weight Loss and 3 Main Effects of Ketosis, weight loss on a ketogenic diet is achieved by limiting the daily intake of net carbs and getting your body in a metabolic state known as ketosis.

While in ketosis, your body effectively uses fat for fuel. In general, the daily intake of net carbs required to enter ketosis could vary from 20 to 100 grams per day. Most people, who have experienced ketosis, claim to have reached that state at about 20-50 grams of net carbs per day. I’d suggest you start at 20-30 grams and see how you can adjust it for your needs.

There are two ways to find your ideal net carbs intake:

Low To High Method

Start from a low level of net carbs to ensure you quickly enter ketosis (~ 20 grams of net carbs per day). When you detect ketosis after about 2-3 days, start adding net carbs (about 5 grams each week) until you detect a very low-level or no ketones (using Ketostix or blood ketone meter).

This is usually the most reliable and quickest way to discover your net carbs limit. It could be a bit hard the first couple of days, as you have to give up almost all carbs from one day to another but it will be worth it. This method is highly recommended.

High To Low Method

Assuming you’re not in ketosis, start from a relatively high level of net carbs (~ 50 grams) and keep reducing (about 5 grams each week) until you detect presence of ketones. This is a less difficult approach but not recommended, as you may spend a long time out of ketosis before you find your net carbs limit.

If you can’t see any ketones, be patient. It typically takes 2-3 days for your body to deplete glycogen stores, so don’t expect to be in ketosis after just a day of low-carb. Remember, ketosis is a favourable condition and an indication that your body uses fat for fuel but you can lose weight even without being in ketosis. A diet high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates is naturally sating, making you less hungry and, therefore, helps you lose weight.

Why You Should Think Twice Before Going “Zero-carb”

There is no need to go “zero-carb” unless you are doing a Restricted Ketogenic Diet for therapeutic reasons. Most people experience all the great fat loss and health benefits of the Ketogenic diet at 20-30 grams of net carbs (or up to 50 grams of total carbs) per day.

Remember, more ketones won’t help you lose more weight. You simply need to find your optimal carbs level to sate your appetite and feel good.

How About Thyroid Issues on a Low-carb Diet?

It’s a common myth that low-carb diets cause hypothyroidism. There is no such evidence. Low-carb diets may cause decreased hormone levels but this is not always indicative of a thyroid disease. Instead, calorie restriction is more likely what leads to thyroid issues, especially if it’s over a long period of time.

As someone who has hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s), I can confirm that a low-carb, whole foods based diet has not made my condition worse. In fact, it had the opposite effect and my thyroid function has improved. Although I still have to take levothyroxine, I feel better and my antibody values went down. I’m not saying that LCHF eating can reverse hypothyroidism but I’m willing to try and see if it improves my condition even further.

No diet plan fits all and not everybody can follow a very low-carb diet. Even Dr Volek and Dr Phinney noted that there is not enough evidence that a very low-carb diet (such as less than 20 g net carbs) is beneficial for those with preexisting thyroid or adrenal conditions. Dr. Broda Barnes, who spent over 50 years on thyroid research, suggested in his book “Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness”, that the minimum amount of carbohydrate intake for patients with hypothyroidism should be at least 30 grams of net carbs.

I personally don’t follow a very low-carb diet because I have such a preexisting condition which may have been caused by my calorie-restricting dieting many years ago. My “ideal” level is somewhere around 30 grams of net carbs (light ketosis). By “ideal” I mean a level at which I feel great and maintain a healthy weight. I sometimes eat less carbs out of habit, not because I force myself to follow a very low-carb diet. Following a very low-carb diet (less than 20 grams of total carbs) doesn’t help in my case: it made no difference to my appetite or energy levels but I felt worse. You simply need to try it yourself and find your “ideal” carb intake.

As I mentioned in many of my previous posts, you don’t necessarily need to be in ketosis to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. The main reason people lose weight on a low-carb diet is its natural appetite control.

You can find out more about measuring ketones in my post here: Ketosis & Measuring Ketones.

For more information about carbs on keto: All You Need to Know About Carbs on Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet

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  3. How Many Carbs per Day on a Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet?
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  3. How Many Carbs per Day on a Low-Carb Ketogenic Diet?
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90,000 The ratio of fats and proteins on the keto diet

Reducing the amount of carbohydrates on the keto diet compensates for fatty and protein foods. Unlike other food systems based on strict restriction of carbohydrates, on a ketosis diet you can afford to lose weight without feeling hungry. The main thing is not to forget to control the total calorie content of the diet within the normal range and monitor the correct ratio of fats and proteins for the keto diet in the menu in order to always be in a state of ketosis.What is the correct ratio of fat to protein on a ketogenic diet?

The basis of the ketogenic diet is the transition from one source of energy – carbohydrates, to another – fats.

The keto diet: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. How to find the balance?

The ketogenic diet is based on the transition from one source of energy – carbohydrates, to another – fats. To do this, you need to enter the body into a state of ketosis, in which the process of breaking down fat occurs in the body and ketone bodies are formed.To enter this state, you need to adhere to the recommended ratio of fats, proteins and carbohydrates for a keto diet:

  • proteins – 25-35%;
  • fats – 50-70%;
  • carbohydrates – 5-10%.

Fat on the keto diet

Fat is a key element of the keto diet. How many of them can you eat in a day on a keto diet? From the total caloric intake of the diet, fats should be at least 50%. It is important to prioritize healthy and natural sources of fat such as:

  • Farm eggs (yolks),
  • Natural oils: almond, coconut, olive, walnut oil, avocado oil and others,
  • Nuts and seeds: macadamia, almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed
  • Fish fatty grades,
  • Avocados,
  • Heavy cream, yoghurt and other high-fat dairy products,
  • Meat: beef, lamb, pork.

Proteins on the keto diet

The recommended amount of protein in the diet on a ketosis diet is 25-35% of the daily calorie intake of the menu. When choosing sources of protein, give preference to farmed natural products.

The recommended amount of protein in the diet on a ketosis diet is 25-35% of the daily calorie intake of the menu.

Protein Sources for the Keto Diet:

  • Beef: ideal if grain-fed meat of moderate fat content,
  • Wild fish (not farmed, but in natural conditions): tuna, pollock, salmon, cod and others,
  • Eggs,
  • Seafood: scallops, shrimp, oysters and others,
  • Poultry: turkey, chicken, duck,
  • Offal: tongue, liver, heart,
  • Nut butters without added sugar.

Review the amount of protein in your keto menu if:

  • You have reached the keto plateau and your weight loss has stopped. It can be overcome by increasing protein and decreasing the amount of fat in the diet,
  • you train intensely. If your goal is to maintain or gain muscle mass, increase the amount of protein in your diet,
  • you are busy with mental work and your brain needs amino acids.Recent studies have shown that protein deficiency leads to partial atrophy and loss of neurons, which will affect your productivity.

Planning a keto diet menu taking into account the balance of BJU

When self-planning a menu on a ketosis diet, there is a risk of incorrect calculation of the balance of necessary macronutrients. For example, an overuse of protein with a heavily reduced amount of carbohydrates in the diet leads to gluconeogenesis, in which the body will burn protein, not fat.
For quick results on a ketogenic diet, it is best to entrust the menus to a professional. In the Yamdiet healthy food delivery service, the diet is prepared by a dietitian based on the ratio of fats, proteins and carbohydrates recommended for the keto diet. Dishes are prepared from fresh farm products and are delivered daily in Moscow and the Moscow region by our own logistics service immediately after preparation, which guarantees the freshness and quality of products.

90,000 How many carbs per day can you eat on a keto diet? | Valentina Toguleva

📉Reducing carbohydrates in the diet is one of the best ways to lose weight.It can help you reduce your appetite and lead to weight loss without having to control your food intake.

💣Dietitians have recommended low-fat and low-calorie foods for decades. The problem is, these diets don’t work. The alternative for many years has been the ketogenic diet, which is very low in carbohydrates. This reduces the intake of carbohydrates such as sugar and bread, pasta, etc., and replaces them with proteins and fats. This diet doesn’t just help you lose weight.It also lowers blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides. This type of diet raises good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol.

⚖️How many carbohydrates per day can you consume on a keto diet?

🔥The answer is about 20 grams of net carbs per day. This level will be ketogenic for most people * – if protein intake remains moderate. Keeping protein levels moderate in ketogenic diet recipes is important as excess protein can be converted to glucose in your body.
Metabolic effects will increase very rapidly. This is a good amount of carbohydrates for people who want to lose weight quickly, have metabolic problems, have weight problems, or have diabetes. When you eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day, your body goes into ketosis, supplying the brain with energy from the ketone bodies that our body starts using from this type of food. This will reduce your appetite and, of course, you will remove excess fat.

* For most people, if the total carbs are below 35g and net carbs are below 25g (ideally below 20g), they will go into deep ketosis after a week.Net carbs are calculated after removing grams of fiber per serving of total carbs. For example, if one food contains 20 grams of carbohydrates and contains 8 grams of fiber, the amount of net carbohydrates that the food contains is 12 grams.

🔋To eat such a small amount of carbohydrates, you must be vigilant about your food choices. You may find that many of your favorite foods contain more carbs than you can afford for the day in a single serving.Even healthier foods like fruits and vegetables are loaded with sugar and carbs, but don’t despair – on a ketogenic diet, you can eat a lot of delicious foods.
Below are two lists – what you should and should not eat on a ketogenic diet:

🔥Don’t eat !!! 🔥

🌾 Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereals, etc.

🍯 Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.

🍌Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.

🥔Tubers – potatoes, yams, etc.

🔥Eat !!! 🔥

🥩🥑Meat – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.

🥬Green foliage – spinach, cabbage, etc.

🥦Aboveground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

🧀High fat foods – hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter, etc.

🥜Nuts and seeds – macadamia, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.

🥑Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries and other berries with a low glycemic index

🥄Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit and other low carbohydrates.

🥥Other fats – coconut oil, high fat salads, saturated fats, etc.

Here are examples of how you can spend these carbohydrates:
Example 1:
25 grams of almonds
150 grams of broccoli
150 grams of cabbage
100 grams of raspberries
Total = 25 grams

Example 2:
150 grams of green Bulgarian pepper
150 grams of mushrooms
150 grams of green beans
100 grams of golden onions
Total = 25 grams

🔥 With a keto diet, you will burn fat quickly 🔥

👍 A low-carb diet lowers insulin, the hormone that transfers glucose from carbohydrates to cells …One of the functions of insulin is to store fat.

👍Many experts believe that this diet is successful because it lowers the level of this hormone. Another point is that the kidneys store sodium, so this diet can cause excess water left over. When you cut back on carbs, you cut your insulin levels and your kidneys begin to flush out excess water. This is why many people lose a lot of water on this diet. For the first week, your fat will come from your body’s storage.

👍If you start this diet, you must go through an adaptation phase in which the body gets used to burning fat instead of carbohydrates. It will take several days. Including more fat and sodium in your diet will help. However, after this stage, people begin to feel good and full of energy.

👍If you need help in choosing the optimal menu for drawing up this diet, you can contact a nutritionist or use online services to select recipes.

👍For consultations:

messenger, WhatsApp +7 915 009 70 81;

e-mail: [email protected]

website: https://eat.coach

How many carbohydrates can you eat per day?

By and large, it depends on you – how strictly you are going to adhere to the LCHF principles, what is your starting weight, how quickly you plan to lose weight and how much (and whether you plan to lose weight or just, for example, want to get rid of your dependence on sweets).

There is such a very average concept: the strictest version of the LCHF or keto diet allows you to consume no more than 10 grams per day, the average version – up to 25 grams, and the free one – up to 50 grams of carbohydrates. Usually 20-50 grams per day comes even from foods that are not rich in carbohydrates – vegetables, fruits, nuts and milk. And by the way, even the most liberal version of the LCHF assumes that we get carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits and berries, whole dairy and sour milk products, nuts, a small amount of root vegetables, in short, from foods with a low glycemic index – their consumption does not lead to a strong a spike in blood sugar.Wheat flour and cereals, breads and pastries, sugar and sugary drinks should be avoided at all times.

Another way of calculating is related to the percentage of calories from carbohydrates. When following the LCHF, this indicator varies within 5-10%. If you stick to an average consumption of about 2,000 kcal per day, then carbohydrates should give you no more than 200 kcal. Because one gram of carbohydrates contains about 4 kcal, then we get all the same 50 grams. But if you are intensely involved in sports, or your work is associated with heavy physical exertion, then your need for energy can be much higher – and three and four thousand calories.In this case, you can consume more carbohydrates, but make sure not to go beyond 10% of all calories. Well, and besides, make sure not to overeat. LCHF allows you to eat as much as you need to fill, but unfortunately not everyone is able to stop in time. This often happens in people who are already very overweight. In such cases, try to plan your diet more carefully to avoid overeating.

However, even if you end up getting more than 10% of calories from carbohydrates per day, but gradually reduce their amount and give up at least the most harmful refined carbohydrates, this can also be meaningful.Even diets that limit carbohydrates to 20% of the total calories formally fall under the definition of low carbohydrates, and they work too. It’s just that you will most likely lose weight more slowly than on a strict keto diet, but this, like much else in our body, is largely determined by individual characteristics.

Low Carb LCHF Products In Our Online Store

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Fiber on the Keto Diet

The figures above are for digestible carbohydrates and do not include fiber.You can subtract fiber when calculating. You can consume unlimited fiber from low-carb vegetables.

Another term for digestible carbohydrates minus fiber is “net carbs”.

Don’t trust the net carbs figure on processed foods like chocolate bars. The data can be misleading because these foods are often high in sugar alcohols, which can negatively impact blood sugar levels and interfere with weight loss.When in doubt, avoid foods that have the words “net carbs” on them.

An effective low-carb diet is ideally based on fresh, unprocessed foods.

Manual: Carbohydrates on a Low Carb or Keto Diet

How to Choose a Diet

Some people need to keep carbohydrates very low, that is, a ketogenic diet, for maximum effect. This group includes many people with problems such as obesity, diabetes mellitus (mainly type 2), food or sugar addiction.

People who are less susceptible to carbohydrates thrive on a liberal, low-carb diet.

This helps to reduce the risk of any side effects.

Third group: Healthy, active people who may not need a low-carb diet as long as they consume unprocessed, slow-carbs.

Those in need should do their best and start a strict keto diet to experience its full power. Later, as you get closer to your weight loss and health goals, you can add more carbs to your diet.

This article was translated from the DietDoctor website, one of the largest information resources on keto and low-carb diets


As a rule, in the beginning, to enter ketosis, you need to eat very few carbohydrates (5%), a moderate amount of protein (10-20%) and add the rest with fat (70-85%).

But you should always count proteins, fats and carbohydrates in grams!

And this is done on the keto calculator.

Carbohydrates and protein are usually unchanged.

For keto adaptation, the rules are:

carbohydrates: 20-30 g
protein: your personal norm based on weight, height, age, level of physical activity. Average: 0.8-2 g protein per kg of lean body mass (ie weight without fat or “ideal weight”), depending on all of these factors.
fat: to saturation

After adaptation:

carbohydrates and protein do not change, but if there is a goal to lose weight, then we remove calories from fat .

There are many keto calculators online that you can use to calculate your personal proportions and calories.

If you need help, please contact for personal consultation at [email protected] or direct to my Instagram account @ ketopower.ru

My personal advice for newbies is not to set too many goals at once – for example, go into ketosis AND a calorie deficit. Learn to be in ketosis first. After a couple of weeks, you can make a small deficit. I promise you that the weight will start melting by itself as soon as you are in ketosis for at least 10 days. Looking ahead, I will say that all the water retained by glycogen in the muscles first drains.In the first week, I lost so much that I got scared. It turned out that it was just water, I had to continue, and I started eating more carbohydrates and calories … but then, after a couple of weeks, I tried again and then the weight dropped more slowly (all the water was gone, the fat began to melt).

When you fully adapt, that is, your body will work effectively on ketones, start looking for the amount of carbohydrates and protein that is comfortable for you. Start with carbohydrates. If you are comfortable with 20-30 grams (there are no unpleasant symptoms or breakdowns), then continue as is.If not, raise it by 5 grams and see – how do you like it? Knocks out of ketosis? Is it easier in the gym? Have any symptoms improved or disappeared? Listen to your body. Keto should be comfortable. We do not suffer here. Many, after fat adaptation, can even eat 50-100 grams and remain in ketosis at the same time, although this rarely happens. Look for your figure! In girls, by the way, it can vary within a month. There are no general formulas!
Same with protein. General guidelines are 0.8-1.5 grams per kg dry weight.But it all depends on your physical activity. If you are not very active, start with 0.8-1 grams. For athletes, more is possible. When carbohydrates and protein are settled, we add quality saturated and monounsaturated fats to everything else. Don’t be afraid to eat fat !!!

90,000 ➗ KETO Calculator ✖ – Calculate your macros for the KETO Diet.

What is deficit / excess?

Deficiency or excess is related to the number of calories you consume. Excess means you eat more.
required by your body.A deficiency means you are eating less than your body needs.

Usually, if you are losing weight, you need a calorie deficit. 10-20% are standard for humans. Range
is considered a high deficit and is generally difficult to maintain (you will constantly struggle with
You can try a 30% deficit, but not get the desired effect, because such a deficiency can
lead to metabolic damage in the long term (research).

If you want to gain muscle mass, you will need a surplus in calories.You need extra calories
if you want to gain lean muscle mass. As a rule, it is suggested to consume in excess of 5-10%, however,
going 10% can lead to an increase in excess weight.

Why should I eat so few carbohydrates?

There are many scientifically proven benefits of the keto (ketogenic) diet.

On keto, the general rule of thumb is to stay within 30 grams of net carbs per day. we
we recommend to stay at 20g for weight loss.or lower net (NET) carbs per day.

The ultimate goal of the ketogenic diet is a metabolic state known as ketosis. We achieve
of this
by cutting back on carbohydrates.

How much protein should I eat?

When you’re on keto, a protein intake is a must. When there is too much protein, you can lower your levels.
too little, you can lose muscle. It is important to consume as much protein as needed.

If you are sedentary, we recommend a protein intake in the range of 1.3 g – 1.8 g per
kilogram of dry body weight.

For an active lifestyle, we recommend 1.8 – 2.2 g per kilogram of lean body weight.
If you are looking to gain muscle mass, we recommend a protein intake in the range of 2.2 g to 2.6 g per
kilogram of dry body weight. According to these
You do not need
consume more protein.

Setting the desired parameter may seem complicated, but in reality it is not! It’s just
squirrel. If your lean weight is 50 kg and you want to gain muscle mass (2.2 g protein per kilogram dry)
body), you need to eat 110 g of protein.

If you still don’t understand, do not worry – the keto calculator will automatically calculate your protein requirement for
based on your activity level.

I’m not sure about my macros, are they correct?

In general, many people are concerned that the keto calculator gives too many calories to eat. And loss
1600 kcal per day on a keto (ketogenic) diet is common for the average person. If a
not 100% sure or in doubt about anything, you can also read more about macronutrients at
keto diet>

You should try to eat according to the indicated macros and, based on them, try
meals throughout the day.Don’t try to get accurate numbers. You can afford small fluctuations in
your macros, but as long as you are close to your ranges, your keto diet will be balanced.

If you’re just starting out and still want to learn more about keto, read our
a complete overview of ketogenic (keto)

Calculation of protein for the keto diet

The protein calculation for keto is different at the start of the diet and during the active weight loss phase. Gluconeogenesis occurs intensively only at the beginning of adaptation, when the body cannot yet use fat as a new source of energy.Therefore, he tries to get glucose in every possible way. But with each passing day, gluconeogenesis decreases, we begin to use ketones and triglycerides more efficiently, and we become less dependent on glucose.

And being already very well adapted, even in a situation where the amount of protein exceeds the amount of fat, we will remain in ketosis.

A higher protein intake is convenient because it allows you to eat regular food – a lot of meat, eggs, fish. You don’t need to drink coconut oil or MCT several times a day in the form of, for example, armor-piercing coffee to consume enough fat.

How much protein is there after adaptation

When switching to a restrictive ketogenic diet, that is, to complete fat burning, where 80% of energy and more comes from fat, different rules apply. Blood sugar should not exceed 4.5 mmol all day under no circumstances.

As a rule, fat is the only fuel. The need for proteins is sharply reduced because they are replaced by amino acids of ketogenic origin (lipoproteins), which have a structure similar to ketone bodies.This allows them to circulate freely in the blood, which ensures proper muscle building. Therefore, when losing weight on a keto diet, the protein consumed is cut back, but muscle mass does not decrease.

Calculation of protein for the keto diet

Calculation of protein for a keto diet should be done taking into account the following factors:

Body fat

The more body fat, the more efficiently your body uses the fatty acids found in subcutaneous fat, and thus conserves amino acids (protein).

Therefore, it is better to calculate the amount of protein without taking into account fat mass. For example, you weigh 100 kg in total, while 25 kg of this is fat. Thus, if you plan to eat 2 g of protein / kg, it will not be 200 g (100 kg of body weight * 2 g of protein), 150 g (75 kg * 2 g)

Your goal and the sport you practice

In case you have switched to a high-fat diet to improve your health, for example, to treat epilepsy, then there may be a small amount of protein, close to zero amount of carbohydrates.Because here the level of ketone bodies in the blood matters.

For a person who decides to switch to a healthy diet or lose weight, that is, who needs to adapt to ketosis as soon as possible, the amount of protein can be 1 gram / kg dry weight and the standard 20 grams of carbohydrates.

And in sports, the schemes are not entirely accurate. For example, you can eat carbohydrates before exercise when it helps your physical activity, while eating foods that are medium to high in protein.However, in bodybuilding it is possible to significantly increase the amount of protein by reducing the amount of fat.

  • Ordinary people 1 gram of protein per kg of lean body weight
  • Athletes – 1.5- (no upper limit) grams of protein per kg of lean body weight

Calculating All Keto Nutrients

For weight loss, on a keto diet, you can distinguish the following formula for calculating all nutrients:

  • 80-85% fat
  • up to 15% protein
  • up to 5% carbohydrates (up to 15-30 g per day)

As for fats, it should be remembered that, unlike carbohydrates and proteins, they provide 9 calories per gram.Percentage calculation refers to calculation in calories. To make it clearer, again, consider an example.

Suppose the same person weighing 100 kg wants to lose weight and must consume 2000 calories per day for this.

Thus, he will receive:

90,018 90,019 100 calories from carbohydrates (5%) 90,020
90,019,300 calories from protein (15%) 90,020
90,019 1,600 calories from protein (80%) 90,020

To calculate in grams, it is necessary to divide the calorie content of nutrients by 4 and 9, respectively:

  • Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, so 100/4 = 25 grams
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram, so 300/4 = 75 grams
  • Fats provide 9 calories per gram, therefore 1600/9 = 177 grams
  • Now there are many online services for such calculations, so that you do not have to rack your brains.