Table of Contents
- Determine Your Own Carb Limit For Keto Diet
- Categorizing Carb
- Zero Carb: Next To Impossible
- Dealing With Low Carb On Keto: How To Reduce Carb?
- A Sneak Peek Into 30 Grams Of Carbs
As we know, the main goal of adopting keto diet is achieving ketosis state. We can try many methods to get into this metabolic state. But the safest and most practical one is limiting carbs intake. However, the question that remains unanswered is how many carbs a day on keto?
If you are going through a phase of learning keto, you may have noticed the general guideline is somewhat same. Which advocates you to stick to a limit of 20 – 30 grams net carbs per day in order to stay in ketosis.
This amount is kind of a general threshold level, which promises that abide by to it may help reach ketosis quickly and stay in it. The fact is that there is no hard and fast carb limit for keto as energy needs and metabolism of our body differ from person to person. And that is what ultimately decides the amount of carbs our body needs to stay in ketosis.
Not every person is equal and thus everyone requires different amount of carb. Based on individual’s lifestyle and medical conditions the limit of carb may vary. For example, some people goes for a long morning walk. So they might need a high carb consumption in the morning or the night before. So an individual can get into ketosis even when that person is consuming higher amount of carbs. Finding the right amount of your carb limit is one of the key factor to adopt ketosis effectively.
Athletes and highly active people can maintain ketosis eating a larger amount of carb. The reason being their muscle use up glycogen more quickly and in higher amounts than a regular people. Athletes follow a method called ‘carb cycling’ to stay in ketosis while adapting keto diet. In this method, they divide their diet in two periods – in one period they feed themselves only with carbs (up to 130g) and in another period they maintain keto diet.
So, how can you find your carb limit for ketogenic diet?
Determine Your Own Carb Limit For Keto Diet
If one considers oneself as a “normal” person – here the word normal simply refers to ‘non-athlete’ – then s/he can be allowed to follow standard ketogenic dietary ratio. Here we mention the word standard here because there are a few versions of keto diet exist. To know more about it please read types of ketogenic diet.
As we mentioned already, keto diet opens up a window of health and mental benefit, including effortless fat loss, increased lifespan, improved energy and sharper mental focus. Though we get different types of response from different amount of carb intake, but there are some general starting points.
However, to attain those, we first need to determine our macro-nutrient ratios:
Honestly speaking, these percentages alone can’t provide us best guide, since it is very hard to measure them with precision in real life without context. Of course it is easier to mention the rule of thumbs: ideal carb limit is 30 – 35 grams of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs for ketogenic diet. We calculate net carbs by subtracting the grams of the fiber from the total grams of carbs.
However, once we enter the ketosis state, we can start experimenting with our carb limit to find out the right amount.
Before increasing the carb amount through experiment, experts recommend to make sure that you are already in ketosis state for at least one week. This will provide our body sufficient time to make that metabolic adjustment.
When shifting to high fat low carb diet, the metabolic adjustment might take time upto one month. Adopting ketosis mean that your body is using fat as a body fuel efficiently. That being said, it wouldn’t be wise to constantly switch between the two because at some point it will lead to losing the metabolic benefits of being in ketosis.
Two methods have been used widely to find out ideal net carbs intake:
Low – High Routine
The most reliable way to ensure we achieve ketosis faster is to start carb intake from a low level – ~ 20 grams of net carbs per day. Keep consuming 20 grams of carb for weeks till you get into ketosis. Once you start producing ketones, try adding 5 grams of carbs each week in your diet. So in the first week of your experiment you will consume total 25 grams of carb. If you are still in ketosis that means you can go for higher amount of carb next week. In week 2 add 5 more grams and check your ketosis status. If you are out of ketosis, go back to previous carb limit and you have found your own carb limit. In this case, it’s 25 grams. Do not forget to note down your ketone level througout this experiment.
Low high routine is slow and will kick you out of ketosis in one level but this routine is highly recommended. You will get time to metabolic adjustment and a sudden change in your diet. Also you can cope up with the learning curve of ketogenic diet.Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
High – Low Routine
This method is opposite to low high routine. In this routine you will find your own carb limit for ketogenic diet and will get into ketosis at the same time. In this approach you will start a higher carb limit. If you are someone who is regularly active or do some workout or goes for a run everyday – start your first week with 50 grams of carb. After the first week if you are not in ketosis that means you have to lower your carb intake. In the second week take 45 grams of carbs and check for any sign of ketones. If still your are not in ketosis lower carb intake one more step and do the same till you start producing ketones.
Some prefer this routine over low high routine for the reason this is much simpler and gives time to adjust your diet. You can follow any routine you want but it is important to follow same amount of carbs for one week at least.
Low Carb Intake Keto
Limit sets at 20 grams or less per day carbs. This level is considered as ketogenic for most people given protein intake remains moderate1. We have to design our macros in a way that only about 5% of total energy stems from carbs, and the rest will generate from protein and fat. Another aspect we should always keep in mind that in keto recipes, a moderate protein level is maintained, as excess protein may get converted to glucose in our body2. Besides, additional protein may pave the way for raising insulin, which may lead to reducing ketosis.
Moderate Low Carb Intake Keto
Allows 20 -50 grams of carb intake per day. Energy originates from moderate low carb recipes carb should not exceed 5 – 10%. The remaining energy will come from protein and fat.
Liberal Low Carb Intake Keto
It is a bit flexible in carb consumption as it allows between 50 -100 grams per day. In liberal low carb recipes, energy resulting from carbs should be limited to 10 to 20 percent. The rest will come from protein and fat.
Zero Carb: Next To Impossible
People who are in pursuit of ‘zero carb’ are wasting their time and effort unless they do it for some medical reason. Besides, our body never stops producing carbohydrates. They always exist in our body naturally and they never become null & void. Moreover, existence of carb is the reason why our blood sugar never reaches the level of zero.
Imagine, our body is getting carb from protein even if we give up carb intake completely. That’s how our body’s fuel source works when it gets fat adapted. Therefore, carb is part & parcel of our body’s fuel source, no matter how hard we try to get rid of it.
Usually delicious foods are carb-ridden and who wants to abandon all those palatable foods. Besides, if you want to enjoy a great deal of fat loss in ketogenic diet, you should limit your net carb consumption at less than 30 grams per day.
Purpose of low carb high fat diet is to produce ketone, hence reach ketosis. Trying to go for low carb doesn’t necessarily means that you are trying to adopt ketogenic diet. You must switch your body fuel to fat and start producing ketones as efficiently as possible.
Dealing With Low Carb On Keto: How To Reduce Carb?
Remember the old adage, it’s easier said than done. Trust me giving up all those delicious food – mostly filled with carb – is not easy at all. At the beginning of the keto diet, most people find it difficult to avoid most carbs. However, eating better and avoiding worst carb may help us get into the groove of keto diet. Perhaps this can provide us with a good start to keto diet.
Anyone – even who loves fast foods – can try following three easy steps towards a keto frindly diet. We highly suggest you to take it slow and adopt each steps one at a time. We are confident these steps will help you to reduce your carb limit to a great extend.
Step 1: Giving Up High Sugar Beverages
It’s as easy as drinking water, just don’t drink sugary beverages. It will help us big time if we give up sugary drinks today, right now. Falling prey to beverage companies’ commercials won’t help our cause, though it’s hard to ignore those as they become a part and parcel of enjoying life.
Unfortunately we won’t find any of beverages without added sugar. So, what is the best alternative? Other than water we fail to find any options that are readily available. First, there is water. Water is easy to find and often cheap. Don’t underestimate it, every creatures in this planet live on it. And when you are in ketosis you must drink water with salt whenever you can to fight keto flu.
Yeah it’s true, drinking water all the time is boring. Maybe this is price we have to pay to achieve ketosis and enjoy all those health and mental benefits. Additionally, we can alter our taste by trying drinks mixed with flavor. In that case, club soda can provide us with an option.
To add little more variety, on special occasions we can have tasty drinks like iced tea, keto hot chocolate and even coffee with whipped cream.
The moment we switch to keto diet, sweet drinks would be considered as bad habit. Besides, most people are somewhat fan of soda. It’s hard to give up habits overnight. Switching to diet soda can be an option for them until they write if off from their drink list. Moreover, sweeteners are another kind of sugar addiction. Therefore, the sooner we get rid of sugary drinks, the quicker we would reach ketosis.
Freeing ourselves from the unnecessary sugar is the most important step in this whole curb reduction process. We should stop ourselves right there if we fail to succeed in curving sugary drinks. Check out what to drink and avoid on keto diet in our full keto drinks guide.
Step 2: Cutting Carbs On Breakfast
The word dessert just doesn’t go with breakfast. It would be a serious blunder if we start our day with following meals as they are full of starch and sugar.
In modern life, almost all family eats cereal at their breakfast without knowing that cereal is full of hidden carbs. No matter how we label them – low carb, low cholesterol, low sugar – they are full of carb in form of starch.
We should chose our breakfast more seriously. For example we can go for scrambled eggs rather than cereal. We can chose keto friendly bread instead of cereal and pancake. Almond nuts and cheese can be good options too for breakfast.
Some people intentionally or busy enough to skip breakfast, which is not bad at all as it triggers the process of intermittent fasting. However, we have to be careful about the fact that skipping breakfast doesn’t lead to high carb meals later in the day. Simply make a habit of healthy first meal, breakfast or not. It might take some time but once you have it planed, you will get used to it.
We can make our breakfast habit a delicious one. We can have bacon, cheese or nut or even a cup of coffee in our breakfast. You can give a tour to our breakfast recipe and choose the item that goes with your lifestyle the most.
This healthy breakfast will give you more energy throughout the active life. Also you will notice the a smooth energy level the whole day whereas you will get ups and downs of energy is traditional high carb breakfast.
Step 3: Good Bye To Packaged Snacks
If we follow the first two steps of carb ladder strictly, we don’t have to reach our snack drawer too often. But when we feel really hungry, we can try some real food over processed snack products.
Snacks that come in foil cellophane package like chips, crackers, pretzels, cookies, energy bars are all highly processed carbs. It is hard to resist those snacks as they are found everywhere. However, experts suggest having whole-food snacks, like nuts when we feel real hungry.
We will take a big step in the right direction when we choose to move away from processed products toward whole foods. What we need is just firm commitment. Dumping packaged snacks is doable and if we can able to do so, it will be easier to cut down a large amount of unhealthy carbs from our diet.
A Sneak Peek Into 30 Grams Of Carbs
The purpose of 30 grams of carbs is to build up our conscience so that we would be comfortable with eating the right food on keto that we need to reach ketosis and at the same time avoiding the junk foods that we don’t need.
We can’t judge carbohydrate as good or bad, they are just carbon mixed to water and causes blood glucose to spike. Some carbohydrate causes a sharp spike and some are rather less effective. On the other hand fiber is the good guy that have no or a very little impact on blood glucose. Fiber are far more easier to process in our gut and calls the healthy bacteria which maintain a good environment in our large intestine.
When we buy food from shop, we have to keep vigil eyes on the products nutritional label. Food manufacturers try to manipulate the net carb count to bring it down. So it is important to stay away from these types of processed packaged foods that are full of hidden carbs and starches that will stop you to get into ketosis in the first place.
Net carb content of some of the fruits and vegetables are depicted in the below info-graphic. We have to keep an vigil eye on vegetable selection as starchy vegetable are nor keto-friendly. Another aspect, onion is must veggie in many countries for cooking. Not all the onions are keto-generic. Brown onion and scallions are considered to be keto onions.
It is not imperative that we must find our carb limit or a necessity when we follow keto diet. But it definitely gives us an extra flexibility which is good for us. For example, it is good to know in advance that we can expand our carb limit up to 40 -45 grams net carbs without and negative effects. Besides, it helps us big time with our meal planning and allow us to make choices that otherwise fall out of range.
Experts recommend that we should start experimenting with our carb limit. But only once we become fat adapted that is after spending 2-3 months on keto. Because, once we get fat-adapted, it will help us limiting adverse side effect and also will provide us with the ability to go back to ketosis quickly afterward.
Knowing the carb limit and how it gets influenced by different foods will potentially provide us with a better understanding of our body. And the most important thing is to abide by it throughout the whole process.