How Many Carbs Should I Eat On The Keto Diet?
The fundamental pillars of the keto diet are high fats, low carbs, and moderate protein. Eating keto means that your body uses fat instead of carbohydrates to generate energy.
For most people used to the Standard American Diet, moving to keto and inducing ketosis is a fairly dramatic shift since they are accustomed to using carbs for fuel.
The question often arises: How many carbs should I eat on the keto diet?
I would love to attach a number but the truth is all of our bodies are different. However, there are guidelines so let’s explore how you can arrive at an answer for yourself.
Your Carb Limit And Your Ketone Burning Capabilities Are Affected By Keto Adaptation
All of us can transition to using ketones (derived from fat) for energy rather than carbs. During the adaptation process, your body activates ketosis and begins to use body fat stores.
In the beginning, it can be a struggle but the reward of weight loss is the ultimate prize if you’re committed, diligent, and patient.
Since the body uses ketones as the primary source of energy, the mitochondria (the cell’s energy powerhouse) become more efficient and start reproducing themselves.
Most cells can now utilize ketones as their primary energy source instead of sugar.
Eventually, after 3-6 months of adhering to the standard keto diet, you’ll be able to eat more carbs and maintain the state of ketosis.
Daily Fat, Protein, and Carb Percentages
The standard keto diet means that you will derive your daily macronutrients from 75% fat, 15-20% protein, and 5-10% from carbohydrates. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, while carbs and protein each have 4 calories per gram. Clearly, fat is calorie-dense…and filling.
There are questions surrounding net carbs and their calculation. Net carbohydrates are derived from subtracting total fiber from total carbs. For example, 100 grams of cauliflower has 2 grams of fiber and a total of 5 carbs.
To ascertain the net carbs, simply subtract the fiber from the total; this simple arithmetic tells you that 100 grams of cauliflower have 3 net carbs.
Net carbs matter because fiber is not digested by the body and on the keto diet you need to know how many carbs you are digesting that will be converted to glucose.
A word of caution: Be skeptical of food labels that indicate net carbs as they often fail to subtract sugar alcohols. By sticking to whole natural foods and avoiding processed foods you’ll avoid confusion over food labels.
So, how does all of this solve measuring your daily carb and calorie intake?
How Many Carbs and Calories Per Day?
We’ve established that your daily intake of carbs should be 5-10 percent of your daily total. If you want to lose weight, it can be a good idea to figure out a calorie deficit.
That means you need to establish how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and then decide on a lower calorie count that will cause you to lose weight.
The Mayo Clinic offers a simple online calculator where you can plug in your age, gender, weight, height, and daily exercise pattern to generate a result.
The standard keto diet suggests 50 grams of carbs as the upper limit for daily carb intake while many keto enthusiasts recommend 25 net carbs or less per day.
It’s imperative that you educate yourself about healthy low-carb foods when you’re planning your meals. I use emeals to help with my planning.
There are multiple Apps to count carbs that can be really helpful on your keto path. When you have adopted the keto lifestyle it can be confusing in the beginning. Knowing which foods will increase your fat intake while moderating protein and restricting carbs can be a gamechanger.
Exercise Is A Friend But Stress Is An Enemy
When you start on keto, you will experience fatigue and other symptoms because you’re triggering ketosis. During that time, you may not feel like working out so listen to your body.
However, if you feel up to it, exercise can help you reach ketosis faster and boost your body’s ketone levels.
To activate ketosis quickly and healthily, high-intensity training, for example, can deplete glycogen, and low-intensity exercise like walking can promote fat and ketone burning. Always make sure you are hydrating sufficiently.
And remember, too much of a good thing can have negative consequences.
Over-exercising is a stress inducer that will prevent you from maintaining ketosis since it can stop the production of ketones.
How To Determine Your Personal Carb Limit
Ketone meters measure the blood level of beta-hydroxybutyrate, one of the ketones produced during ketosis. Using a meter is a scientifically objective method of assessing your state of ketosis. Keto Mojo is a brand I really like.
It’s an excellent way to monitor your state of ketosis with a simple finger prick and to make adjustments to your diet accordingly.
Take the measurement at the same time every day. Your results and level of ketosis may be influenced by your habits and routine including sleep, stress levels, and exercise. Your goal for optimal weight loss is 1.5 mmol/L – 3.0 mmol/L. Don’t be discouraged if you fall under that.
Achieving an optimal result may take a few weeks depending on your regimen.
Discovering your carb limit requires diligence. Track all factors that may be influencing your progress and modify your behavior or adjust your portions of macronutrients to generate successful outcomes.
Stay On The Keto Journey
The keto diet is a door you can open to achieve your weight loss goal and improve your overall health. Keto is a high-fat diet that reduces levels of stored fat.
The key to success is restricting your carb intake and monitoring your ketone levels to understand what’s happening in your own body. Only you can determine the right number of carbs to achieve ketosis.
If you need help, guidance, or support along the way, reach out at any time to eat@thekelliekitchen.
Keto Accountability Program
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MEDICAL AND NUTRITION DISCLAIMER…Please note that I am not a medical or nutritional professional. I am simply recounting and sharing my own experiences on this blog. Nutritional break downs are done using a commercial nutrition calculator. Nothing I express here should be taken as medical advice and you should consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I provide nutritional information for my recipes simply as a courtesy to my readers, this should never be construed as medical advice.