How To Decide Your Daily Carb Intake
If you simply remove the unhealthiest carb sources from your diet, such as refined wheat and added sugars, youll be well on your way to improved health.
However, to unlock the potential metabolic benefits of low carb diets, you also need to restrict other carb sources.
There are no scientific papers that explain exactly how to match carbohydrate intake to individual needs. The following sections discuss what some dietitians believe about carb intake and weight loss.
Youre Eating Too Much Dairy
Dairy is a low carb food that can cause problems for some people.
Dairy products are often high in protein. Protein, like carbs, can raise insulin levels, which encourages your body to store energy.
The amino acid composition of dairy protein makes it very good at spiking insulin. In fact, dairy proteins can spike insulin as much as white bread (
Its important to do the right kind of exercise.
A mixture of cardio and muscle building can be an effective combination:
- Weightlifting. Lifting weights can greatly improve hormone levels and increase muscle mass, which may help you lose fat and keep it off over the long term if you maintain your exercise regime.
- Interval training. High intensity intervals is an excellent form of cardio that boosts your metabolism and raises your levels of human growth hormone .
- Low intensity. Being consistently active and doing some low intensity exercise each day, including walking, can make a big difference.
How Low Can You Go
The generally recommended daily allowance or RDA for carbohydrates for healthy adults is 130 grams per day or 45 to 65 percent of calories. Technically, anything less than that would be considered low carb. However, many low-carb diets call for a daily carb intake significantly below the RDA. For example, the Atkins 20 and Atkins 40 diets include 20 and 40 grams of carbs daily, respectively.
A moderately active adult female needs about 2,000 calories per day. That means as little as 4 percent of her daily calories would come from carbs. Keep in mind that most low-carb diets only count net carbs, which is the total carbs minus dietary fiber and sugar alcohols.
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History Of The Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet has been around for decades, but has been surging in popularity.
Note that long-term, flexible dieting is just as good at helping your reach your weight loss and fitness goals as a keto diet.
It could be argued that flexible dieting is better as it is less restrictive and more sustainable.
However, a keto diet may be appropriate for someone looking for faster initial resultsÂ¹.
- Those training for fitness competitions.
- Those trying to lose weight for an event but have a shorter time window.
- Those who have tried flexible dieting but because of metabolic issues are unable to lose weight eating normal levels of carbohydrates.
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Putting It All Together Carbs For Ketosis
How many carbs on keto? Short answer: keep your total carbs below 35 grams.
But even if you eat no carbohydrates at all, you may not get into a deep ketosis if youre not eating the right amount of protein. The keto calculator is the simplest tool that you can use to help you figure out how much to eat of the three macronutrients for optimal results.
Once you are eating the right amount of carbs, protein, and fat, it may take up to 3 weeks for you to get into a deep ketosis. To speed up the process, you can use high-intensity exercise and intermittent fasting to deplete glycogen and low-intensity exercise and a 1-2 day fast to increase ketone levels more quickly. Try supplementing with ketone salts or MCT oil for an extra ketone boost.
These recommendations along with the recommendations in our beginners guide will work for almost everyone that is starting the ketogenic diet. Athletes and workout beginners, however, may benefit from increasing their carb intake at the right times. To find out how to do this properly, check out the targeted ketogenic diet and the cyclical ketogenic diet.
P.S. Have a look at the Keto Academy, our foolproof 30-day keto meal planner. It has all the tools, information, and recipes needed for you to succeed.
+ The food will always fit to your macros and cooking preferences!
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What Can I Use Instead Of Corn
Because sweet corn and most other maize types contain huge amounts of carbs, it is essential to look for some alternatives.
In this section, we will take a look at the corn alternatives that contain low amounts of carbs.
Cauliflower is a staple food and one of the keto-friendly veggies that you can use as an alternative to sweet corn.
This is a non-starchy vegetable that is now popularly used as a gluten-free crust for pizzas. Other low-carb vegetables are carrots, beets, and brussels sprouts.
One of the recipes you can make with this healthy food is cauliflower rice.
Although it does not come with a similar taste to rice and only provides a mild flavor, this low-carb recipe can still provide many health benefits.
One cup of this recipe can give around 3 grams of carbs. Truly, this meal can fit your low-carb diet!
To make it more flavorful, you can dip stir-fried cauliflower with a cheese sauce or creamy sauce.
If you choose keto-friendly veggies, you are promoting weight loss. Many keto dieters wish to achieve weight loss, right?
2) Corn extract
You can also consider corn extract when cooking as long as the product contains no added carbs.
The grams of carbs for this alternative are minimal and it is even better when you combine olive oil with it when using it for cooking.
Speaking of cooking, you can still use corn oil as this offers zero grams of carbs! If you ask, is corn keto-friendly?
The answer is corn flakes maybe not but corn oil is!
3) Almond flour
How Stress Impairs Ketosis And Decreases Your Keto Carb Limit
Stress increases the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the blood. It doesnt matter where the stress comes from , it all causes the same hormonal response.
One of the hormones that is released in response to stress is cortisol. Cortisol increases the activity of gluconeogenesis to raise blood sugar levels, while simultaneously decreasing insulin sensitivity. This combination of actions causes more blood sugar to hang out in the blood for longer periods of time, which shuts down the bodys need to produce ketones.
Cortisol, however, is not the enemy. It provides us with the boost of energy we need to start the day and power through exercise and stressful situations. Problems will only arise when the body rarely stops secreting cortisol because the mind is always stressing about something.
Not sure if stress is a problem for you? Heres a list of common stressors that can keep you from ketosis:
- Exercising too much
- Beating yourself up for past mistakes
- Overwhelming yourself with work and never taking breaks
As these and other stressors accumulate in your life, your stress hormones remain elevated throughout the day. This limits your ability to produce ketones, lose fat, and maintain muscle mass three things that you want to avoid at all costs on the ketogenic diet. No keto carb limit can save you from these adverse effects. You must take responsibility for mitigating your own stress.
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Keto Diet Vs Low Carb: Similarities
Both diets have the same objective in mind weight loss – but keto diets fall as a subcategory of a low carb diet, while low carb diets represent the umbrella that covers a large variety of other diets that it has under its belt, says Morgan.
Put simply, a low carb diet is very relative, and doesnt have specific amounts of carbs you should or shouldnt consume unless you are following a set diet plan like Atkins or Dukan. Going low carb also means youre probably not eating as much fat as you would if you were trying to force the body into ketosis, and youll be eating lots of filling lean proteins and vegetables to stay energized.
Both plans have some noticeable health benefits, too. A study in the BMJ revealed that going low carb was associated with higher states of remission among people with type 2 diabetes, while keto diets could improve heart health, according to another study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Further research published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience journal found that the keto diet helps prevent seizures and treat epilepsy, something it was first used for in the 1920s.
What Are Examples Of Good Carbs To Incorporate In A Low
- Brown rice, wild rice and basmati rice
- Whole-wheat bread, pasta, and flour
- Oats, barley, and quinoa
- Leafy greens
- Starchy vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin
- Beans and peas
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in almonds, walnuts, cashews, flaxseeds, hemp, and pumpkin seeds
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Why We Do What We Do How Many Carbs Is Considered Keto
This diet strategy works due to the fact that your body will continue to utilize fat shops for power when you are not eating. This leads to the pancreas maintaining your blood sugar level and insulin degrees on course, causing weight reduction and ketosis. The following time you go to the grocery store think of what you may be missing by not eating much healthier. Most individuals are eating much less meat, breads, as well as other junk foods. By changing your diet regimen one or two times a week you will quickly find yourself consuming much healthier as well as really feeling far better than you have in years.
The Takeaway Is There One Keto Carb Limit
In general, restricting your carb consumption to less than 35 grams of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs is what we recommend for the best results. This carb limit is ideal for almost everyone on the ketogenic diet.
It is also important to know that everyone has a unique carb limit that depends on many factors. Some of the factors that you have the most control over are:
- How keto adapted you are
- How much you exercise and what types of exercise you do
- Your stress levels
- How much protein you eat
Each one of these factors can either increase or decrease your carb limit, thus impairing or improving your ability to get into ketosis. This is why finding your own personal carb limit for keto is much more nuanced and complex than you think. However, with some experimentation, you can find out how many carbs you need to eat to stay in ketosis.
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Typical Low Carb Diets
In some commercial low-carb diets, the dieter first goes through an initiation phase during which carbohydrates are restricted to an extremely low level. During this initiation phase, which usually lasts about two weeks, the carbohydrate intake is around 20 grams per day. After the initiation phase, a weight loss phase with a daily carbohydrate intake of 60 to 90 grams is typical. The carbohydrate intake may raise further during the maintenance phase, after the dieter has achieved her weight loss goals, but it typically doesn’t rise above 100 to 150 grams per day as long as she remains on the diet.
How Keto Adaptation Changes Your Ketone Burning Abilities And Your Carb Limit
Everybody can adapt to burning ketones for fuel. In the process of keto adaptation, the mitochondria becomes more efficient and starts replicating itself. This provides most cells with the ability to use ketones as their primary energy source instead of sugar.
These adaptations allow the body to shift into ketosis more quickly than when you first started the ketogenic diet. Also as an added bonus the more keto adapted you are, the more carbs you will be able to eat while remaining in ketosis.
The best way to take advantage of keto adaptation is by staying on a strict ketogenic diet for at least 3 to 6 months before trying anything fancy with your carb intake.
There are also a couple of other factors that can improve or impair your bodys ability to adapt to the ketogenic diet that you should be aware of. These factors include exercising, eating the right amount of protein, and mitigating stress.
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Should I Be Concerned About The Keto Flu
If youre interested in the keto diet, you have probably read about the keto flu, one not-so-fun side effect. The keto flu is definitely real, says Keatley. Your body functions really well on carbohydrates thats what it was designed for. When it switches to fat burning, it becomes less efficient at making energy, he says. On keto, you have less energy available and you may feel sick and sluggish, kind of as if you have the flu. As your body naturally adjusts to this new way of drawing energy, you will come out of it. This may take a couple of weeks, says Keatley.
Cyclic Keto Diet For Bodybuilders And Pro Athletes
Its a common myth that you must eat carbs to gain muscle. So if youre looking to get ripped, you may be hesitant to start a keto diet and risk losing muscle in carb withdrawal.
But you can gain muscle on a keto diet it may just happen slower than youre used to.
On the bright side, you have less chance of gaining body fat and a higher likelihood of gaining pure muscle mass if you take the time and effort to follow the keto route.
CKD is the most advanced type of keto diet and delivers the highest muscle growth and long-lasting performance. Its typically used by bodybuilders and elite athletes who pay meticulous attention to their diet and watch every aspect of their workouts.
Why so serious?
Because CKD alternates strict keto days with serious carb-loading days in the same week.
On a standard keto day, youll consume around 50g of carbs timed around your workouts. Pretty normal, right?
Yet when youre on a high-carb day, which usually lasts anywhere from 2448 hours, youll bump your daily intake to 450600g of carbs .
Now things get complicated.
CKD will maximize your fat loss and lean muscle building, but its playing with fire if youre not burning those carbs immediately via intense, grueling workouts.
Since its so easy to go overboard with your carbs on CKD, your body will need to actively use all of them if you dont want to gain weight.
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What Is The Daily Recommended Amount Of Carbs
According to the American Dietary Guidelines, carbohydrates should make up 45%-65% of your total daily calories. For an average person with a normal weight for their height who consumes about 2,000 calories daily, this means that carbs account for about 900-1,300 daily calories.
Scientific research has shown that low-carb diets have some major health benefits, but they may not be the healthiest choice for everyone. People with hormonal disorders or those who take medications for diabetes may suffer from dangerously low sugar levels if they arent eating enough carbs.
Thats why its important to consult your doctor before starting a low-carb diet. Some dietitians prefer a patterned diet wherein they restrict low carbs almost completely during the initial dieting phase and then gradually increase carb content over time.
Dark Chocolate And Cocoa Powder
Check the label on these, as the amount of carbs depends on the type and how much you consume. Cocoa has been called a “superfruit” because it is rich in antioxidants, and dark chocolate contains flavanols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and keeping arteries healthy.
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How To Measure Ketone Levels
The most reliable way to measure your ketone levels is to use a blood ketone meter.
These devices work similarly to blood sugar meters, as you use a lancet and a blood testing strip to collect a small blood sample from your fingertip, which the device then reads.
Although your body produces three types of ketones, most blood ketone meters check for beta-hydroxybutyrate, which is the most prevalent type .
Theres some disagreement among researchers about the best time of day to test ketone levels. You should pick a time and consistently test at that time to get the most accurate readings.
When you last ate appears to be a major contributing factor to your ketone levels, so you may want to do your ketone testing 3 hours after eating a meal .
Can You Drink Alcohol On The Keto Diet
Yes. Even though there are carbs in alcohol, you can still drink it in limited amounts, says Keatley. Realize that on days when you do choose to consume alcohol, depending on what you choose, you may have to adjust your carbs from other sources. This may mean making tough decisions, like having a drink but skipping a small amount of fruit or Greek yogurt.
In general, the simpler the better: Spirits are the best choice , followed by wine. Your best bet is to stick with a half drink, says Keatley. Because of their lower alcohol percentage and other ingredients, beer and wine can eat up a lot of your carbs, and they don’t give back in terms of vitamins and minerals. Its a waste of your carbs, he says.
Heres what each alcoholic drink contains, carb-wise:
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