If you’re on the keto diet, you know the goal is ketosis. This is when your body doesn’t have enough carbs to burn for energy so it burns fat for fuel. Restricting carbs is the fastest and safest way to achieve ketosis, so you should understand what your keto carb limit should be.
Carbs & Ketosis
First, let’s break down how carbs (or lack thereof) work with ketosis. Your body naturally runs your metabolism on glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar that is broken down from carbs. This simple sugar enters your body’s cells from the help of the hormone insulin, where mitochondria are used for the production of energy.
So, as long as the body is steadily getting an influx of glucose, it will
l use this as fuel. But if the body isn’t getting glucose, like if you are fasting or on a keto diet, then your body will make a metabolic shift. During this shift, your body will start using a ketone metabolism instead of glucose metabolism.
Ketone is molecules that work as a glucose alternative and is made up of Beta-hydroxybutyrate, Acetoacetate, and Acetone. When your body switches to a ketone metabolism there is more ketone and enhanced fat oxidation. This change becomes ketosis which is the goal of a ketogenic diet. During ketosis, your body burns fat to make ketones that help boost weight loss along with others.
The Keto Carb Limit
With most ketogenic diets it’s recommended that you only have 40 to 60 grams of carbs a day. This also includes carbs from fiber and dairy that should have a low GI (glycemic index) of less than 50. However, this can depend on the person, as with other carbs can be limited to 10 to 20g a day.
Carb intake on keto diets isn’t strictly determined, but it should still be low enough so you can achieve ketosis. Most keto dieters consume less than 50 grams of total carbs a day or 30 grams of net carbs a day.
It seems like this golden rule works for everyone. Keep in mind total carbs are all carbs in food, which includes fiber, while net carbs are carbs without fiber.
If you want to adjust your keto carb limit to meet specific needs and goals, you should use a Keto Calculator. This will measure your daily calorie expenditure to find out the number of carbs you should eat based on your activity levels and physique.
Athletes and people that are highly active can eat more carbs without getting off ketosis. This is because their muscles use up glycogen faster and at higher amounts than people that are less active.
Often athletes will do something called carb cycling, which keeps them on ketosis while following a keto diet. This includes periods where they do carb refeeding, which is up to 130 grams of carbs as well as periods of keto eating.
How To Eat For Ketosis
To meet your daily carb limit for ketosis, you want to eat the right kinds of carbs. Keto guidelines lay out some simple rules for you to follow to reach ketosis. Here are those rules.
Stick To Low-Carb, Low-GI Foods
Low-carb foods are foods like peppers, eggplants, leafy greens, cauliflower, and many others. These foods tend to have less than 10 grams of net carbs per servings. These foods also are low on the GI scale.
The GI scale is how food is ranked based on how it affects your blood sugar. The food with the lowest ranking is cheese which is a zero, while pure glucose has the highest at 100.
Avoid High-Carb, High-GI Foods
So if you want low-carb, low-GI foods, obviously you want to avoid high-carb, high-GI foods. High-carb foods are all grains, legumes, root vegetables, most fruit, corn, sugar, honey, and most sweeteners.
Incorporate Low-Carb Alternatives
To add some variety, you’ll want to now replace your high-carb kitchen staples with low-carb or no-carb counterparts. This includes using almond, coconut, and other nut flours instead of wheat flour.
You will also want to use coconut and almond milk as a low carb alternative to dairy milk. For desserts with fewer carbs, you can use non-nutritive sweeteners like erythritol and stevia.
You also need to eat a lot of fat on a keto diet to boost ketosis. This includes butter, fatty cuts of meat, sour cream, olive oil, and nuts, which your liver will use to make ketones.
If you lower your calorie intake, your body will use its own fat to make ketone bodies that boost weight loss.
Mind Your Protein Intake
Yes, eating fewer carbs on keto is key for ketosis, but your protein intake also matters. Your body can convert several amino acids from protein-rich food into glucose.
This process is known as gluconeogenesis which is a metabolic pathway that prevents you from getting hypoglycemia on a low-carb diet. At the same time, if you intake too much protein, you can get kicked off of ketosis, so it’s all about finding the balance.
You want to know how much protein boosts gluconeogenesis. A moderate intake of one gram a day per kilogram of body weight should be safe on keto as long as you are also getting enough fat (65-80 percent of your daily calories). If you go about this, it can throw you off ketosis, and the same is true if you eat high-carb foods.
You want to have a moderate intake of protein, which is also key to your functioning and health. While protein can repair and build tissue, it also is needed for the production of hormones, enzymes, and the immune system’s cells.
Proteins are basically nutrients that your body can’t live without, unlike carbs. Which is why you cannot cut protein out of your diet.
Get Your Carb Count Right
Now that you know your keto carb limit, start making these changes in your diet today. The keto diet can not only help you lose weight but also has many other benefits, as long as you’re doing the diet properly. Check out Ketoned Bodies’ organic & sustainably sourced pre-made keto meals menu for keto meals shipped fresh to your door. Just heat them up and eat! Also, be sure to check out why our ECO-friendly keto meals are different.