Are you wondering, "How many carbs should I eat?" Then you've come to the right place, my friend! We're going to find out.
How Many Carbs Should I Eat?
In a Standard American Diet, the guidelines state that carbs should account for 45-65% of your daily calories.
If a person eats 2,000 calories a day that could mean you need to eat in excess of 200-300 carbs per day. Yikes.
On a ketogenic diet or another low-carb diet, these numbers are significantly smaller.
Paleo sees carbs reduced to around 100-150g per day, and on keto, we go all the way down to 20-50 net carbs.
Net carbs are total carbs, minus any fiber or sugar alcohols. Net carbs give you a bit of a safety net on what keto foods you can eat.
These carbs are essential on a keto diet, as you are actually consuming more carbs than at face value.
But if the thought of eating 20 grams of net carbs a day still gives you sticker shock, you are not alone. The success of low carb diets comes from their all or nothing approach. Go big or go home, right?
Many people are surprised to learn that weight loss can be triggered by merely lowering the number of carbs you consume each day; this doesn’t have to be an extreme amount, even if you're on keto.
If your curiosity is piqued as to how other people are eating more carbs and staying in ketosis, stay tuned.
We’re going to look at the many variations to answer the question, “How many carbs should I eat?” to see what works for you.
Combining protein and high fat will also keep you feeling full and energized so you won’t experience pesky energy crashes at your desk, unwanted cravings for candy bars or that constant growl of hunger in your tummy.
We're going to show you how to get into ketosis easily, quickly, and without feeling deprived.
We’ll also give you some tips on when to taper on or off your carb allowance to help you find a feasible way to reach your health and fitness goals. So let’s get started.
Why Carbs are Important
When it comes to carbs, understanding what a carb is will give you an excellent basis to decide how many carbs should I eat.
Carbs, or carbohydrates, refers to one of the three macronutrients; and sits alongside fat and protein to make up your daily macronutrients.
These are the building blocks of what you eat and they contain micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
In a high-carb diet, you get energy from carbs. You may see college teams drinking high-sugar drinks or eating oranges on the football field. Carbs provide fast-acting energy.
The downside to carbs is that they often result in a sugar crash. All that energy build up combusts, and you’re left feeling cranky, tired, and deflated.
That’s not awesome, especially if you're in the middle of the day or still need to work out and get stuff done. You end up feeling irritable and will reach for sugary snacks for a fix. Many people quit their weight loss journey here.
The other major problem with carbs is that they trigger a very active insulin response. The more insulin your body calls upon, the more you come to depend on it.
This vicious cycle can lead to insulin resistance, which is the precursor to type 2 diabetes. And finally, as if that wasn’t bad enough, if you don’t use up all the carbs and energy, your body goes on to store it as fat.
Carbs are not the be all or end all of nutrition. Recently, they are no longer the superstar at the Olympics, NFL, NBA, and other elite tier athletes institutions.
A fourth macronutrient has been discovered and provides all of the energy-giving benefits of carbs (if not more so) without the downsides.
This is so much so that scientists have now discovered that this fourth macronutrient can even help reverse the symptoms of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and many other inflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s.
If this all sounds too good to be true, then you may be surprised to learn of this incredible new energy source standing behind the trendy ketogenic diet.
The Fourth Macronutrient
To answer “how many carbs should I eat?” we first want you to ask, “Should I even be eating carbs?”
For many people, carbs can trigger all kinds of food sensitivities, allergies, and insulin responses that can impact your health.
Instead, it might be better to look at what energy sources are available, and which ones you can use freely to fuel your body.
The fourth macronutrient that is now being highly regarded by the American Defense Military is ketone bodies; these are naturally made inside the body, but they can also be made in a lab and taken as a keto supplement.
Ketone bodies are like a super glamorous version of carbs and do everything carbs do but with none of the downsides.
- You can’t overeat ketones; you will eliminate them.
- You can’t store ketones as body fat - again, they are eliminated.
- There are no sugar-crashes or mood swings.
With ketone bodies, your body functions merely as it ought to and when combined with a keto diet, can help rebalance your body back to good health.
Ketone bodies are made when you restrict your carbs to less than 20 net grams per day; in doing so, your body signals an energy demand and then will metabolize fat into fuel.
When you eat carbs, your body must burn away all of those carbs before it can think about burning fat. Wouldn’t you much rather be burning fat right at the beginning? On a carb based diet, the fat loss never happens where you want it.
If you have stubborn belly fat, thighs, or hips, then you know what we’re talking about - on keto, your metabolism hunts down these stubborn fats as important energy-giving reserves.
The rush of energy you get from ketones is better than coffee. Many people even feel they need to sleep less and feel more “on” all the time.
Plus, unlike coffee, you won’t crash into a slump - it simply keeps going so long as you are in ketosis. So, what’s ketosis? Great question.
Ketosis is the opposite of eating on the Standard American Diet. Ketosis is when you turn your body into a fat-blasting machine. You will use your body fat for energy - instead of cakes, chips, and pizza.
Carb Range for Ketosis
Getting into ketosis is pretty simple. At its core, if you eat less than 20 net gram carbs per day, you can pretty much assume you are there.
The problem comes from the fact that people who have eaten a high-carb diet want the foods they’re used to more than their desire to get into ketosis. But did you know there are ways around this without lowering your carbs so drastically?
As mentioned above, halving the number of carbs you usually eat could help you to lose some weight.
At Konscious Keto, we recommend tapering off carbs to prevent keto flu and feeling yuck; this is a symptom that your body has been shocked by a sudden dietary change.
When you go slow, you also create more long-term and sustainable choices. The ultimate goal is to make these changes until you find a pace of fat loss that works for you.
If you want a faster fat loss, we have some super easy and tasty ways for you to cheat the system.
Accelerate Fat Loss
Once you enter ketosis, things begin to change. Physically, your metabolism switches from burning glucose and carbs to producing and burning ketone bodies.
This is a massive and incredibly unique shift and enables your body to produce staggering results. If you saw how fast Kim Kardashian bounced back from her latest pregnancy, you’ll know that keto works.
When entering a fat burning state, you are consuming less than 20 net carbs per day. This will get you into ketosis within a few days or a week.
Gain More Energy
You can speed this process up by drinking an exogenous ketone supplement, like Keto Activate with a triple-mineral blend of essential keto nutrients.
However, ketosis isn’t the end of the story. Ketosis is a metabolic rate; anyone can get into ketosis. What you want is to become fat-adapted.
This is when you can eat carbs and sugar, and your body rejects them naturally, in favor of healthy fats.
When people start a keto diet, they can experience the keto flu. This is a sign your body has not become fat adapted and is struggling to find fat. Over time, your body becomes incredibly adept at finding fat.
So much so that you can go back to eating high-carb on some days and still not get kicked out of ketosis.
How to Eat More Carbs on Keto
It's worth mentioning why you would want to eat more carbs on keto. If ketones are so awesome, why don't we recommend quitting carbs altogether?
Well, life isn't so black and white. We love many keto foods, and yes, while you can modify recipes to suit, sometimes you can go over your carbs just from the number of carbs in green veggies.
Having a higher carb count enables you to pick and choose from more whole foods and fruits, and other foods, making keto more sustainable.
People going all in can shock their body, feel awful, and then give up as they don't get the intended benefits.
Stick with us to see the three ways you can be in ketosis and enjoy the benefits without having to go all-in.
1. Get Fat-Adapted
This term is often used synonymously with keto-adaptation and commonly used to describe low-carb adapted athletes. If you are fat-adapted, it implies you have restricted carbs enough to induce an increase in fat burning.
Becoming fat-adapted is the ultimate goal of the keto diet. You want your body to learn to look for fat, regardless of what you feed it.
Right now, there’s a good chance you are carb-adapted, so even in ketosis, if you eat some sugar or carbs in the first few weeks, it can easily knock you out and leave you feeling bloated and sluggish.
Within the first year of being in ketosis, fat-adaptation occurs, and this is when you can start to increase your carbs per day. This enables you to eat more whole foods and veggies, and enjoy occasional treats.
Monitor how you feel when adding in new foods. Over time you will be able to see what foods work for you and enable your body to burn fat while eating all kinds of delicious foods.
You are a sugar-burner if you answer yes:
- Do you experience a “hangry” sensation (i.e., irritability when you’re hungry) when you go more than 4-6 hours without eating?
- Do you snack between meals, throughout the day and into the evening?
- Are you having trouble feeling full or satiated after meals? (If you’re unsure, the next question will help you answer both)
- Do you crave something sweet after meals despite feeling uncomfortable or bloated?
- Do you prefer carb- and sugar-rich foods like bread, pasta, cookies or ice cream?
- Do you struggle to lose weight around your midsection?
This means you are more prone to cravings, weight fluctuations, and health ailments. We recommend you swap to a different fuel source to help balance your metabolism and give you a more productive fuel source, like ketones.
This leads us to another method of getting into ketosis without going all-in.
This way is becoming increasingly more popular, especially with people who had success on a keto diet but whose fat loss stalled.
Over time, usually around the 5-month mark, the body becomes used to being fat-adapted and is prone to being lazy. Throwing in a high-carb day can make keto more challenging again for your body and encourage it to burn fat.
These high-carb days are not “cheat days.” Every day should feel like a cheat day on keto. This is simply a day where you can eat whole food and more diverse veggies for one day. You will want to lower your fat on this day also.
For many people, adding in a high carb day once or twice a week, or once or twice every other week, is a great way to sustain ketosis and moderate weight gain or loss.
If you want to stay at a specific weight, add high-carb days until you’re happy with the results. This whole food approach is going to do your body a lot of favors and generally overrides the need to stay under 20 grams of net carbs per day as a long-term choice.
For those seeking fat loss, however, keep these days to a minimum as a tool to use when you are in a stall. Note: a stall is when there are no changes after 4-6 weeks.
3. Chocolate Ketones
Finally, we think we've saved the best for last; chocolate ketones. These gems are a great support tool for keto. If you work out, get keto flu or want more energy to feel good and look your best, ketones are a fantastic tool.
Exogenous ketones are the same type of ketones made in your body, and when you are transitioning into keto, adding more ketones will give you more energy and help you feel amazing.
You can use exogenous ketones to alleviate keto flu, or you can take them as needed for more energy. We love to use them as a ketogenic pre-workout in place of high-carb energy drinks.
Chocolate ketones will give you the same boost for the gym, and enable athletes and high performers the chance to go above and beyond in ketosis.
All in all, we feel that carbs have been discriminated against a little bit in favor of keto. While we do recommend eating fewer carbs generally to achieve a better state of health, there is more eat play here than how many carbs you eat.
Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve? How important is it you lose the fat fast? Are you athletic, do you want to moderate your weight or even gain some weight?
Understanding your health and fitness goals and what the ketogenic diet can do for you will enable you to make sound choices.
You may be surprised to learn many people go on to eat 100 grams of carbs per day without getting kicked out of ketosis by using these tips.
If you struggle to get in and out of ketosis, chocolate ketones can really be a saving grace. So what do you think? Are you in?
Drop us a comment below or join us on our Facebook Group to get more keto support and recipes.