Keto Carbs: What are they and how many can I have?
By now most of us understand that the keto diet depends on restricting the number of carbs you eat. The idea is similar to the Adkins Diet in that we now know that cutting back carbs will allow the body to burn fats, which means losing weight. What many of us are not sure about is what we mean when we talk about keto carbs.
Keto carbs are the carbs left over after you have figured in the other macronutrients you have eaten in a day. There is a simple formula to figure this out, which we will get to below. Keto carbs are the final number of carbs you can safely eat and still get the benefits of the keto diet.
The key part of the keto diet is to make sure your carb consumption remains sufficiently low to allow your body to start working with the metabolic processes that lead to weight loss. For the most part, this is a simple tally of the carbs you eat in a day. But when we start to figure in keto carbs, things get a little more complicated. However, keto carbs will work in your favor if you learn to pay attention to them.
What are keto carbs? How does the keto diet work? And just how many carbs can you eat in a day and still get the benefits of the keto diet? This guide will introduce you to keto carbs to make sure you get the most from the keto diet.
What are Keto Carbs?
When we start counting carbs one of the first things you will notice is just how many foods contain carbs. So many of the staples of our modern diet are either loaded with carbs or completely made of carbs. Pasta, for example, is nothing but carbs.
Once you figure out which foods are the high-carb foods, and how to avoid them, you can then start doing some higher math to figure out exactly how many carbs you eat in a day. This means learning to determine what is called net carbs, also called keto carbs.
Because things like fiber can offset carbs in terms of how your body uses these foods, you can calculate how many net or keto carbs you consume and stay on track with your keto diet. The simple formula for this is:
Net carbohydrates = Total Carbohydrates - fiber - sugar alcohols
To do this properly, you need to get in the habit of reading product labels. All the macronutrients for any packaged food are listed, along with quantities, on the product label.
Another factor that impacts keto carbs is your physical activity. People who exercise regularly or are otherwise physically active can eat more carbs while on the keto diet and stay within the range that will allow for ketosis. Typically, if you are active at least 4-5 times a week, you will be able to eat more carbs and remain within the bounds of the keto diet. On the other hand, if you tend to be sedentary, you will need to vastly reduce the number of carbs you eat. Keeping track of your net or keto carbs will become crucial.
There are quite a few foods that you can eat on the keto diet that are either low in carbs or help you stay within the bounds of keto carbs. These include:
Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate and cocoa are great alternatives to sugary chocolate bars. They are delicious and will satisfy your cravings for sweets. Dark chocolate is also high in antioxidants which are great for your health.
Low-carb vegetables. Several low-carb vegetables should become staples in your diet while on the keto diet. These include:
- Brussel’s sprouts
There are now many foods made from cauliflower that are delicious and satisfying carb alternatives. Cauliflower rice, for example, is widely available in supermarkets and can be eaten just like regular rice.
Avocadoes. These are another food staples for the keto diet. Avocadoes are high in vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of monounsaturated fat which is recommended for maintaining heart health.
Avocadoes also help the transition to the keto phase of the diet by providing important minerals that help with these metabolic processes.
How does the keto diet work?
The ketogenic diet relies on extremely low-carbohydrate intake and high fat intake to create specific conditions in the body that are conducive to losing weight. The goal is to force the metabolism to stop using the functional unit of carbohydrates called glycogen as an energy source to begin burning fats as an energy source.
When the metabolic systems are forced to burn fats for a source of energy, the body shifts into a process called ketosis. This is where the ketogenic diet gets its name. When the body begins the state known as ketosis, it necessarily burns fats to supply energy to the rest of the body. The net result is weight loss and a change in metabolism that often lead to sustained weight loss.
Because the ketogenic diet focuses on altering basic metabolic processes, it has emerged as one of the most effective ways to lose weight. Other diets typically rely on cutting down on specific macronutrients. The problem with these kinds of diets is that we always gain back the weight we lose as soon as we stop the diet. The keto diet, on the other hand, tends to produce long-term benefits because it is focused on metabolic processes rather than a simple change in macronutrient intake.
How many keto carbs can I have per day?
The general guidelines of net carbs while on the keto diet are between 15grams and 30 grams of net carbs. Again, your level of physical activity will affect these numbers. If you would like to indulge in more net carbs, you will need to increase your levels of exercise and physical activity.
Carbohydrates to Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet
Now that we have laid out the basics of which carbs you can consume and how many carbs you can consume, we should name the kinds of foods you need to avoid. Some foods are loaded with carbohydrates, and you need to avoid them altogether to remain on the keto diet and get the results.
Foods to avoid on the ketogenic diet include:
Bread and pasta. Bread and pasta are made of carbohydrates. While these are food staples for many people, these foods are so filled with carbs that you simply must avoid them completely. One cup of regular pasta contains 33 grams of carbohydrates and only two grams of fiber. Try substituting things like zucchini pasta for regular pasta to keep eating foods you like.
Beer and mixed drinks. These too are loaded with carbs. A typical can of beer contains 13 grams of carbs, and a margarita van has as many as 36 grams of carbs. The keto diet will demand that you leave these kinds of indulgences behind. That said, dry red or white wine will most often keep you within the carb limits of the keto diet.
Honey and syrups. Things like honey and maple syrup are just natural sugars. They taste great, but they offer little nutrition, and they will make it impossible to achieve your goals on the keto diet.
Sugary soda pop. Soda pop is nothing more than sugary soda water. They are made up almost entirely of processed sugars and provide no nutrition. A single can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of carbohydrates—enough to throw you out of the safe range for the keto diet. Try substituting things like naturally carbonated water with lemon or lime.
Ketchup, barbecue sauce, and other condiments. These items are also loaded with processed sugars and offer no nutrition. Many of them are made with processed high-fructose corn syrup. A 9-gram packet of ketchup or barbecue sauce is almost half carbs.
Lite or low-fat margarine. This may sound counter-intuitive to people who are used to more traditional diets. Lite and low-fat margarine are low in carbs, but they do not provide the natural fats your body requires to sustain the metabolic processes central to the keto diet.
Low-fat diet foods. These are usually some of the go-to foods while dieting, but you should avoid them for the same reasons you avoid margarine. Your body needs fats while on the keto diet, and low-fat diet foods do not provide the facts you need.
Best keto snacks
Good keto snacks require some planning and prep, but once you get in the habit of making these things, you will find it easy to stay full while making progress on the keto diet. Some great keto snack ideas include:
- Mini frittatas
- Caprese salad bites
- Caesar salad bites
- Shrimp and bell pepper skewers
- Salmon salad and celery
- Avocado egg salad
- Veggie sticks with guacamole
There are many recipes on the internet. Some simple searching will turn up snack ideas to suit any taste.
How To Boost Ketones Without Limiting Your Carbs
It is possible to get your body into ketosis without eliminating carbs. This requires some work, but it can be done. Some of these ideas are:
Ramp up physical activity. By drastically increasing your physical activity or exercise for a short time, you can cause your body to go into ketosis while still eating carbs. This is a short-term method and not meant to be used as a long-term weight-loss plan.
Intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can cause your body to achieve ketosis simply by eliminating nearly all nutrients from your diet. Many people do short, intermittent fasting as a method for detoxing the body, and this process can also allow ketosis to begin.
Increase your intake of healthy fats. By increasing the number of healthy fats you eat, you can get your body to begin to use these fats as an energy source. This is ketosis, and it will help you lose weight. Foods that contain healthy fats include fatty fish, olive oil, and avocado oil.
Keto Carbs FAQS
What are keto carbs? Once you figure out which foods are the high-carb foods, and how to avoid them, you can then start doing some higher math to figure out exactly how many carbs you eat in a day. This means learning to determine what is called net carbs, also called keto carbs.
How does the keto diet work? The ketogenic diet relies on extremely low-carbohydrate intake and high fat intake to create specific conditions in the body that are conducive to losing weight. The goal is to force the metabolism to stop using the functional unit of carbohydrates called glycogen as an energy source to begin burning fats as an energy source.
What are some of the main things to avoid on the keto diet? The main foods you should avoid are bread and pasta, beer and mixed drinks, sugary soda pop, and low-fat diet foods.
What are some good things to eat while on the keto diet? Dark chocolate, avocadoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini.
The ketogenic diet largely involves staying away from some of the high-carb foods listed above. Beyond that, you can eat most of the things you like. This is part of the appeal of the keto diet. As noted above, fresh juices and smoothies can be a great part of an effective and healthy keto diet.
Sparn Detox offers a wide selection of juices, smoothies, and salads that are entirely compatible with the detox diet. The added benefit of Sparn Detox juices and smoothies is formulated to help detox and cleanse your body.
In addition to sticking with the keto diet basics, you can also boost your health and restore the natural balance in your body with the detox packages available from Sparn Detox. These come in 3-day and 7-day packages to suit your needs.
Sparn Detox also offers vitamin and mineral supplements to help you stay healthy no matter your fitness or weight loss goals.