The ketogenic, or keto, diet limits the intake of carbohydrates and replaces them with fats. This puts the body into a state of ketosis, in which it uses fats instead of carbs for fuel.
A person on a keto diet eats foods that contain high levels of fats and very low levels of carbohydrates. The diet excludes a wide range of foods, including some fruits and vegetables, as well as bread, beans, and legumes.
This article looks into the number of carbs that the keto diet allows per day and which foods can help a person stay on track.
According to a
A female on a keto diet should consume 40–50 g of protein per day, while a male should consume 50–60 g of protein daily.
But different keto diets allow for different
- Standard ketogenic diet: Overall, 70% of a person’s intake is fat, 20% is protein, and 10% is carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet: There is a cycle of 5 low carb days and 2 high carb days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet: A person can eat more carbs around high intensity workouts.
- High protein ketogenic diet: Overall, 60% of a person’s intake is fat, 35% is protein, and 5% is carbs.
The standard keto diet has been the subject of most research, and experts who recommend ketogenic diets tend to be more likely to recommend this type.
For anyone on the keto diet, it is important to consider the number of “net carbs” in foods.
A person can calculate the number of net carbs in a serving by subtracting the amount of fiber from the total number of carbs. If the food is processed, a person should also subtract half the sugar alcohol content. These quantities are included on food labels.
We look into these terms and the calculation in more depth below:
These are all the carbs in a serving of food, including the type that the body cannot completely digest and transfer into glucose for energy.
The body is able to absorb these, and they are also called digestible carbs.
To calculate the number of net carbs in a serving, subtract the fiber content from the number of total carbs. If the food is processed, also subtract half the sugar alcohol content.
Learn more about calculating net carb values here.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest and so cannot transform into glucose to store and use for energy.
The amount of fiber is included in the number of total carbs, but not in the number of net carbs.
To calculate the number of net carbohydrates in processed foods, a person also needs to subtract half the amount of sugar alcohol from the number of total carbs.
The body does not digest all sugar alcohols, so these have less of an effect on blood sugar levels than regular sugar does.
Some examples of sugar alcohols include:
- hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
When a person consumes carbohydrates, the body turns those carbs into sugar, which cells use for energy.
Significantly limiting the intake of carbs causes the body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. As a result, glucose levels drop.
This forces the body to produce ketones, acids that appear in the blood and urine when the body burns fat. When the body uses fat as energy and releases ketones, this is called ketosis.
During ketosis, the body also
Learn more about how ketosis works.
The keto diet
How can someone with type 2 diabetes follow the keto diet safely?
Below, we explore how many net carbs various foods contain. This measurement excludes fiber and half the amount of sugar alcohols from the total number of carbs in the serving.
Fresh meat and fish
These foods tend to make up a large part of a keto diet, as they contain no carbohydrates but can be good sources of some nutrients.
Some examples of fresh meat and fish included in the keto diet include:
Learn how to incorporate meat into a diet for people with diabetes.
|Food||Net carbs per 100 g|
Cheese tends to be low in carbs but high in fat, making it a good choice for keto diets. For example, 100 g of cheddar cheese has 2.44 g of carbs and 34 g of fat.
|Food||Net carbs per 100 g|
Dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, are low in carbs and rich in magnesium, protein, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Fruits are a key part of any diet, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
However, some fruits are high in carbs, so doing research, including checking labels, is key.
Nuts and seeds
Wheat-based products, such as rice, pasta, and cereals, are high in carbs. Therefore, a person on a keto diet should avoid them.
Below, we look at how many net carbs are in 100 g of various other foods.
Nuts, beans, and legumes
Keeping the keto diet sustainable can be challenging because it is very restrictive. A person may become bored by what they can eat.
Moreover, the diet
Learn about possible side effects of the ketogenic diet here.
It can help to ease into the diet gradually.
For instance, a person might stop eating one type of food at a time, such as bread or juice that is high in carbs and sugar.
Whole, unprocessed foods
Aim to consume carbs from whole, unprocessed foods to benefit from their vitamins and minerals.
For people on the keto diet, regular health monitoring
For people with diabetes, it is also important to monitor for hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.
Overall, it is important to check with a doctor before making any significant changes to the diet, such as by switching to a ketogenic diet.
A person on the keto diet should limit their carb intake to up to
Wheat products and some fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes can be high in carbs, so checking food labels is key.
Before starting a keto diet, contact a doctor to make sure that the change will be safe.