- How much food is 20 or 50 grams of carbs?
- This Keto Carbohydrate Food Chart Shows You What 20g of Net Carbs Looks Like
- What is the keto diet?
- Figuring out your macros
- Portion Control – What Does 30g Carbs Look Like?
- What Does 30g Carbs Look Like?
- How To Start Low-Carb – for beginners
- What 200 Grams of Carbs Looks Like
- Carbohydrates in Brown, White, and Wild Rice: Good vs. Bad Carbs
- How to Calculate How Many Grams of Carbs Per Day
- Your Keto Carb Limit: Which Carbs Are Best?
- What Does 30 Grams of Carbs Look Like?
- Grains and Sugars
- 30 Grams of Carbs in an Infographic
- How Many Grams of Carbs Varies According to Your Goals
- What Is Your Individual Carb Limit on a Keto Diet?
- Carb Limits for Keto Beginners
- How to Test Your Carb Limit
- Step-By-Step Guide to Testing Your Carb Limit
- The Best Time to Test
- Factors That Can Influence Your Daily Carb Limit
How much food is 20 or 50 grams of carbs?
To go into ketosis, and stay there, most people need to eat fewer than 20 net grams of carbs each day. What does that look like on a plate? On this page your find some simple pictures.
What looks more appetizing and filling: a plate overflowing with above ground vegetables, or a half of a hamburger bun – naked?
It is easy to see how consuming 20 grams of vegetables, even with the sweet taste of cherry tomatoes or sweet peppers, is not only very satisfying but also chock full of vitamins and minerals. See our keto vegetables guide.
But that naked half bun? Add the other half, the ketchup, and other fixings and soon it is easy to see that you will be well over your daily carb count. That is why regular bread is never a recommended part of a keto diet. It is pretty much impossible to eat it and stay below 20 grams of carbs. We do have recipes, however, for delicious keto breads that have much lower grams of carbs.
High carb foods: here’s 20 grams
So what does 20 grams of carbs look like for potatoes, pasta, rice or bread?
It is one potato, a small serving of pasta (about 1/2 cup), about 1/2 cup of white rice, and that half bun.
It won’t take much of any of these foods to exceed your daily carb limit and take you out of ketosis.
What to eat instead? Try cauliflower – riced, mashed, au gratin and many other ways — which makes a great replacement for rice or potatoes. For bread replacements, try making any of Diet Doctor’s delicious bread and cracker recipes. Craving a sauce on a bed of pasta? We have keto pasta recipes or just spiralize a zucchini for a fresh veggie take on a noodle bed for a zesty sauce.
Low-carb food: here’s 20 grams
Compare that half of a hamburger bun or miserly portion of pasta to 20 grams of various vegetables, nuts and berries.
Betcha can’t eat 20 grams of spinach in one go! That plate on the bottom right isn’t even 20 grams, it is about 5! It was all we could fit on the plate. Spinach has 1.4 grams of carbs in 100 grams of leaves. You would have to eat about three pounds (1.5 kilos) of spinach to get to 20 grams.
Berries and nuts do have more grams of carbs per serving, so be careful:, they can add up to over 20 grams if you munch mindlessly.
Keto fruits and berries guide
Keto nuts guide
Moderate low carb eating: What does 50 grams look like?
If you occasionally want to come out of ketosis, or “carb up”, eating 50 grams of carbs means you’re still staying relatively low carb.
Here’s 50 grams of refined or higher carb foods: three slices of bread, three potatoes, a cup of rice and a cup of pasta.
50 grams of carbs in low-carb foods
Here’s 50 grams of lower carb foods like vegetables, nuts and berries. That a lot of food on a plate.
This Keto Carbohydrate Food Chart Shows You What 20g of Net Carbs Looks Like
You’ve started the high-fat, low-carb keto diet and you’re excited to see results (rapid weight loss and more energy? Yes, please!). You know you’re allowed roughly 20g of net carbs a day, give or take depending on your body. But what does that amount of carbs look like on your plate? Is it one sweet potato; a cup of blueberries; two bunches of spinach? Sometimes it helps to see things visually. Here’s a handy carbohydrate food chart to help guide you. But first, a quick primer on the keto diet, macronutrients, and total carbs versus net carbs.
RELATED: Get started on keto with this Keto Recipes for Beginners Cookbook and Cyclical Keto Meal Plan
What is the keto diet?
When you’re on the keto diet, you eat loads of fat (75% of your daily calories), a fair amount of protein (20%), and very few carbs (less than 5%). By restricting carbs, you’re changing the way your body burns energy. Instead of using glucose, your body switches to burning fat for fuel. This puts you into ketosis — when your liver converts fatty acids into molecules called ketones to use as energy. Burning fat for fuel carries enormous benefits — it accelerates weight loss, reduces inflammation, and boosts energy. Learn more about the keto diet with this keto beginner’s guide.
RELATED: Keto Results: How to Get More Out of Your Keto Diet
Figuring out your macros
When on keto, you eat a certain amount of fat, protein, and carbs. Together these are known as macronutrients (aka macros). When you have a goal, be it weight loss or to build muscle, counting your macros is an important piece of the puzzle.
RELATED: We Tested the Five Best Food Tracker Apps. Here’s the Best Macro Calculator for Keto
To achieve and remain in ketosis, you need to keep your total carb intake around the 30g mark, and your net carb intake around 20g. Net carbs are the carbohydrates in food that your body can digest and use for fuel. To calculate net carbs, you take a food’s total carb amount and subtract fiber and sugar alcohols. Learn more about net carbs and how to calculate them here.
You may need a little more than 20g of net carbs, depending on your body. Experiment and see what works best for you. Learn more here about finding your ideal carb intake. On the Bulletproof Diet, certain strategies, like drinking Bulletproof Coffee and Brain Octane Oil and doing intermittent fasting lets you push that number up to 35g of net carbs a day, while staying in ketosis.
This keto carbohydrate food chart looks at what 20g of net carbs looks like when it comes to your favorite keto vegetables, starch, fruit, and fat (that are also Bulletproof-approved).
These amounts are for the foods in their raw form, so just be mindful if cooking them. You can check out the Bulletproof Diet cooking roadmap for guidance on how best to cook various foods to make sure they retain their nutrient value.
Note: In some instances, the figures you see are rounded-off to the nearest ten.
If you are worried about keto portion control – what does 30g carbs look like? For anyone who is keto, this 30g will exceed your daily allowance.
For many of you, especially if you are a low-carb beginner, will be shocked to see how many carbs are in everyday foods. Read on to learn how to cut back, how to start, and what to enjoy.
Portion Control – What Does 30g Carbs Look Like?
In this article you will find:
- How many carbs should you enjoy each day?
- How do everyday carbs affect your blood sugars?
- What does 30g carbs look like?
- How to start low-carb – for beginners
Portion Control – how many carbs should you enjoy each day?
There are no official guidelines, but most consider the following levels of low-carb and their carb limits.
- MODERATE LOW-CARB – less than 100g net carbs per day – even reducing carbs (especially ultra-processed junk carbs) has many health benefits.
- LOW-CARB – less than 50g net carbs per day – a good place for most people to aim for
- KETO – less than 20g net carbs per day – for those who want to really harness the health benefits of restricting carbs even further
So how many carbs should YOU be enjoying each day? It all depends on where you are now. Are you hooked on junk food and sugar? Are you insulin resistant? If yes, then you may want to go stepwise and begin by simply reducing your carbs, to begin with.
It also depends on your health conditions and health goals. Those of you who are overweight and have blood sugar control issues may want to have a different level of carbohydrate restriction to those who are in the healthy weight range, active and are insulin sensitive.
How Do Everyday Carbs Affect Your Blood Sugars?
If you have ever wondered what everyday foods do to your blood sugars, just take a look at the charts below.
You probably understand that sugar and candy raise blood sugars, but what about wholegrain bread? Porridge? Brown rice?
Once you understand that ALL digestible carbohydrates (so that doesn’t include insoluble fibre) are turned into sugar in the blood, you will realise how many daily foods – yes, even the healthy whole grains – impact our sugar levels which results in many of us to have chronic high blood sugars without realising it.
To see all the infographics –
What Does 30g Carbs Look Like?
When you realise how high carb so many foods are, you can easily see which foods to avoid, and which foods are better to enjoy.
Who wants 0.8 of a pancake or 1.8 dates (which are sugar bombs BTW) when instead you could have 69 cups of spinach or 60 medium eggs?
Now, I’m not saying you would want to eat 69 cups of spinach, but this handy carbs in food chart is simply to guide you to make better choices and better portion control.
The high-carb junk food shown has almost no nutritional value, they give you empty calories and adds to the chronic high blood sugars that so many people live with day in, day out.
Now look at the nutrient dense low-carb foods along the bottom row, and you can easily see how you could have a filling nutritious meal AND stable blood sugars. Each meal you enjoy that is low-carb nutrient dense, crowds out the junk food from your day.
How To Start Low-Carb – for beginners
After seeing the images above, and realising how high-carb everyday foods are, you may be contemplating starting low-carb.
My advice is always to start slowly. Cut out the most obvious places that sugar and carb lurk and the worst offending items.
It may seem like a daunting task when you begin, but each little step brings you closer to living on real food, whole food and unprocessed food that is lower in carbs.
If you would like to start, READ THIS PAGE. It has all the resources you’ll need.
- How to start a low-carb diet
- A FREE 1-week low-carb challenge
- Shopping lists
- The basics
- Follow the “Stepwise approach”
- What to eat/avoid/sometimes foods
- Low-carb easy healthy recipes.
What 200 Grams of Carbs Looks Like
Yesterday I posted about “carb rinsing” and included info about why we need carbs and about how much keeps us in balance. For someone who needs 1,600 calories a day with a fairly low activity level about 45-50% should come from carbs. That’s roughly 200 grams of carbs daily. What does that look like? Here’s a sample menu:
Half cup cooked oats – 14 g, 2 as fiber
Topped with 1 cup sliced strawberries – 12 g, 4 as fiber
And 2 Tbsp sliced almonds – 3 g, 2 as fiber
1 cup organic vanilla soy milk – 14 g, 3 as fiber
2 soft whole corn tortillas – 20 g, 2 as fiber
Filled with half cup black beans – 19, 5 as fiber
And quarter cup each chopped onion, red pepper, spinach and tomato – 9 g, 1 as fiber
Sauteed in 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil – 0 g
1 medium apple – 22, 5 as fiber
15 small whole grain crackers – 22 g, 2 as fiber
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter to dip or spread– 6 g, 2 as fiber
1 cup organic vanilla soy milk – 14 g, 3 as fiber
2 cups baby lettuce – 3 g, 1 as fiber
Tossed in 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar – 5 g
Topped with half cup cooked, chilled lentils – 17 g, 9 as fiber
Half cup cooked, chilled wild rice – 18, 2 as fiber
Quarter cup sliced Hass avocado – 3 g, 2 as fiber
Total carbs: 201 g, 45 as fiber
In contrast a 20 oz bottle of cola and 3 sandwich cookies pack 100 grams of carbs with zero as fiber.
Do these amounts surprise you? Do you think you eat more or less? Please share your thoughts!
Also, want to know why I singled out fiber? I’ll explain in tomorrow’s post!
Low-carb diets have been popular ever since the Atkins diet became the go-to for weight loss in the early 2000s. While some have questioned whether the high-protein and fat diet is actually healthy, a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein actually can be very beneficial for weight loss and overall wellbeing.
Read: Can Your Diet Prevent Alzheimer’s? 2 Healthy Eating Plans To Battle Dementia
Dietitian Jon Leech discusses why you may want to consider cutting carbs in this video from Authority Nutrition. He explains that by reducing carbs, many dieters won’t need to count calories as you’ll likely be less hungry by replacing sugar and starches, such as breads and pasta, with more satiating protein and fat. The average person eats more than 200 grams of carbohydrates per day, so low-carb diets would be well below that.
A low-carb diet can help eliminate the need to count calories.
Leech explains that a moderate intake of carbohydrates, about 100 to 150 grams per day, are recommended for lean and active people who simply want to maintain weight. It is possible to lose weight the dietitian explains, however that would involve counting calories or monitoring portions.
If you’re looking to drop weight, Leech advises aiming for 50 to 100 grams of carbs a day. This would include a diet full of vegetables, about two pieces of fruit and only minimal amounts of starchy carbs like potatoes. You’ll have to cut junk food and snacks out, but those are easy wasy to eliminate carbs and sugar.
Extreme dieters can go as low as 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. Leech says that your body goes into ketosis when you eat fewer than 50 grams per day. This is the process by which your energy is supplied by ketone bodies and this really helps with weight loss. However, you’ll have to be more strict on this diet and eliminate fruit, except berries, and only eat vegetables low in carbs.
Read: Why Eggs Are The One Weight Loss Food Every Dieter Should Eat
While many turn to low carb as a way to lose weight, the diet can actually help improve your overall health. By eliminating processed junk food, eating high-fiber carbs and choosing lean meats, fish, eggs, full-fat dairy and vegetables, you’ll have a heart-healthy diet that wards off diseases. But if you are looking to lose weight, low carb could be helpful if other diets have failed.
Diet Trends 2017: How The Popular 80/10/10 Eating Plan Affects Weight Loss, Blood Sugar
5 Most Diet-Friendly Foods You Should Eat, From Chia Seeds To Soup
Carbohydrates in Brown, White, and Wild Rice: Good vs. Bad Carbs
Total carbs: 52 grams (one cup, long-grain cooked rice)
Brown rice is the go-to rice in some health food circles since it’s considered to be more nutritious. Brown rice is a whole grain and has more fiber than white rice. It’s also a great source of magnesium and selenium. It may help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, and achieve an ideal body weight. Depending on the type, it may taste nutty, aromatic, or sweet.
Total carbs: 53 grams (one cup, short-grain, cooked)
White rice is the most popular type of rice and might be the one most used. The processing white rice undergoes depletes it of some of its fiber, vitamin, and minerals. But some types of white rice are enriched with additional nutrients. It’s still a popular choice across the board.
Total carbs: 35 grams (one cup, cooked)
Wild rice is actually the grain of four different species of grass. Though technically it’s not a rice, it’s commonly referred to as one for practical purposes. Its chewy texture has an earthy, nutty flavor that many find appealing. Wild rice is also rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
Total carbs: 34 grams (one cup, cooked)
Black rice has a distinct texture and sometimes turns purple once cooked. It’s full of fiber and contains iron, protein, and antioxidants. It’s often used in dessert dishes since some types are slightly sweet. You can experiment using black rice in a variety of dishes.
Total carbs: 45 grams (one cup, cooked)
Red rice is another nutritious choice that also has a lot of fiber. Many people enjoy its nutty taste and chewy texture. However, the flavor of red rice can be quite complex. You may find its color an aesthetic enhancement to certain dishes.
SummaryDifferent types of rice can be similar in carb content, but quite different in nutrient content. White rice is the least nutritious because the processing it undergoes strips it of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Examples of food portions showing grams of carbohydrates can be helpful for learning how to count carbs in diabetes care. Here we have sample plates with 20 gm carb servings per meal to help you visualize and learn portion sizes.
Does your meal plan call for 20 gm carbohydrate meals or maybe you are just trying to get a handle on how to move from your current diet to a more “carb aware” lifestyle? Here’s a page of 20 gm carb pics and examples of carbohydrates to help people new to the diabetes diet and carb counting visualize what this looks like.
Most people who are new to diabetes want to know how to include some of their favorite foods in their diet, so I have chosen to include a wide variety of foods such as mac & cheese, whipped potatoes and white bread. Hopefully, over time, you will be able to fine-tune your diet to include less of these “processed” carbs and more “whole food”carbs (such as peas, beans, grains, sweet potatoes, etc) that provide maximum nutrition- based on your health care providers recommendations.
Here’s an interesting article that suggests use of ultra processed foods is linked to risk of type 2 diabetes
*Please keep in mind the following information related to carb counts of non-starchy vegetables according to the American Diabetes Association – Generally, non-starchy vegetables have about 5 grams of carbohydrate in ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Most of the carbohydrate is fiber so unless you eat more than 1 cup of cooked or 2 cups of raw at a time, you may not need to count the carbohydrates from the non-starchy vegetables. – See more at the ADA’s article about non-starchy vegetables.Here is the ADA’s article on Carb Counting which states “Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, and cauliflower have very little carbohydrate and minimal impact on your blood glucose.”
Measuring your food at home will help you with proper portion control when you eat out. Continue to check this page as I will be adding examples of carbohydrates and new photos often.
As always, refer to your health care provider’s recommendations regarding the proper amount of carbs you need at each meal. These pics are simply a way to visualize 20gm carb- you may need more or less carbs depending upon various factors. Carbohydrate requirements are highly individualized so you will want to work with your health care team for best results.
Checking your glucose levels after meals (per your health care provider’s recs) will provide you with the best information about specific foods to eat and foods to avoid. Carb counts are based on ADA published carb counts and Nutribase nutrition software.
What does 20gm carb look like? Fish Veracruz- 0gm carb, 2/3 cup mashed potatoes- 20gm carb, Roasted Asparagus- 0gm carb (see note above)
What does 20gm carb look like? 5oz. roasted pork tenderloin– 0gm carb, 1/2 cup creamed spinach- 0gm carb (see note above), 2/3 cup sweet potato hash-20gm carb
What does 20gm carb look like? 3 oz. lightly breaded baked pork chop-8gm carb, 1/2 cup green beans-0gm carb (see note above), 1/2 mexican cornbread muffin-12gm carb
What does 20gm carb look like? 5 oz Greek Yogurt Skillet Roasted Chicken -1gm carb, 5 oz. roasted potatoes-20gm carb, roasted veggies- negligible carbs
What does 20gm carb look like? Sausage,Ham & Egg Breakfast Burrito- Small flour tortilla -17gm carb , 2 Tbsp Salsa- 3gm carb
Cornflake chicken 3 oz. – 7 gm carb, 1/2 cup skillet sweet potatoes-15gm carb,1/2 cup roasted asparagus(see above)- 0gm carb
What Does 20gm of Carbohydrate Look Like?3 oz. Dry Rub BBQ Chicken Bake 0 gm carb, small (1/2 cup) baked Sweet Potato-20gm carb, Herb Roasted Squash (see note above) 0 gm carb, Easy Mushrooms (see note above) 0gm carb
3 oz. grilled steak = 0gm carb, Salad (see above note) = 0gm carb, salad dressing- 3gm carb, 1/2 hamburger bun = 15gm carb
3 oz roasted Pork Loin = 0gm carb, 1/2 cup Corn = 17gm, Salad (see note above) = 0gm carb, Salad Dressing= 2gm
3 oz. Meatloaf = 7 gm carb, 1/2 cup Peas = 15gm carb, 1/2 cup Green Beans (see note above) = 0gm carb
5 oz. steamed shrimp= 0 gm carb, Salad(see note above) = 0gm carb, small slice French Bread = 15gm, salad dressing- 3 gm carb
The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet — but just how many grams of carbs per day is considered low enough?
Most people following a ketogenic diet will consume just 5-10% of calories from carbohydrates each day. If you’re eating 2,000 calories per day, this breaks down to 25–50 grams of carbs per day. (Don’t worry, you’ll dive into the math below).
This guide will help you determine how many grams of carbs per day to consume on keto. You’ll also learn how these amounts translate into various food sources (both good and bad).
Birthday Cake Keto Bars are here!
The answer to your sweet tooth. 17g of fat, 3g of net carbs, incredibly delicious.
But before you go any further, here’s one thing you should understand: Every human body is different. While 30 grams of carbs per day is a good rule of thumb for most people, the truth is that age, activity level, weight loss goals, and body composition play a role in determining how many carbs you can consume and stay in ketosis.
How to Calculate How Many Grams of Carbs Per Day
Knowing how many grams of carbs to eat per day on keto can be tough. Why? Because keto goes directly against the teachings of the Standard American Diet. In fact, the USDA and most dietitians advocate for a high-carb, low-fat diet to prevent weight gain, suggesting that 45-65% of total calories should come from carbohydrates.
On keto, you’re trying to transition to a fat burning metabolic state where you burn ketones — rather than glucose — as your body’s primary energy source. To do this, you’ll need to eat large amounts of fat, switch to moderate protein intake, and keep your daily carb intake to an absolute minimum.
To enter (and remain) in ketosis, the macronutrient guidelines for the average person include:
- 5-10% of calories from carbs
- 20-25% from protein
- 70-75%, or remaining calories from fat
The Difference Between Total Carbohydrates and Net Carbs
Here’s an important thing to note: On keto, you will always calculate your net carbs — not your total carbs — for the day.
Your net carb intake is equal to the total amount of carbs you consume (in grams), minus the grams of dietary fiber. Net carbs are calculated because dietary fiber does not raise your blood glucose levels (blood sugar) — which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid on keto.
Calculating Carbs By Hand
Unfortunately, knowing daily macro percentages isn’t too useful when you’re reading a nutrition label. To help calculate your macros (i.e. protein, fat, and carb intake), try translating these percentages into grams.
One gram of carbohydrates is equal to four calories, while one gram of protein and fat provides four and nine calories, respectively.
If you plan to consume 5% of your daily calories from carbohydrates, you would multiply 2,000 by .05, to get 100 calories per day. To translate into grams, divide 100 by 4, for 25 calories per day.
If your carbohydrate intake equals 10% of your daily calories, the same calculations would result in 50 grams of carbs per day.
Calculating Carbs Through the Keto Macro Calculator
The amount of carbohydrates you consume will be impacted by your age, activity level, and even bodyweight. To calculate how many macros you should consume, be sure to use the keto macro calculator for the most accurate results. Use the keto calculator to enter your information and calculate your macros.
Your Keto Carb Limit: Which Carbs Are Best?
If you’re eating just 25-50 grams of carbs per day, you’ll want to make those carbs count.
Carbohydrates include sugar, starch, and dietary fiber. Carbohydrates are found in dairy products, grains such as bread, white rice, and quinoa, and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes as well as green, leafy vegetables.
Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs: The Keto vs. SAD Debate
When it comes to good carbs and bad carbs, once again keto takes a different approach than most nutritionists. The Standard American Diet (SAD) encourages people to eat complex carbohydrates, such as those found in lentils, beans, brown rice, whole grains, and starchy vegetables.
They tell people to veer away from simple sugars (or “bad carbs”) found in white rice, white bread, and processed snack foods, as most of the nutrition has been stripped away.
Most foods considered “healthy carbs” by USDA dietetics are eliminated on keto, as they spike your insulin levels (thereby kicking you out of a ketogenic state).
A keto meal plan consists of carbs that rank low on the glycemic index — a tool measuring how much a particular food raises blood sugar levels.
On keto, you’ll consume whole foods that rank very low on the glycemic index (and have very low net carb counts), including green, leafy veggies, healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and MCT oil, and high-quality protein.
What Does 30 Grams of Carbs Look Like?
As stated earlier, most keto dieters consume between 25-50 grams of carbs per day when following a 2,000-calorie diet. For most people, the average seems to be 30 grams of net carbs per day. But what does 30 grams of carbs actually look like?
Below, you’ll find examples of how to hit your 30 gram carb limit on keto — both in healthy and not-so-healthy ways.
On keto, always choose fruits that are low in sugar. This means selecting low-carb foods like berries and avocado (yes, it’s a fruit), and avoiding high-sugar fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas.
If you’re wondering why you should do this, simply look at the serving size of the fruits below. You’ll get more bang for your buck by eating handfuls of berries than you would from eating a small banana.
Serving: 1.45 cups
Net carbs: 25g
Serving: 2.75 cups
Net carbs: 25g
Serving: 1 medium banana (5.5 oz.)
Net carbs: 27g
Serving: 14 oz.
Net carbs: 22g
Serving: 7.5 oz.
Net carbs: 23g
Serving: 2 medium grapefruits (1 cup)
Net carbs: 26g
Serving: 28 oz.
Net carbs: 22g
Keto-friendly vegetables include leafy green vegetables such as kale, lettuce, broccoli, and asparagus. Meanwhile, you’ll want to avoid starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, parsnips, and carrots.
Serving: 12 oz.
Net carbs: 18g
Serving: 11 oz.
Net carbs: 22g
Serving: 30 oz.
Net carbs: 26g
Serving: 8 oz.
Net carbs: 26g
Serving: 33 oz.
Net carbs: 19g
Serving: 35 oz.
Net carbs: 20g
Cauliflower or broccoli
Serving: 5.75 cups (20.5 oz.)
Net carbs: 16g
Serving: 120g (4.28 oz.)
Net carbs: 26g
Many times, a whole food will contain a mixture of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It’s important to take note of foods not classified as carbs that still contain traces of carbs in them. These foods include nuts, seeds, vegetables, and dairy products.
Serving: 12.5 oz. (2 large avocados)
Net carbs: 6g
Notes: Two of these have only 6 grams of non-fibrous carbs.
Serving: 8 oz.
Net carbs: 14g
Serving: 7.5 oz.
Net carbs: 16g
Notes: This serving also has 1500 calories – don’t ignore calories especially if your goal is weight loss.
Serving: 3.75 oz.
Net carbs: 26g
Serving: 26 oz. (4 containers)
Net carbs: 30g
Grains and Sugars
You won’t find any grains or empty sugars on a keto diet plan, mainly because they rank so high on the glycemic index. Below, you’ll see that grains, candy, soda, and other high-sugar foods will quickly eat up your carb intake for the day.
Whole wheat bread
Serving: 1.8 slices
Net carbs: 24g
Starbucks coffee drink
Net carbs: 30g
Odwalla juice smoothie
Net carbs: 28g
Net carbs: 30g
Notes: Four sips and you’re at your 30 grams per day quota
Net carbs: 30g
Gluten-free tortilla chips
Serving: 42g (1.5 oz)
Net carbs: 29g
Harvest Snaps snack
Serving: 42g (1.5 oz)
Net carbs: 29g
Snickers candy bar
Net carbs: 30g
Net carbs: 30g
Net carbs: 28g
Net carbs: 28g
Net carbs: 28g
30 Grams of Carbs in an Infographic
Want a simple, free reminder to print off or save that shows you exactly what 30 grams of carbs looks like?
Pin this to Pinterest or save it to your desktop so you don’t go overboard with carbs on your ketogenic diet.
How Many Grams of Carbs Varies According to Your Goals
On the keto diet, most people eat between 25-50 grams of carbs per day, or 5-10% of their total calories. This stands in stark contrast to the diet you grew up on, where you were told to eat high amounts of carbs, without too much protein or fat.
The exact amount of carbs you consume will depend on your body composition, activity level, and fat loss goals. However, using the Perfect Keto Macro Calculator is a great place to start.
On the keto diet, your goal is to burn ketone bodies — rather than glucose — for energy. To do this, you’ll eat a high-fat, low-carb diet. Keto foods include high-quality meat, nuts and seeds, plenty of healthy fats, and low-sugar fruits and vegetables. If you are looking to get started, be sure to visit the Perfect Keto recipe library for plenty of low-carb meal ideas.
What Is Your Individual Carb Limit on a Keto Diet?
If you’re on a keto diet, you know that staying and getting into ketosis (the whole goal of going keto), is achieved by eating a higher fat, moderate protein, and low-carb diet. You probably also know that the perfect amount of daily carbs is different for each person; some people can easily get into ketosis and stay there on 50 grams of toal carbs per day while others need to stay at around 20 grams of total carbs per day. So how do you determine the right amount of carbs for you? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Carb Limits for Keto Beginners
The fact is, the amount of carbs you can tolerate and stay in ketosis depends on your particular body, how long you’ve been living keto, your exercise regime, and more. So, when you’re first starting a keto diet, it’s recommended to stick with 20 grams of net carbs per day or 20 grams of total carbs for therapeutic purposes. While 20 grams of total carbs is the amount that can get pretty much everyone into ketosis provided you eat within your daily macros, 20 grams of net carbs is the starting point for most people trying to achieve weight loss or general health benefits. To learn more about the difference between total carbs and net carbs, see below or read more here.
To ensure your body completely acclimates to the keto lifestyle, it’s recommended that you stick to 20 grams of net carbs per day for a full three months before you set out to explore your own personal carb edge.
Quick Net Carbs Primer
Net carbs are the total carbs minus the fiber (minus sugar alcohols if applicable). For example, a medium red bell pepper has 7 grams of total carbs and 2.5 grams of fiber. Therefore, the net carbs in a red bell pepper are 4.5. This is the number you would track to monitor your carb intake each day.
How to Determine if You’re in Ketosis
The best way to see if you’re in ketosis is to regularly test your blood using a blood-ketone testing meter. (For the most reliable results, be sure you follow the guidelines on exactly how to test and when to test.)
When you first embark on a ketogenic diet and begin testing your ketones, you’ll see your ketone levels start to rise from “Lo” to 0.1 mmol/L (the first measurable result) and higher. You’re in nutritional ketosis at 0.5 mmol/L.
Other signs your in ketosis can include some common (but temporary) discomforts known as keto flu symptoms. They’re common among people transitioning out of a high-carb diet and can include:
- Brain fog
Meanwhile, your body may give other indications, too, including:
- A slight fruity or acetone smell on your breath, also known as “keto breath”
- Increased energy (this typically happens once you’re in full ketosis)
- Decreased sugar cravings
- The ability to go longer between meals
How to Test Your Carb Limit
Once you’ve been steadily in ketosis for three months, you’re in a good position to test your carb edge, i.e. figure out whether you can tolerate more net carbs each day yet still stay in ketosis.
So that you don’t kick yourself out of ketosis or, if you do, you can recover quickly, it’s important to test your carb limit methodically. The best way to do this is to gradually increase your net carbs, test your ketones and glucose with your Keto-Mojo blood-glucose testing meter along the way, and stop when your test results come too close to pushing you outside of your optimal ketosis range.
Start by increasing your daily net carbs by 5 grams, so that your daily net carbs become 25 rather than 20. Stay at this increase for at least 3 days, testing to monitor your tolerance and ensure you remain in ketosis. If you get kicked out of ketosis, immediately dial back to 20 net carbs per day and know that you are already at your edge.
If you successfully stay in your desired range of ketosis on 25 net carbs per day for one week, bump your net carbs up to 30, try that for a week, and see how you fare.
Remember, we all have different carb tolerance. Some people easily get kicked out of ketosis when going above 20 grams of net carbs per day. Others can eat many more carbs yet remain in ketosis. Along with lifestyle, such as exercise, bio-individuality determines your carb edge. You can learn more about it from this quick, nifty video: Self Experimentation & Bio-Individuality on the Keto Diet
Step-By-Step Guide to Testing Your Carb Limit
Here are some easy to follow steps to help you determine your daily carb limit:
Day 1 through 3:
Increase your daily carbs by five net grams (i.e. from 20 to 25 grams), then test your ketones and glucose (see below for best times to test) to see how your body is responding. If your ketones drop significantly (and especially if they are below .5 mmol) and glucose rises more than 30 mg/dL after several hours, go back down to 20 grams of net carbs and know that 20 grams of net carbs are your daily limit.
If you remain in ketosis on 25 net grams of carbs per day (0.5 mmol or above, but ideally higher), stay at this level and continue testing for three full days. Ketone changes don’t show up as quickly as glucose does in test results, so this allows you time to ensure you’re truly still in ketosis before adding more carbs to find your edge.
Day 4 through 6:
If you’re still in ketosis at 25 net grams of carbs per day, Increase your daily net carbs by 5 grams again, so you’re daily net carb consumption is 30 grams of net carbs. Again, test your ketones and glucose to see how your body is responding as described above. If you continue to stay in ketosis throughout the day, continue consuming 30 net carbs per day for three days.
Three day increments:
If you’re still in ketosis at 30 net carbs per day, you can continue to increase your net carbs by 5 grams every three days until you reach your personal carb limit or “carb edge” (the amount of carbs you’re able to consume without getting kicked out of ketosis). Keep in mind that your ketosis levels can be affected by other factors as well (see below), so be sure to test your ketones and glucose frequently until you know for sure what your upper limit is.
The Best Time to Test
The best way to get the clearest results from testing your ketones and blood glucose is to test before you eat and 30 and 120 minutes after you’ve eaten and to be consistent about your testing times. (You can read more about the best times to test ketones and glucose here.) So, pick a time to test that works best for you, and try to be consistent with that same time each day. Then you can compare your results to the days prior at the same time. At a minimum, when determining your daily carb limit, you may want to test two hours after you wake up (while fasted) to get your baseline test result, and again two hours after meals.
Factors That Can Influence Your Daily Carb Limit
Your carb limit can change based on your bio-individuality and other lifestyle factors. The following are some influences and what you can do to help ensure they’re working in your favor:
Emotional Stress Levels
Emotional stress can impact your insulin response to the stress hormones, so if testing your ketones and glucose on a stressful day, you may notice a rise in glucose which can suppress your ketones. Finding ways to manage stress, such as going for walks, yoga, deep breathing, and making changes in your life to decrease your stress levels, can help your glucose and your overall well-being.
The effects of coffee on glucose and insulin are bio-individual. For some people, coffee consumption can raise glucose, while other people see no change and others find it improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. To find out how coffee affects you, test your glucose before drinking coffee and 30 minutes after coffee to see how your glucose levels react.
Exercise can have an impact on insulin in two ways. First, stress from overtraining (long intense workouts without taking recovery days) can raise cortisol, which impacts insulin and can raise glucose. So be sure to take rest days and allow your body to recover. Second, exercise/muscle contraction activates glucose transport. As this acute effect of exercise on glucose transport wears off, it’s replaced by an increase in insulin sensitivity. So right after exercise, you may find a slight rise in glucose. If this is the case for you, test again 1 hour later, to see if your glucose drops back down. That said, light exercise can help burn more fat and get you into ketosis faster. Once again, test your glucose and ketones before and after exercise to see how your body is responding.
Researchers found that a single night of partial sleep loss impairs fasting insulin sensitivity. So the best measurement results are after a full night of sleep. To determine if interrupted sleep affects your glucose, test each morning around the same time, while fasted, and record whether you had a full night of sleep or an interrupted night’s sleep.
Type of Carbs
Different forms of carbohydrates can affect insulin in different ways. Eating simple sugars from candy and juice will rapidly increase insulin and glucose, which can affect your ability to remain in ketosis. Complex carbs are digested more slowly, and therefore will have less of an impact on your glucose and insulin. Be sure to eat plant-based, low starch, above ground vegetable sources of carbs (such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and zucchini). If you’re eating fruit, stick with low glycemic fruit like berries.
With so many factors and tests in play to determine your carb edge, it’s a good idea to track your data so you can analyze your results. Once you determine a pattern, you can make the appropriate lifestyle changes based on what you know about your body and your various activities. For example, if your sleep is disrupted one day and you know your glucose rises with coffee yet you meet a friend for coffee that day, consider giving yourself a buffer by decreasing your carbs for that day. With some investigation and exploration, you’ll get a very clear sense of how to ride your carb edge without exceeding it.300 carbs a day