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How Many Carbs to Stay in Ketosis?

AuthorAyomiposi Kingsley
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Diets low in carbohydrates and high in fat have a number of known benefits for your body and mind. They keep you slim, support your hormones and brain, regulate your blood sugar, stop cravings, keep you full for hours, and let you put bacon everywhere.

But in the realm of low-carb diets and especially the ketogenic, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the maximum amounts of carbs you can eat to get these benefits.

The goal of keeping carbohydrates low is so that your body can start using fat for energy (ketosis), instead of relying on glucose.

But that doesn't mean you need to completely remove all sources of carbohydrates from your diet.

To get into (and stay) in ketosis, the macronutrient guidelines for the average person are as follows:

• 5-10% of calories from carbohydrates
• 20-25% protein
• 70-75% or remaining calories from fat

Let's take a closer look and take it step by step.

How Many Carbs To Stay In Ketosis: Which Zone Is Right For You?


Not everyone has to restrict themselves to carbs the same way on the ketogenic diet. While some people can get away with eating more while staying in ketosis, others will need to be more strict on their intake.

In general, if you are a very active person who exercises 4-5 times a week, you can eat more carbohydrates without any repercussions.

But if you live a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight, we encourage you to keep your carbohydrate intake as low as possible.

We will see in this part the theoretical approaches.

Studies show that you need to be between 20g and 150g of net carbs per day to stay in ketosis.

Simple and complex sugars, sugar alcohols and fibers are part of the carbohydrates.

We generally think of “net” carbohydrates as “raw” carbohydrates subtracted from sugar alcohols and fiber.

Everyone does not digest these 2 families of carbohydrates in the same way (some will succeed in using a part of glucose thanks to their microbiota), so I advise to calculate the net carbohydrates as follows:


Net carbs = raw carbs - 1/2 (sugar-alcohols + fiber)


Let's take a look at the different variations of the ketogenic diet and their variation in carbs in particular.

Cyclical ketogenic diet or ketogenic cycling
cycle


This is an approach where you eat ketogenic 5 or 6 days of the week (less than 50g net carbs per day) and rebound in carbs the other two days (150g net carbs approximately).

The point of this approach is to allow you to have the benefits of the ketogenic and also of the carbohydrate intake, which can be crucial if you are part of a category of people with problems with regulation of the thyroid without l. intake of carbohydrates.


Ketogenic diet and targeted carbohydrate intake (targeted keto)

If you engage in regular, intense physical activity, note that the recommended ratios, generally, may not meet your performance needs. This is where targeted ketogenic diets come in.

In this version of the ketogenic, you will be adding carbohydrates before and / or after your workouts. This will ensure that your muscles have enough glycogen for what they are asked to do.

By adopting this principle of targeting, you will be following a traditional ketogenic diet throughout the day. However, after training, you will consume 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates in glycemic index high. These should be consumed ideally within half an hour .

Being very sensitive to insulin after a workout, the carbohydrates will go directly to the glycogen stores and thus your ketosis will not be affected.

Traditional ketogenic diet

The traditional approach: you will eat less than 50g of net carbs every day.

If you are just starting out, you will go through several stages, most likely the ketogenic flu.

You can remedy this with an intake of exogenous ketones during the first few weeks, in order to get your body used to producing ketosis and then using the latter.

Moderately low carbohydrate diet

The slightly less strict approach where you eat 100-150g of net carbs every day.

This is an approach that works particularly well for athletes as they have above average glycolytic intake needs.

Factors That May Influence Your Daily Carbohydrate Limit


There are factors that influence blood sugar levels and can get you out of ketosis, so be sure to pay attention to these when setting your carb limit. 

  • Stress level

Stress anxiety.
Stress increases the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the blood. 

Cortisol increases the activity of gluconeogenesis, which increases blood sugar levels, while simultaneously decreasing insulin sensitivity. This combination of actions causes more sugar to stay in the blood for longer periods of time, which eliminates the body's need to produce ketones and thus brings you out of ketosis.

If you really need to test your ketones on a day when you know you will be stressed, do activities that will moderate that stress such as walks, yoga, breathing exercises, etc.

  • Coffee

Coffee can potentially increase your blood sugar: if you want to know if you are sensitive to it, test your blood sugar before drinking coffee and 30 minutes after . 


  • Physical activity

Physical activity has an impact on insulin.

The latter creates metabolic stress and can increase cortisol levels too much and thus increase insulin and blood sugar. In addition, the transport of glucose induced by the effort itself can also increase blood sugar. 

Do not test your blood sugar or ketones after exercising.

  • Sleep
Insomnia
Lack of sleep impairs insulin sensitivity on an empty stomach.

It is therefore ideal to measure blood sugar and ketones on the days when you have had a good night's sleep. 

Try measuring 1 hour after waking up on a night you slept well and a shortened night to find out what impact it has on your ketosis.

  • Type of carbohydrate
Depending on the glycemic index and the glycemic load of carbohydrates, carbohydrates can raise blood sugar very quickly and get you out of ketosis. 

Instead, favor foods with low carbohydrates, fiber and a low glycemic index :

vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini.
fruits: berry type red fruits

How Many Carbs to Stay in ketosis: The Tips


Idea

Tip 1. Try to separate the fats and carbohydrates. 

Allocate fat at the start of the day (minimum carbohydrates possible at the start of the day)
Allocate carbohydrates rather at the end of the day (minimum intake of lipids at the end of the day)
Alone in the middle of the day, choose a mixed meal.

Tip 2: Eat healthy carbs (when you eat them)

In a traditional ketogenic approach, the only carbohydrate foods will be red fruits, green vegetables.
In a rather cyclical approach , favor healthy carbohydrates such as rice, sweet potato, yam, carrot, squash ...

Tip 3: What sports activity to get into ketosis faster (and increase your carbohydrate limit) 

Combine high intensity workouts to empty glycogen (stored form of glucose) (HIIT, bodybuilding ...) (at least 1 hour)
Low intensity training (cardio) to encourage the burning of fat in ketones (brisk walking, cycling, dancing ...) (30 min)
Alternate and do it ideally in the morning

Tip 4: How to Increase Your Ketone Levels Without Limiting Your Carbs?

There are currently two main dietary supplements on the market that have been scientifically proven to increase ketone levels. These are the exogenous ketones and MCT oil.

~ Exogenous ketones. This is a powder that combines a salt (sodium, potassium, magnesium or calcium) bound with beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB); these will artificially increase the level of BHB in your blood and thus, you will mainly have the cognitive benefits of the latter.

~ MCT Oil. These medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can be broken down into ketones in the liver whether or not you are in ketosis. They bypass the usually slow and arduous process of digesting fat and go straight to the liver where they can be immediately converted to ketones. The best MCT oil to take is one that exclusively contains a medium chain triglyceride called caprylic acid (or MCT C8).
 
Tip 5: Estimate your carbs with a calculator

Estimate with the calculator https://perfectketo.com/keto-macro-calculator/ the number of carbohydrates (but also proteins and fats) to start the ketogenic well: this will give you a starting point maybe a little more accurate than the starting 20g (even if this technique works perfectly)

to receive your PDF guide to determining your ketogenic carbohydrate limit!


Last word
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As we have seen, there are several factors that will influence your carb limit, up or down, improving or deteriorating your ability to enter and stay in ketosis. 

That's why finding your own carbohydrate limit for the ketogenic diet is more nuanced and complex than you might think. However, with some experimentation, you can figure out how much carbs you need to eat to stay in ketosis, and more importantly, how much you shouldn't exceed in any situation. 

Keep in mind, however, that if you get great results from using the 25g per day carb limit, there is no need to bother increasing your carb intake: it may not. nothing more to do for you than to complicate matters more.


How Many Carbs To Stay in Ketosis?

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