Carbs and Keto: Everything You Need To Know About Carbs on a Ketogenic Diet


People must have a controlled intake of carbohydrates daily when on a low-ketogenic diet. The daily intake is, however, not the only aspect you need to focus on.

Does Your Body Need Carbs?

People have a wrong belief that their brain and body need carbs. That is not the case because if you reduce the intake of carbohydrates, your brain uses its mechanisms to use ketones instead of using glucose. Ketones are better than glucose, even for highly active individuals. It takes one 3-4 weeks to adapt to a keto diet. Meanwhile, your body can generate its own glucose through gluconeogenesis.

Protein can generate approximately 200 grams of glucose daily to be used by kidneys, red blood cells, and the brain as they can’t use ketones. The low carb diet is not for everyone. Just adjust to carb levels that suite your body needs.

Types of Carbs in Ketogenic Diets

People must avoid sugary foods. The best measure of distinguishing good and bad carbohydrates is by determining the Glycemic Load (GL). It measures the amount of insulin released by the body for some food quantity. Ensure that you get your carbs from non-starchy vegetables e.g., leafy greens and nuts. People on Targeted Ketogenic Diet can eat foods with high GL. 

If you go for a workout, consider taking 20-25 grams of carbohydrates to enhance your performance. People use different forms of carbs before a workout. The most recommended types of carbohydrates to use before a workout are: bagels, Sweet Tarts, glucose polymers, and food bars to enhance their performance.

Total Carbs vs. Net Carbs

The body does not have enzymes to digest all the fiber to derive calories form it. The effects of fiber on blood sugar and ketosis are not significant. Net carbs represent the derived carbohydrates values without including fiber. You can consist of net carbs in your diet as they reduce the impact of high-fiber foods like nuts. The misconception that fiber does not negate carbs is wrong. Fiber is not counted.

Food labeling in some countries uses total carbs. It means they include fiber in the carb ratio. You can calculate the value of net carbs by subtracting fiber from total carbs. This is indirect labeling. For direct labeling, the actual value of net carbs is indicated on the food package. Find more on total vs. net carbs here.


  • Value of total carbs can never be lower than fiber
  • (Total carbs – fiber) can never be less than sugar
  • Total kcal = calories from (protein + fat  + carbs)

How Many Carbs per Meal  Do You Need to Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes 

Everyone reacts differently to the number of carbs in a meal. Self-monitoring is the way to evaluate for yourself. Feeling sleepy after a meal indicates effects of taking excess carbs. The blood sugar levels and insulin get elevated. The bad thing about elevated blood sugar level is that you will fall hungry faster and eat more than the usual. Some people can’t take more than 10 grams net carbs while some experience no effects even after taking 50 grams net carbs. Sleepiness, after eating, indicates blood sugar spikes.

People with high carb tolerance must avoid eating certain foods like tropical fruits and low carb sweeteners like Xylitol. They can cause terrible digestive problems and affect your blood sugar. Find more here on guide to sweeteners when on a low-carb keto diet.

“Zero-Carb Products and Marketing Tips

Watch out for some brands that mislead consumers by using labels indicating “low-carb,” “carb-free,” or “zero-carb.” If you are not keen, you are going to be misled to buying these products, and they will affect your blood sugar level and insulin. The fact is that only pure meat and pure fat are zero-carb, nothing else.

Many products use deceptive marketing tips e.g., Atkins products. Their products contain maltitol, sorbitol, and other sugar alcohols which enhance increased blood sugar levels and insulin spikes. Such sweeteners are not allowed at all.

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt warns consumers against Atkins Fairy cookies, Dreamlands Low-carb pasta, and Julian’s Bakery Bread.

The solution that works best for many people is to consider unprocessed foods. That is because many of these processed foods brands are deceptive to lure customers into buying them through false labeling.

Carbs Before or After Exercise?

People who tend to be more physically active must try Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD). It is best if they have their snacks before a workout. Those who do light exercises like walking and cycling don’t need a pre-workout meal. Eat your carbs before or after, depending on the fitness goals you have. 

Weight loss

Avoid post-workout carbs if your goal is to lose weight. That ensures that the fat in your body is burnt to provide energy for the body use even after working out. It is, however, hard to lose fat when you are on a low-carb ketogenic diet. Read here for further info if you are not losing weight.

Weight maintenance

To maintain your weight, avoid post-workout carbs after workouts. Eat only if you do an intense exercise for a longer time than the usual.

Weight Gain

The perfect plan for someone who wants to gain weight and muscles is to follow a standard keto diet. Another ideal strategy is to use post-workout carbs. Click here to read on Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (CKD). Include the following on your diet; sweet potato, pumpkins, berries, root vegetables, bananas, etc. 

Getting started on carbs is straightforward. Click here to view a video by Jennifer Elliot explaining the effects of insulin. Carbs you eat increases insulin levels and leads to fat storage. Read on anabolic effects on stimulating muscle growth brought by post-workout carbs. Carbs are crucial when you want to gain weight. Post-workout carbs are not mandatory if you aim for significant muscle gain.


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