How low carb is a keto diet?
A keto diet is a very strict low-carb diet, containing less than 20 grams of net carbs per day.
Here are three examples of low-carb meals, based on how many carbs you aim to eat in a day. Note that only the left plate is reliably ketogenic:The plate on the left would be ketogenic for most people. The other two, while very healthy, would not likely be ketogenic, but could still contribute to gradual weight loss and improved blood glucose and insulin sensitivity.
We define low carb as anything under 100 grams per day. Note that a Western diet often has 250 grams of carbs per day, or even more.
How we define low carb and keto
At Diet Doctor, we define the different levels of carbs this way:
- Keto low carb: less than 20 grams of carbs per day. This level will be ketogenic for most people.
In our keto recipes, less than 4 percent of total energy comes from carbs, and the rest will come from protein and fat.
In keto recipes we also keep the protein level moderate. Some may find that protein above this range is converted into glucose enough to raise blood sugar levels.
However, there appears to be a disconnect between potential mechanism and clinical effect seen in published research.
- Moderate low carb: between 20 and 50 grams per day. In our moderate low carb recipes, energy derived from carbs will be between 4 to 10 percent. The rest will come from protein and fat.
- Liberal low carb: between 50 and 100 grams per day. In our liberal low carb recipes, energy derived from carbs will be 10 to 20 energy percent. The rest will come from protein and fat.