A keto diet is generally made up of 70 to 75 percent fat, 20 to 25 percent protein, and 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates, says Jill Keene, a registered dietitian nutritionist in private practice in White Plains, New York. The exact number of grams (g) of carbohydrates will be different for everyone, but is generally around 20 to 50 g per day. Many people on a keto diet count “net carbs,” which is total carbs minus fiber. Fiber isn’t “counted” in the carbohydrate total, because it’s not digested. Either way, this number of carbs is very low and requires careful planning. Eating a little fruit, starchy vegetables, sugary foods, or whole grains can easily kick you out of ketosis.
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).
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