The internet is swarming with misinformation, which makes finding simple answers to questions like how many carbs per day should I eat suuuper hard to find!
The answer is simple, you just need to decide:
- Which low carb lifestyle do you plan to follow? Keto, low carb diet, USDA rec.
- Do you want to count the total or net carbs of your low carb foods and low carb recipes?
If you have no idea what that means, fear not, we’ll delve into that below.
So, here are the facts so you can make the best decision for you!
Carb Counting Facts
You can calculate how many carbs in a day based on percentages, grams, or calories — here’s a little clarity on exactly what that means:
Grams + Calories
Each gram of carbohydrate or protein provides 4 calories, while each gram of fat has 9 calories — so if your goal is to eat 80 carbohydrate calories at each meal, you’d eat 20 grams.
Percentages are based on the caloric percentage of the food you eat. To make it easy, say your goal is to eat 50% of your caloric intake in carbohydrates — that means half the food you eat would be carb calories.
A keto diet is less than 50 grams of carbohydrates or 200 carbohydrate calories.
That said, many following atkins or keto count net carbs as opposed to total carbs. Net carbs are total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols — the number you’re looking for if you’re wondering how many carbs for ketosis.
This is because the function of carbohydrates vary depending on the type of carb you’re eating — for example, soluble fiber is a complex carbohydrate that can improve blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar. Whereas sugar is a simple carbohydrate which quickly spikes your blood sugar.
If you decide to go the net carbs route, be leary of products flaunting “active / impact carbs”, as there’s no legal definition for these terms. Unfortunately, this often means manufacturers are adding ingredients that can affect your blood sugar.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a low carb diet consists of 20-60 grams of carbohydrates or 80-240 carbohydrate calories.
As a frame of reference, The American Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 45-65% of your caloric intake in carbohydrates — So for a person consuming 2,000 calories a day, that would be 225-325 grams.
Which may seem like a lot, but according to the Institute of Medicine, most people exceed this “how many carbs per day” recommendation!
How Many Carbs Should You Eat?
Figuring out how many carbs should I eat a day has taken testing, time, and advice from doctors.
Knowledge is also a big part of it — you can’t eat low carb foods, if you don’t know which foods are low in carbs and which aren’t.
For those interested in switching to low carb foods, identify your goal: whether it’s health, weight loss, or more energy — write it down, and talk to a health professional to see if eating low carb will help you achieve your goals.
Then start learning about eating low carb. It’s actually really simple, just get the basics down and you’ll be golden.
How to Track Your Carbs
There are quite a few ways to track your daily carb intake — it boils down to personal preference.
That said, countless studies have found that people who journal are twice as likely to lose weight compared to those who don’t.
Sufficed to say, journaling will help you stick to your how many carbs in a low carb diet goal. Whether it be an app on your phone or a good old pen and paper. Once you’ve established how many carbs you’ll eat in a day, pick the method that you’ll most likely stick to.
I use a printed low carb meal plan with my goals and daily carb intake (I like to see it all in one place).
Others prefer apps such as My Fitness Pal. These are mobile and super convenient. That said, these apps contain user uploaded nutritional info, so it’s common to find errors. Just be aware, you can easily make adjustments for this.
More Low Carb Tips
If you’re new to low carb eating and are looking for some delicious recipes to help you stick to your goals, here are some options!
- Low Carb Breakfast. Smoothies, quiches, and casseroles!
- Low Carb Dinner. Everything from soup to casseroles to salads.
- Low Carb Lunch Ideas. Easy meals to make ahead!
- Low Carb Snacks. From sweet to savory.
- Low Carb Desserts. Every craveable dessert recipe!
I hope this article helped shine light on how many carbs in a low carb diet there are!
Again, if you’re wondering how many carbs in a low carb diabetic diet or any other health-related questions, it’s important to consult with your doctor.