It is absolutely realistic to say that there is no legitimate carb limit for keto. The fact of the matter is that each and every individual will have a different limit for carbs which they ought to stick to before the production of ketone can commence. The carb limit will also be changing depending on the day. Whether or not you achieve ketosis, the greatest point of concern should be your main reason for adopting low carbs in the first place and there will a myriad of factors which will determine if you ever get into this state. For some people, it may be necessary to take a slightly higher amount of carbs while other will need to restrict their carb intake to below 35 grams per day so that they can achieve and maintain ketosis.
How to find your own keto carb limit
It is true that everyone will have to restrict their carb intakes to different amounts to be in ketosis, there is a recommended limit that anyone can start with and adjust accordingly as they adapt to the process. The recommended keto carb limit is 35grams of total carbs and 25grams of net carbs. Starting with this limit will give you a good basis to keep on making adjustments on the intake, either to increase or decrease depending on the results you will get after measuring the ketones using ketone breath test or any other suitable approach you may prefer.
If you want to get into ketosis even quickly, then you can consider further limiting your carb intake to less than 25grams, but you must be well prepared on handling the significant side effects bound to ensue or else your body systems could take a beating they weren’t prepared for and this may make the efforts backfire on you.
There are quite a number of ways you can use to determine the carb limit that will give you the best results, and here are the two most common approaches used by the majority and which will make it easy for you to know a relatively precise limit faster-:
Low to high method
With this method, you start by experimenting with a low level of net carb so that you can get your body into ketosis as soon as possible. With this approach, you can start with levels as low as 20grams of net carb per day. You will then maintain this level for about two to three days while you detect ketosis using a ketone breath meter or any other suitable method. The idea is that you continue increasing the intake until you detect very low levels or zero levels. This method is one of the quickest and the most reliable approaches you can use to discover your net carb limit. It will be a little challenging during the first few days, but as your body adapts and as you move towards the ideal carb level, things will normalize and you will find it more comfortable and convenient.
The High to low method
This is the exact opposite of the method explained above, and it starts with the assumption that you are not yet in ketosis. You will begin at a relatively high level of net carb and continue detecting the presence of ketones using methods such as ketone breath analyzers. The idea is to reduce the intake until you detect very low levels or zero ketones in your system. This may sound like a less difficult approach, but it is not recommended since you can potentially spend a long time out of ketosis as you try to determine your net carb limit.
If you adopt any of these approaches to get into ketosis but you are not seeing any results, you should be a little patient because it normally take between two and three days before the body can exhaust all the glycogen stored so that it can start relying on the fats as a source of fuel. Also, have in mind that the process of ketosis is a favorable one and the perfect indication that the body is indeed using fat for fuel, though you could still end up losing weight even if you were not using ketosis.
Why you should not go for zero carbs
It may be tempting to cut off carbs completely from your diet as a means of getting into ketosis faster so that you see results as soon as possible, but this is not a recommended idea and there is no justification as to why anybody should think about it. You should only go for zero carbs if you are doing restricted ketogenic diet for therapeutic purposes and under the supervision of a nutritionist. For most people, however, they will experience great fat loss and other health benefits of the ketogenic diets by maintaining a net carb intake of between 20grams and 30grams.
Factors that affect your net keto carb limits
As noted earlier, there are a myriad of factors which make people have different net keto carb limits and here is a brief look at some of the major ones-:
Different adaption rates – everyone has the ability to adapt to burning fat. During the process of keto adaptation, the mitochondria will become more efficient and start replicating itself so that they can burn more fats to make it possible for the cells to use ketones as the main source of energy. Different people adapt differently, leading to different net keto carb requirements.
Exercise – exercise can be a ketone boosting tool, but also can be the worst nightmare if you were looking forwards to getting into keto. The right type of exercise at the right time will definitely work. For example, if you want to achieve ketosis as fast as possible and remain healthy during the process, then high intensity training workouts will ensure you deplete the glycogen reserves and make your body start relying on the stored fats for energy.
Stress and ketosis – when you are stressed, the levels of cortisol in the blood increases and this will increase the activity of gluconeogenesis which will in turn raise the blood sugar levels while also decreasing insulin sensitivity. These actions can potentially make blood sugars to be available for slightly longer and this will inhibit the body’s need to produce ketones.