We all know that the keto diet is a low-carb diet. This means that your meals would be made up of low-carb foods. But then, what is considered low carb food in the keto diet for beginners? How many carbs would be okay in your meals? How many would you have to cut? Different people may have different answers to these questions. But when you examine thoroughly, there a few factors that would determine how many carbs are okay for a keto diet beginner. Chief among them are your health status and your weight goals. However, the more carbs you decide to cut, the more challenging your keto journey would be.
For instance, if you have diabetes type II, you may need to make a huge cut on your carbs. How many carbs can cut will determine how well your blood glucose levels would increase. It would also determine the measure of improvement you will see in your insulin resistance levels. When it comes to weight loss too, you will lose more weight if you can cut more carbs. The keto journey may be challenging, but it’s usually worth it at the end of you can pull through. However, a beginner does not need to cut all the carbs all at once. It is best to cut your carbs through a gradual process.
What Is Considered Low Carb Food?
Low-carb diets have different levels. There is the liberal low-carb diet, the moderate low-carb diet, and the keto low-carb diet. For a beginner, it is best to start with the liberal low-carb, then gradually work your way up to the keto low-carb.
What does each of these different levels of low-carb entail?
1. Liberal Low-Carb
This is the best place for a beginner to start. When you are on a liberal low-carb, your carb consumption would be restricted to 50-100 grams daily.
An average American would eat around 250 grams of net carbs daily, so this is a huge cut already. You can ease into a liberal low-carb by reducing your carb consumption by 50 grams daily.
When you eat liberal low-carb, about 10-20 percent of your calorie consumption would come from carbs. That is if you are eating an average of 2,000 calories daily. Fats and protein would make up the remaining.
2. Moderate Low-Carb
After a few days on the liberal low-carb diet, you can begin to try moderate low-carb if you want to reduce your carbs further. The moderate low-carb diet has 20-50 grams of carbs daily.
When you eat moderate low-carb, about 4-10 percent of your calorie consumption would come from carbs. That is if you are eating an average of 2,000 calories daily. Fats and protein would make up the remaining.
3. Keto Low-Carb
You can quickly transition from moderate low-carb to keto low-carb. Keto low-carb has little to no allowance for carb consumption. You are allowed to eat not more than 20 grams of net carbs daily.
Even with this level of carb restriction, you will have to maintain moderate protein consumption to enter into ketosis. If you eat too much protein, you would not enter into ketosis.
When you eat keto low-carb, less than 4 percent of your calorie consumption would come from carbs. That is if you are eating an average of 2,000 calories daily. You will derive your energy almost entirely from fats and protein.
You may experience symptoms if you don’t work your way up to the keto low-carb. Jumping right into keto low-carb may make you feel sick. It is called the keto flu. Working your way up would prevent this side effect.
What Foods Should You Avoid To Stay On Low-Carb?
If you have to cut your carbs that much, what kinds of low-carb food can you eat? Well, the list is endless. Maybe what you should first understand are the kinds of foods you should avoid or at least limit for a start. They are as follows:
1. Sugary foods
Sugar is pure carbs, so you should avoid foods that are loaded with sugar. Examples include candy, soda drinks, ice cream, smoothies, cake, and fruit juice just to name a few.
Wheat-based products, starches, and grains generally should not be included in your diet. Cut out foods like rice, cereal, pasta, etc. They are usually high in carbs.
Cut out all fruits. However, you can still eat berries in small portions. Fruits have a lot of nutrients like vegetables, but they are usually high in sugar. They may raise your carb intake beyond the accepted levels for a keto diet.
4. Beans and legumes
If you are eating keto, you should avoid beans consumption at all costs. Kidney beans, as well as legumes like lentils, peas, and chickpeas, should never be on your plates.
5. Root veggies and tubers
These are vegetables too, but they Are part of the category called starchy vegetables. Examples include sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes, and carrots.
6. Low-fat products
Low-fat products are often packed with carbs. You would not want to have anything to do with them if you desire to stay in ketosis. More so, they are usually highly processed.
Alcohol usually has a high content of carbs. It would surely throw you out of ketosis.
8. Unhealthy fats (Saturated fats and trans fats)
Processed vegetable oil contains a lot of unhealthy fat. Mayonnaise has lots of unhealthy fats too. The fact that you are cutting carbs and eating high-fat doesn’t mean you should damage your health by eating unhealthy fats.
Low-Carb Food List To Avoid
You can eat just about any food that does not fall in any of the categories we described above. The list is endless. But a few examples are as follows:
- Fatty fish
- Butter & cream
- Nuts & seeds
- Healthy oils
- Low-carb veggies
- Sugar-free condiments
What is considered low carb diets, are diets that contain less than 100 grams of carbs daily. But to do keto low-carb and enter into ketosis, you may need to reduce your daily carb intake to less than 20 grams. However, you should start slowly and gradually work your way up into keto low-carb.