There is a misconception that the keto diet does not allow you to have any carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are limited, you can still have some carbohydrates while on a ketogenic diet. As a matter of fact, it is essential to eat some carbs, because they will assist the body to lose weight on a ketogenic diet, as well as provide much-needed fiber for good digestive health. Your ideal carbohydrate intake should be calculated as a percentage of your daily caloric intake, so it varies slightly from person to person.
The Phases of Keto in the Atkin’s Plan
There are different ways to do a ketogenic diet, and Atkin’s plan is one popular way. Each phase of keto allows for differing amounts of carbohydrates daily, but all of the stages are low carb compared to the average diet of most people. Here is a loose guide to how many carbs can you have on keto.
The Induction Phase
This initial phase is meant to put the body into ketosis quickly, and begin ketogenesis. A lot of protein, moderate fat, and very few carbohydrates are essential to induce ketogenesis. 5% of the diet should be carbohydrates in this stage, which amounts to 20 per day for the initial two weeks.
Although you can eat any carbs you want for your daily allowance, it’s a good idea to take in as much dietary fiber as possible when you choose what to eat. In this phase, lots of leafy vegetables are recommended as the majority of the carb intake. Lots of people also calculate how much fiber they take in, and they determine their net carb count after subtracting fiber from their daily carb intake.
The formula for calculating net carbs is:
Net Carbs = Total Carbs — fiber — sugar alcohols — allulose
The Weight Loss Phase
In the second phase of this plan, after two weeks of induction, 7% of the daily intake should be carbohydrates. Eating more nuts, along with green, leafy vegetables, is recommended. Low carbohydrate fruits can also be introduced. This is about 30 grams of carbohydrates daily.
The Pre-Maintenance Phase
When you have lost the amount of weight you have wanted to lose, and begin to near your goal weight, you can begin to introduce some more carbs into your diet, so it isn’t so restrictive. By now your weight loss should have started to slow down. About 10% of your food should be carbohydrates. This is about 50 grams of carbs per day, which brings some more variety into your diet, to help you maintain a low carbohydrate diet for the long term.
The Maintenance Phase
The fourth and final stage of this plan is designed to allow the dieter to maintain a low-carb diet, by allowing additional choices and therefore more variety to the diet. About 12% of your daily diet should come from carbs, or 60 grams daily. The idea is to limit carbohydrate intake enough to avoid weight gain, but enjoy enough carbohydrates to maintain a healthy lifestyle. No weight loss or weight gain should be happening at this point.
Other Tips For Success
Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially at the beginning of the diet, while ketosis is being induced. In the maintenance phase, some alcohol can be added, like low carbohydrate vodka or whiskey. Beer should be avoided because it is high in carbohydrates. It should be noted that alcohol is processed a lot like carbohydrates when ingested, even if it doesn’t technically contain carbohydrates, so alcohol intake should be limited at best, even in the maintenance phase of keto.
There are lots of candies and “low carb” items available that are supplemented with sugar alcohols, which do not technically register as carbohydrates when digested. Proceed with caution with these items, as using them too much could derail your progress.