2 Weeks in, confused by "net carbs"


So far things have been going great. Today is day 15 and I’m down 17 lbs, not sure on inches as I couldn’t measure this morning but last week I was down 9.5 inches and I can feel I’ve lost several more based on how clothes are fitting. I have test strips and I test about every other morning before eating/drinking anything and I’m typically between 6 and 8, or as best as I can tell from the strips. I’ve also found that I’m only eating two meals a day typically lunch and dinner, just not that hungry in the a.m., I do have my coffee with heavy cream but haven’t tried it with butter or coconut oil yet.

I’ve been very strict on my carbs keeping total carbs under 20 since day one wanting to get into Ketosis quickly and maximize my first three week weight loss. I’m doing total carbs based on recommendations in Keto Clarity. However, as I do more reading it seems most focus on net carbs. I’m going to keep total carbs under 20 in my third week, however week 4 and partial 5 is going to be tough as I’ll be traveling, I"m confident I’ll be able to do net under 20 but not sure about total. Am I going to blow what I’ve done so far by switching to net carbs?

Also, at what point do most up their carbs a bit?

If there are prior posts or links that anyone knows of please feel free to post and I’ll check them out. Thanks in advance.

(Jacob Wagner) #2

I see no reason to ever up my carbs.



How many total carbs do you target per day? In Keto Clarity and other articles I’ve read they talk about starting out out at 20 or under (most say net, Keto Clarity says 20 total) and then once in Ketosis bring them up a little, not really sure why but that’s what they suggest.

(Jacob Wagner) #4

The amount of net carbs needed to stay in ketosis varies from person to person.

I think that is just advice to get down to what works for almost everyone (20g) then slowly increase to find out what your level is.

But my thought is that if you can enjoy being at 20g then I see no reason to flirt with higher levels.


(Ken) #5

You’re just beginning. The vast majority of the weight you’ve lost has been water weight due to glycogen depletion. You’ve only lost a couple of pounds of fat. You are now in lipolysis. A one pound weight loss per week is reasonable, but it will not be linear. You’re months away from worrying about metabolic slowdowns, but you can eat some carbs now and then if you desire to. It will halt fat loss. I’d restrict them to weekends if you really want to eat them. The longer you go without, the less you’ll desire them. Eat more fat in order to deal with cravings, after a while they’ll go away.

(Jane Reed) #6

Myself, I count total carbs, where there is no confusion.

When a person is fully fat adapted, which may take a month or several months, there may be a bit of wiggle room in the amount of carbs you can tolerate. When a person reaches their goal weight, the same applies. Early on (and I consider myself in the early stages of this way of eating, at one year of nutritional ketosis) it’s best to be fairly conservative. In my opinion, counting net carbs can be a slippery slope to overdoing it.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #7

The 20 g a day recommendation on these forums is net carbs, since that’s what the nutrition labels in many countries show (in the U.S. you have to subtract insoluble fiber from the total carbs shown to get net carbs). But even 20 g of net carbs should be low enough for almost anybody to get into ketosis, no matter how insulin-resistant. Remember that Dr. Phinney’s recommendation is for under 100 g of carbs, which he says is low enough for the average person to enter nutritional ketosis.

So unless you’re pretty sure that you are highly insulin-resistant, my guess would be that the net vs. gross carbs question is not something you need to worry about. Do what makes you happy. Remember that there is no keto rulebook. If it works for you, it’s fine.

(Jacob Wagner) #8

Some people find it helpful, as you say, to avoid confusion.

However, I find that counting total carbs eliminates things like cabbage and broccoli that are very healthy and do not interfere with ketosis.


(Jane Reed) #9

I disagree, Jacob. Brassicas are not eliminated. They are diminished. I eat them while not allowing myself to treat them as if they were a virtual free ride.


Thanks all for the information and clarification. I think where the net carbs would help me is with vegetables, not looking for breads, sugars etc. but I find myself limiting myself on vegetables which I really enjoy.

I think going forward I’ll continue to target 20 total carbs but if having a serving of broccoli or cauliflower that pushes me over a few carbs I won’t sweat it. Getting a little tired of spinach as my green.

Thanks again for the helpful information!

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #11

There’s also kale, lol!


Don’t forget :avocado: Great keto veggie/fruit I have 2 a day. For me it’s net carbs usually 30-50 with 1/2 that from fiber. I try to get a decent amount of fiber in everyday. Mainly from :avocado: and spinach(which makes for a great vehicle for my oils(hemp, :avocado:, omega 3’s) and all fat dressings. I also use a decent amount of seeds and nuts almost exclusively macadamia(the best keto nut) and hemp seeds(28g gives you 13g fat 10g protein and 0 net carbs). You’ll need a good guy biome as you age for overall healt and fiber helps with that. Also do the broccoli, asparagus and green beans a little less often. I believe that the less than 20 total really applies to the beginning of the keto lifestyle to get you into fat adaption. Once there start upping the carbs to hit your limit while maintaining ketosis. If you have no issues/wants then there no reason to up the carbs past 20g total. For me it gives me more options. I would just stay away from processed grains and sugar which are the real problems.

(Arlene) #13

Don’t be afraid to eat above ground vegetables. You don’t have to limit yourself to spinach. Just keep serving sizes about the size of your fist, and include plenty of butter. There is a wide variety of methods for eating healthy within the keto lifestyle. Some people eat no vegetables at all. Always keep your goals in the front of your mind and keep doing what you’re doing as long as it’s working.

(Gary) #14

I have discovered (the hard way) that I have been eating too many cheese crisps and have started to take a fiber supplement as medicine. Also started 1.5 cups of spinach with lunches. Hope that smooths things out again.

I don’t know if it will work or not but it does take me about the total carbs range. However my net carbs are still good. Going to keep an eye on ketones and see what happens.

I have been at this for 5 months now. This is the first problem that I’ve encountered.