% Carbs or Total Carbs?



Hey Guys,

I’ve started a pseudo-keto diet. I count calories, intermittent fast 16-8 and also aim for around 60-30-10 fat-protein-carb when it comes to caloric consumption.

Now, there might be a time where my lunch was abnormally carb heavy, and I end up near or at my limit. Then, for my second meal (I only eat two), I have a fat rich meal, but after everything I’m still 500-600 calories under my daily limit.

So, here’s my question. Should I go out of my way to eat more fat? At the moment, I might be at 40-30-30. If I consumed another 500 calories of fat… I could bring it closer to my goal of 60-30-10. So, is it better to have less calories but a higher carb-fat ratio, or more calories and more fat to carb?


(Gregory - You can teach an old dog new tricks.) #2

Are you still hungry?

If not, don’t eat any more.

If you are, do the fat… The more you limit carbs, the better…

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

Eat sub-20 grams of carbs and whatever else you want. Carbs is an absolute max.


I dont like to do things in terms of hungry and not hungry. I always have been a habitual eater. I can sometimes go 24 hours without feeling any hunger, and then when I do get hungry, the pains are at a level where I get nauseous and feel sick, and sometimes that hunger just goes away a few hours later. I think for me personally, I need a stability when it comes to such things. However, it sounds like of I can avoid the calories, I might as well.

(Old Baconian) #5

The advice we give is to control carbohydrate, eat a reasonable amount of protein, and add enough fat to satisfy hunger.

Limiting carbohydrate intake helps lower serum glucose and insulin. Protein and fat are necessary to the human diet; carbohydrate is not. You could safely live without any at all. But it is a source of energy, so if we remove carbohydrate from our diet, we need to replace it with a different source of energy. That would be fat, since protein is generally used for structural purposes; the body does not generally metabolise protein unless it is in dire straits. Fat has the added advantage of barely stimulating the secretion of insulin, just enough to allow life to continue (we don’t want too much insulin, but without any at all, we die). Fat is not magic, and eating more than satisfies your hunger is pointless.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #6

I’d like to elaborate a bit on what I said earlier. The object of the exercise here is ketosis. Good stuff happens in ketosis that otherwise doesn’t. On this forum the recommendation is to eat sub-20 grams of carbs max per day because for most folks that will ensure they stay in ketosis. It’s true that for each of us individually there is some specific concentration of blood glucose and insulin that inhibits or stops ketosis. This might result from 20, 25, 30… grams of ingested carbs. Even Phinney and Volek say ‘50 grams’. But they are talking 50 grams total on the presumption that will mean about 20 grams net.

It’s not about some % or proportion of total calories. Whether or not you eat 1500 or 3000 total calories carbs remain 20 grams max. The less the better. As Paul notes above, we replace energy previously derived from carbs with energy derived from fat. Since fat contains 2 1/2 times more energy than the equivalent amount of carbs, we can eat less food overall and still eat the same total energy.

Hunger/satiety is not a useful tool for some of us, myself included, so we have to use other tools to help determine how much to eat to attain whatever our goal is. Being in maintenance for 4+ years, I eat to maintain my weight and body composition. That means I have to measure/weigh my food and eat to macros. My macros, however, are specific gram amounts, not %s or proportions. I base my macros on protein per Bikman’s recommendations, then set my fat macro to maintain my weight and body comp.

Forget about 60-30-10 or 40-30-30 or any such proportions. They are useless.

That’s my opinion.


I’ve done some reading on it, and Insulin index differs from the Glycemic index. An easy example comes with eggs. The yellow contains most of the fat, and the clear contains a lot of the other sugars. If you consume just egg whites, you will have a higher insulin response (just for easiness, I’ll say its 60, look up the numbers if you want to know for certain). If you eat just the yellow, the response is 20. If you eat them together, the response is 40.

Eating Fat alongside sugar will actually reduce an insulin response. In that respect, having higher fat consumption during a meal, even if artificially increasing it, might “inhibit” the carb response. Lower insulin, more stable blood sugar, and ultimately weight loss.

That is… at least, the logic behind my question. I eat as low carbs as I can manage… sometimes it goes over. Anyone who wants to nitpick on should haves and could haves is really not helping anyone. As in my example, the carbs are eaten. Maybe I miscalculated how many carbs something would have until after I ate it. Maybe, I just wanted it. I’ve only recently started my diet, and I’m not jumping to some obscenely low number until I’m ready, so I limited my carbs at 60 g.

So, I wanted to know after eating too many carbs, would increasing fat help nullify the insulin spike and lead to more comfort, or would keeping your calories down matter.

Back to the point about “eat until your hungry.” I also intermittent fast. When I’m done with my meal, I’m not eating again until tomorrow. If I ate too much carb, even if I could choose not to consume those calories of fat because I’m not hungry NOW… that doesn’t mean in 12 hours I’m not going to be starving, and if I’m starving, that could also inhibit weight loss.

Grams or percentages does not matter, its the same basic question. When faced with more grams of carbs, would consuming more grams of fat (as long as you maintain under your caloric limit), help reduce the insulin spike and help overall in weight loss, or would the additional calories consumed not overtake whatever mild benefit that might be.

The answer… “well, you should have had less carbs” is not really applicable to this conversation and doesn’t help answer the question. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #8

You’re playing games. If you want to get into and stay in ketosis where lots of good stuff happens metabolically that otherwise doesn’t - sub-20 grams of carbs. If not eat whatever you want. Out.


I also want to add I’m a biomedical scientist who worked on a doctorate in sugar metabolism. I disagree with your assessment that there is some locked limit that applies to all humans. People are different weights, heights, body types, and so on. Every plan should be catered to the individual, and not some dogmatic number just because someone wrote it worked for them. This kind of thinking makes it harder for new people to loose weight, because they may be trying to adhere to a diet that doesn’t work for their body.

I believe you should concern yourself with how many calories you would eat in a day, and your ultimate carb load should be based on that. It can be lowered as you progress… but it ultimately should be based on the individual and what they are comfortable with. I wouldn’t want a doctor giving me drugs without considering weight, and amounts of food is no different.

I just wanted to leave my conflicting opinion.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #10

I did say the following. Maybe you missed it in your enthusiasm to post your conflicting opinion. Over and out.


At what point would you be “ready”?

What is it about carbohydrates that makes you hesitant to stop eating them. Given that there are only essential fats and essential amino acids, and NO essential carbohydrates. what makes eating a small amount of carbohydrates, or none at all for that matter, obscene?


I think you will find that most folks here (That are looking for weight loss overall) do try to stay under the 20g a day thinking, because it works. But you are right, this doesn’t mean everyone does it. Some may have a higher set point, such as what you mention. And if that works, that’s great. I’m guessing a lot of folks wish they could do this at a higher set point and not have to keep carbs down so low. … But for me personally, I couldn’t really help you with your questions on the ratios, since as I stated, I myself do not crunch numbers and try to keep things exactly where I think they should be. - I know some say they have to do this, and I appreciate that. But I can see that making things a lot harder then I would like with eating this way, so I elected many years ago to keep things simple and it’s worked thus far.

So this is probably no help to you at all, but I basically wanted to post so I can mention my thoughts on the spiking of insulin. For me, the spiking of insulin happens when I eat. - No matter what I eat, this will occur. … So for me, it’s the time I’m not eating that is more important, since I do stay under 20g carbs. Now whether the percentage of the foods consumed changes the level, or intensity of said spiking? I don’t really know to be honest, since I’ve never delved that deeply into it. And maybe I’m guessing it works since I do keep carbs under that 20g threshold? But I can also say I change things up quite often to keep from feeling like I’m eating mechanically on some sort of scheduling or leveled out meals. So I will go full Carnivore at times, eating as little carbs are possible, and hardly any fat. And then at other times I will usually eat some sides that are not all meat, (still 80-85% meats) and I can assure you I never add fat just for the sake of it, but simply eat some sides I enjoy. … Either way, I never feel hungry, and I do go quite awhile between meals. On days with 2 meals, it’s normally 18:6 average. But I do a lot of 1 meals a day too, and still hardly ever feel hunger. - And Extended Fasting has never been a problem for me either, for which I’m grateful.

(Robin) #13

It sounds to me like you actually have it figured out and are just wondering if you should add some fat when your calories are too low… even when your carbs are good. That’s what I do… frequently. I have trouble eating enough calories sometimes, so I keep some fatty food to fill in when needed. In the beginning I tried to maintain 70/20/5. I tracked percentages/ratios. All while keeping my carbs in check. So I think you are on the right track for you. And if you are like me, you’ll find your groove. There is a lot of room to individualize your approach. After a while, you’ll find your own auto pilot. Your ratios may become less important or at least more intuitive. Either way, you’ve got this!


Thank you. You’re the first person to provide a polite and helpful answer. I cannot believe the replies I’ve gotten. I’d hate to see how other newbies are addressed, especially those that are completely ignorant and just looking for help. If I was them, I would run 100 miles away from Keto, just to not have to deal with the ego of these people. You’re a great. Good luck with you as well. I’ll be deleting my account here, and I hope a moderator sees this and maybe thinks about the image his community gives off to new people, the ones who need the most support. Absolutely unreal…

(Robin) #15

You’re very welcome. but I must say this forum is normally OVERLY helpful and kind and encouraging. We VERY recently had a very prolonged rough patch with a person who was either a troll or unstable and we all tried for too long to help and appease. So I suspect you caught us with our guard up. The very folks who seemed to dismiss you are typically our trusty founts of info and encouragement. I hope you stick around for a few more responses and give us more time. But either way, I wish you well.


Only if you would starve without it… Some people manage to eat way too little without feeling they need more… But normally you just get satiated and the macros fall wherever they want (of course the carbs should be little, the protein enough but where is the fat? it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t starve, regularly overeat or feel nauseous…)
Some people need specific ratios, others don’t. My fat may be way more than my protein or way less, my body is fine with both, my tastes and some other things guide me to a smaller ratio range though. Sometimes I eat 80g fat. Sometimes 270. Both are fine for me if I get the energy I need and feel right… So I don’t fully understand people focusing on some percentage. Especially that it doesn’t matter unless one does therapeutic keto. I mean, one needn’t to focus on it, of course it matters, I couldn’t live on 50% fat, that’s super lean to me. 60-70% is to my taste. 10% carbs isn’t keto for most people, at least not the usual <20g keto. Even my 40g couldn’t go higher than 8 (sure, it depends on calories but 10% and <20g means 800 kcal or less a day, it’s serious starvation for most people) but I feel loads better at 1-2.

It’s better to eat right. Not starving, getting all the nutrients you need and not eating too much carbs, whatever it means for you. I never noticed carb-fat ratio mattered anything… Carbs in grams (and even the type of it, sugar, starch, sugar from fruit or sugar from chicken liver, very different feeling) matters, not the percentage or ratio (unless the carbs totally overpower fat, that’s a special bad for me. but we don’t talk about eating only carbs now).

If your goal is keto, you should stay below your personal ketosis carb limit (it’s not even fixed). You can’t eat a ton of fat with 100g carbs and expecting it to work. So, grams, always.

But eating fat after carbs can bring comfort, I have that. I can’t eat more than a fruit alone, it immediately feels bad. But following up with some fatty protein? No problem.
But it’s just how I feel, my body still need to handle the sugar and I can’t stay in ketosis if I ate too much carbs in grams.

(Allie) #17

If you’re hungry, eat more.
If not, don’t.

Pretty simple really, listen to what your body is telling you and be guided by it.

What you’re doing may not suit everyone, but if it’s working for you, all good. The biggest part of this thing is to find what works for us as individuals.

(bulkbiker) #18

So why did you title your thread as you did?

You asked if it was % or total carbs… you got the answer you didn’t want “total carbs” so why take it out on us?

As a rule we have found that caloric restriction is unnecessary for weight loss and that carbohydrate restriction is far more effective. Engaging with your body is easier than trying to force it to do something it neither wants nor likes… bodies don’t like being starved especially long term so…

(Doug) #19

You’re not them, though, and honestly - you need to get over yourself. :wink:

(Old Baconian) #20

I’d like to see some data showing that. It’s not my understanding, and I can’t envision a mechanism for it. If it were true, we could all eat doughnuts and stay slim. That has definitely not been my experience, lol!

Well, as a biochemical scientist, you know that hyperglycaemia is highly dangerous to the body, hence the insulin response. The key to a ketogenic diet is to eat a small enough amount of carbohydrate to avoid stimulating a large insulin response, and that amount is not a percentage of calories ingested, but an absolute amount. The point of the diet is to avoid elevating serum glucose above the threshold where the insulin response starts to cause damage. As you probably know, the chronic diseases associated with metabolic disease (gout, cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, certain cancers) are all pretty much the result of hyperinsulinaemia.

So if you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?

There is a lot of accumulated wisdom about diet and nutrition here, and we’d love to get into a discussion with you. But the point is that it has to be a discussion; we are not really interested in listening to someone pontificate. The Dudes who founded this site have a dogma, to the effect of “show us the science,” so please have your references ready. Also please be ready to discuss the work of Phinney, Volek, Westman, Ludwig, Feinman, Bikman, and the others who have real data to back up our understanding of how the human body works.

I think you’ll find the crowd here very willing to engage, but rather hostile towards anything that looks like trolling.