Confused about carb counting

(Kirk Wolak) #21

Please count all carbs until you get past the Novice Level, and understand your body!

For some people, they can get into ketosis with 50g carbs a day. I am at 5g/day. If I go above that consistently, I will get knocked out. After 3 days of fasting, I can tolerate a bit more.

I count TOTAL carbs, not NET carbs. This is a great way to start. Not all “net carbs” are equal. So it is easy to get confused if you use net carbs, and you REACT to the fibers or the sugar alcohols many subtract.

Finally, the evidence is really clear. The fewer the carbs, the faster the weight loss (b/c the less insulin is produced). So, lower is better. Do what you can tolerate and stick to.

If you measure your blood glucose/ketone levels… That will help you understand what carbs do. Your body holds only about 1.5 teaspoons of sugar. See this graph of the food pyramid in teaspoons of sugar… And suddenly the obvious point is we are eating way too much sugar…

(Marianne) #22

I think this is good advice, if you can do it. I was never a big fan of vegetables, so it’s not hard in my case. I love rich food and keto just naturally suits me.


Many people do it differently, but most do net carbs, many do actual carbs, many skip carbs from green veggies. Gotta see what works for you. Best way to start out though is net.

(Jane) #24

Good advice. Net is easier to get used to eating so few carbs when starting out.

I counted net carbs and never counted the carbs in green veggies. Worked for me.

(Kirk Wolak) #25

Curious as to why you think NET carbs is the best way?

I think Phinney says Total is the best, because fibers do not affect EVERYONE equally.
So by using Total Carbs, you are the most strict, having the highest probability of success.

If later you find out you are the lucky one who can tolerate more fiber or sugar alcohols, etc. You gain something.

But if you are like me, and find out you cannot. It feels like a 1-2 punch. First I had to give up carbs, then even the lesser carbs…

It’s just my take, but I think you start the most strict to avoid the troubles that people get into…


I guess it’s up to you what to start with.
It’s fine to be super strict to be sure and it’s fine to see strictness isn’t your style and anyway, if it works with a looser approach, why to try the hard way? If our method doesn’t work, we will think about making it stricter then, meanwhile we get used to this already drastic change.
Sometimes it’s not even possible to be strict right away, it’s unrealistic and the one in question feels horrible right away and escapes.

So it’s very individual. And it matters what is our problem. I could be VERY strict if it would be that or being sick, unwell or even dead. But as I feel quite okay out of ketosis and my weight is already borderline normal, I’m not in a great hurry. I want to enjoy the jorney and make my life as easy as possible.

(Kirk Wolak) #27

Shinita, this is why I say YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

I am at 5g carb/day or I can’t maintain ketosis! So I was one of those people who did 20g and nothing. Then had to cut and cut… I am 99% carnivore these days. It’s what works for my body.

And again, it depends on the person. The struggle is the number of newbies who do 20g of NET carbs, and don’t realize they are taking in 100g of carbs and eating 5-7 times a day, and not seeing results, then getting really frustrated and blaming the diet.

By definition, the Ketogenic diet does NOT have a limit on carbs below what your body needs to be in ketosis. I have a buddy who can do 40-50g of carbs a day and be there. And I mentioned my wife eats OMAD, whatever she wants, and is usually in ketosis. Never diets. Doesn’t need to.

That said. You know your progress is controlled by your diet. The looser you are, the longer it will take. But if that’s okay with you… Then have at it. I had over 100lbs to lose, and the faster I lost it, the better I felt.

My surprise was getting to maintenance and finding out that Target Weight <> Metabolically Healthy! So I continue to Fast, and keep on top of it. It will be with me for the rest of my life, and I am okay with that.

I don’t do Keto desserts, treats or snacks b/c they are over the top for me. But I have graduated to the point where a Keto Dessert is what I will have on Thanksgiving. I will let myself have some Keto Ice Cream, or what not… But only about 4 times a year! It’s not really food that my body needs. It’s comfort food that I enjoy eating. 2 Wildly different ideas.

Again, my point was that people should start strict. Then lessen it up to find their limits, and that is more or less what Phinney says…


Sorry, it will be a bit long and personal but sometimes I just can’t help it, I had to make things clear from my individual viewpoint.

I don’t think so. It may be true for some, of course. But many people doesn’t even need or should do keto… Do you say everyone need to be super strict even on this somewhat restricted diet for great progress, whatever it is? Hell no. And even if it’s true in some case, we should be realistic.
No, the looser I am, the later I quit… I started (and continued) with <40g net carbs keto as it was hard enough after my <80g years. I got fat adapted or more fat adapted, whatever, main thing is that my hunger drastically changed. Finally, I thought and quit right away (I do everything “wrong” :smiley: and have zero regrets while doing so) and ate my beloved vegetable dishes again. Now I can go lower and do keto longer and I barely eat vegetables even compared to the previous tiny amount on 40g but 20g net carbs, that’s tough. 20g total, forget it, for now, at least but if I’m fine with 100g carbs, why would I make my life worse, it doesn’t make sense to me.
I don’t really want much progress. Ketosis feels nice right away. I lost much of my excess fat way before keto easily and reached borderline normal weight though it’s not enough but not so bad. I need to eat less than previously to lose fat, sadly (much activity just doesn’t happened in the last several years when I tried) and keto helps but other things help even more (but they are totally powerless alone, therefore I do keto too). I am quite sure that my carb intake in keto has an insignificant effect on it (not like it matters, I gladly stay like this but I won’t suffer). I believe it’s not true for many others, we are different, I get it. I’m just super curious and changed enough so I do 20g net carbs tomorrow, probably and try to keep it low, maybe something interesting happens. It’s tricky on my personal diet but eggs will arrive tomorrow and those are just a bit carby. As long as it’s easy and nice and I don’t feel I miss anything, I gladly lower my carb intake to see if it’s better.

Desserts… I eat them for almost every meal (29 from 30, maybe?) from the beginning. I don’t consider it ideal but I badly needed them in the beginning (to get my nutrients and keeping my carbs low and keep my food being too boring), now it’s better but they still help and seem pretty harmless. I work on certain aspects, like sweeteners, I eat less and less of them and now even have “no sweeteners” days. It’s huge progress to me especially that I see no particular problem with some sweeteners and see most of them as food. Proper, nuitritious, protein rich food though not appropriate as a first or single course (for me. it may be a perfect meal for someone. it is, I live with such a person).
It’s not comfort food, I doubt I ever comforted myself with food or if I did, every tasty food is comfort food and I only eat tasty ones… I eat desserts for their taste and for variety too but my brownie today was a way to get some protein, calories and other nutrients into my body. I was not satiated and had no appetite or a better idea, the brownie was just perfect, the most satiation using the least amount of eggs (I run out of eggs and it’s my alpha and omega, my options are limited).

So, there are circumstances and people with interesting things and pasts and attitudes and monetary and moral and other restraints. Not everyone is a great candidate to do strict things, ever, without any need. Or making already very strict things like keto for them even stricter. Without any need.

Some people like you NEED to do strict things, that’s a totally different story, of course. But as you can’t have results with my attitude, I can’t even do keto with yours. And I know that many beginners would have an unnecessarily bad time with a too strict approach, probably many would quit keto. It would get much better and quicker results for others who benefit from being super strict though. I knew I must be loose. People may try out both or the one that seems better… It’s up to them. It’s good to know that some people need to be careful with total carbs, it’s really good information. But it might be unnecessary and bad for others.

(Kirk Wolak) #29

Well, we will agree on some points, and disagree on others. Hard and fast “general” rules are good and less confusing if people are consistent. You know what confuses some people? Hearing 20g, 50g, 40g and Net Carbs, total Carbs, Total Carbs - Fiber (but keep sugar alcohols)… It becomes absolutely everyones own personal approach.

So, when we define Keto, it really is as many carbs as you can tolerate to be in ketosis.

If you read my article: The Levers of Power (What to Measure, What to Control) to avoid stalling/stalls

I point out some hard truths.

I stand by my original quote. The looser you are, the slower you will progress. I also BELIEVE that if you are not measuring your Blood Ketones/Glucose levels you are not informing yourself as to how well you are doing… You are flying a plane without the instrument panel to tell you where you are at.

And that’s FINE for you. But it leads many to get into trouble.

Your description of eating things sounds a lot like comfort eating. You eat something because of how it will make you feel, or how you feel when you eat it. Vs. eating for satiation. Again, if it works for you, that’s great.

I don’t want to call you out, you do you! But Dr. Fung points out (rightfully so) that if you continue to use artificial sweeteners, you are maintaining the addiction. If you cannot give them up for 28 days, my attitude is that you are addicted to them.

My take on your comments is simple: “You are comfortable” with your way of doing this, and the progress you are having"… That’s fine, but trust me, you are choosing comfort.
Think about it. You basically say that. So that you can stick to it. Again. That’s fine.

Look, I ate nuts last week. I got a massive migraine because of it. I know better. But sometimes, you just have to cut loose. I get it. I just could not do it every day!

And I hope people come through, read these conversations and see that we can agree to disagree. That they can do keto their way. But if you are struggling, you should pay attention.

I helped someone who stalled for a while because of 2 Tbsp of HWC in his coffee… He refused to believe that little bit could cause a problem. He “read from others” that it was okay. In the end, it took a few days, and then his blood numbers improved, and the weight started coming off again… He added it back in, and immediately stalled. He learned how his body works. My neighbor. NO issues with it. Now the first gent is kinda stuck, but he is at a “comfortable place, down 75lbs”, while he could lose 20 more, he wont, because it takes a bit more effort than he is willing to give it. He said if it takes 5 more years, he is okay with that, as long as he can do what he is doing today…

I am so happy he is where he is. He will either get there are stay here. And I am here to help him if he wants to progress further or faster. Or support him in staying where he is. But he understands… The rules he follows differs from others who can get away with more. He can tolerate 20g of TOTAL carbs a day. he sees me and feels lucky. LOL

I wish you luck, I truly do. I hope the artificial sweeteners don’t derail you. But be warned. Many a people who fall off the wagon, speak of binging on Keto desserts. These things can trigger the same pleasure centers in the brain… Keeping the addiction alive. I like to say: Artificial Sweeteners are the gateway drug to Sugar! But that’s my opinion from reading and listening to people who failed and regained most or all of their weight!


Because for the majority of us our systems really do pass through the fiber and sugar alcohol based carbs. No need to make any way of eating any more restrictive than it has to be. The more needlessly restrictive, the more it becomes a “diet”.


And I still think it’s not necessarily true and what if one doesn’t want progress? I don’t even know what progress means for you.
And maybe I need to be stricter but in a totally different way, not restricting carbs even more. It’s just a single method and isn’t good for everyone and even if it good for someone, being too strict easily may be worse than being looser.

Yep and I’m perfectly fine with that. I couldn’t care less about my blood ketones and glucose levels, actually, as long as I feel fine, I mean. I surely won’t overcomplicate my life and ruin my mental health, tracking my macros is bad enough. Of course, others may need it or like it, I just say my life would become some weird hell and I would quit. I don’t even care much about ketosis except it has some tiny benefits I like to have right now.

Yep, each to their own, we agree.

Eating to satiation is exactly eating something because it will feel right and better… Sometimes I eat for joy but food can’t really comfort me… It has no such powers unless I am very hungry, it feels quite good then (but if I’m too hungry, it doesn’t feel good, just less bad).
Nowadays I definitely eat to get my nutrients and feel right. I don’t even have an appetite most of the time and it makes even more important to eat food I don’t refuse.

But Dr. Fung points out (rightfully so) that if you continue to use artificial sweeteners, you are maintaining the addiction. If you cannot give them up for 28 days, my attitude is that you are addicted to them.
I probably could if I had to, I just don’t do. But I don’t really care, what’s wrong with addictions? I have many and I’m okay with most of them. I’m open to changes but I won’t force them.

I don’t really disagree, I wrote I accept people are different, of course they are. But just because some people need to be strict, some people needn’t or MUSN’T. Because it would ruin things, not improve.
And I don’t talk about me, I proved that I can do strict things to some extent already. Some people needs to be way looser and find another way. Or they need a longer time to reach their final destination, it just can’t work quickly.

No, I hate sugar and while my body is forgiving, high-carb poisons me. I can’t go back. I left it about 9 years ago and I do low-carb for life, with the occasional higher-carb day.
Going out of ketosis is fine, I plan to do it in the future too. I do low-carb but preferably keto unless I realize it’s not good for me longer term.
Keto desserts are pretty boring after some time, actually. It took a long time in my case but if I cut them, what would I eat when I can’t stomach another egg? I will find some solution now and if it’s comfort, of course I don’t want to be starved and sick or nauseous!
But I sacrifized a lot of comfort and convenience already. I did serious sacrifices. I still need to enjoy my woe, I’m a hedonist but I find it unfair when people think I did nothing. Sometimes they do. I did vegetarian keto without lactose, soy and gluten while cooking meatless main dishes for me and a sweeth-toothed high-carber (the same dish, it’s convenient and totally not convenient at the same time) and keeping my inner hedonist alive and someone said I have no rules for eating at all. Yeah, sure. I even keep my fat intake low as I should and it’s NOT easy and nice at all. Eating as much fat as I wish, that would be comforting, maybe. But I don’t do it because it’s a bad idea all the time.

This topic always manage to make me emotional a bit :smiley: But it’s so hard :frowning: I mean, not easy, it’s enjoyable enough but tricky to do everything as I want them. Sometimes impossible, even. If I lower my carb limit, I can’t eat the food I cook for my SO, I sacrificed enough on that front. If I quit sweeteners, my carb intake goes up. Things are connected in an interesting way.