Do all carbs have the same effect?

(Eve) #1

To be in ketosis, we need to be under 20g carbs per day. And obviously those carbs can come from animal or plant sources. So, ignoring the junk food carbs (which aren’t proper food!) does anyone notice different impacts on the body depending on whether you are getting your carbs from just animal or whether it is also from a few veg, nuts, etc. I am wondering whether a few grams of veg carbs , even though l am staying below the 20g maximum, are not as good for me as the same number of grams but coming from non veg sources. Any experiences of this ?


That’s not true, I am in ketosis below 40-45g net, some other can go way higher and some very unlucky ones must stay lower than 20g but that’s very rare. 20g is a nice safe enough number in general, yes, no wonder it’s the common idea for keto in many places. (Keto isn’t so known in my country but whenever I read about it here, it was 50, maybe 30g carbs, never 20. It’s not good as even I am not in ketosis at 50…)

It was just a little correction but let’s see the main thing. Definitely yes, I experience differences and often write about them.
I don’t feel animal sugar. 3g or 20g? Feels the same.
1-2g carbs from plants is still nothing but 10-20, I feel it. I don’t get unwell or anything but it’s still some tiny negative change. At least if it’s simple sugar. I start to feel the effect of starches when I eat bigger amounts but 100g easily causes sugar poisoning in me. Sometimes. My results aren’t very consistent (though I experienced a limit around 80g net carbs, I have this since I went low-carb, I can’t be above long term by my own will if I have an option not to as it actually makes me feel somewhat unwell). It matters WHAT I eat the carbs with. Simple sugar all alone is the absolute worst, a few grams may feel bad. Wait no, very low-quality high-processed sugary food (something I never would buy but sometimes meet elsewhere and try it as I don’t know it’s that bad yet), that’s the worst, even my health-conscious high-carber SO who eats lots of natural sugar feels bad tasting it. It seems the human body is smart enough to complain after we give it something very inferior after better, healthier times.

But I wouldn’t worry about a few or several grams of veg carbs if you don’t feel bad at all and stay in ketosis. I keep it as low as comfortably possible (not hard, my carbs come from almost anywhere but from vegs… I lost interest in them before I tried carnivore, you see. I was a huge veggie lover and got about 25g net carbs from them on keto) but I have my reasons. I already reach 20g on carnivore sometimes (without milk. with milk, 40g happens occasionally*) and ketosis isn’t good enough for me. I believe I need extreme low net carbs from non-animal products.

*I often wonder if lots of lactose is okay for me. I don’t feel anything bad and my over 20g days are very rare… I just don’t know. I usually have a few grams from dairy per day, it seems to be fine. My non-dairy days feel the same but I would horribly miss my dairy items longer term. As we know, many people should be more careful with dairy, some should cut them. But we who aren’t sensitive…? IDK. Maybe it’s individual if we feel some negative carb effects due to a higher sugar consumption from dairy. I try to eat dairy in moderation but not primarily because of their carb content, I have better reasons.
I simply can’t go over 20g carbs a day with only eggs and liver and other non-dairy carnivore items so I totally don’t worry about them but they feel very proper food anyway.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #3

Meat doesn’t contain much carbohydrate, just whatever glycogen might have been contained in the muscle tissue.

Dairy products often contain a fair amount of sugar, mostly lactose and galactose. Galactose is a monosaccharide, but lactose is a disaccharide, consisting of a molecule of glucose and a molecule of galactose bonded together. The glucose, of course, acts on the body like glucose from any other source, which is why people on a ketogenic diet tend to avoid milk and stick to heavy cream (which is almost entirely fat), butter (which is entirely fat), and aged cheeses (in which the lactose and galactose have been consumed by the bacteria involved in the cheese-making).

Apart from certain sugars (saccharides), carbohydrates are glucose molecules bonded together in various ways. If we have enzymes that can break those bonds, then we call the carbohydrate digestible, if we lack the enzymes to digest a particular carbohydrate, then we call it fibre.

There is a lot of debate about how valuable plant foods are in the human diet, and I doubt the issue is really settled. We argue about it occasionally on this site. Opinions range from “plants are much more nutritious than meat” to “plants are trying to kill us.”

But what is definitely known is as follows: The human races appears to have evolved to eat meat and primarily meat. We can definitely handle a certain amount of plant food, but too much appears to be a problem. However, it is possible to do well on a vegan keto diet, although it takes careful planning and supplements. A vegetarian keto diet is easier to manage, especially if one is willing to eat eggs, dairy products, and fish. And the other extreme, zero-carb/carnivore, is also possible. The problem comes when we eat so much glucose/carbohydrate that our insulin rises to the point where it starts causing damage. This amount of carbohydrate each person can tolerate is different, depending on that person’s circumstances. Our recommendation of 20 g/day is a good place to start, but your actual carb limit may be higher, or even possibly lower than that.

I hope this helps, and sorry to be so long-winded.


ok the above is I am carnivore, off all plant matter and key being, I require this. I need off plants cause I know what ‘few veg I can eat safely for my body’ but I also think, why bother. Like I can eat mushrooms and be fine, no guts issues etc but I can’t tough green crap like leafy etc cause that goes thru my guts at warp speed so I do know I can eat ‘a bit of brocc’ and ‘do ok’ but in the end for me, I dumped it all cause I also found NO value in eating it. I am one ‘who can be carnivore’ and do wonderful and thrive…but I also know a few items I can eat but again, I say why? not something I require.

So who are you and where do ya wanna land? Experience in your personal eating shows you just this!

Yes carbs between plant matter and only meat source carbs are way different for body effect. Always will be. Meat source carbs like a few in eggs, or a few carbs in shrimp etc is carbs ‘based’ in a more non-inflammatory vehicle…but if you eat ‘taters’ you are now eating carbs ‘based on non meat sources’ that ‘can work against the body in toxin levels and will store water weight’ back onto the body.

darn it, I had a good reference and can’t find it for reading…back later to try to explain more.

yes where your carbs come from do mean a diff. on how the body processes them but ‘some plant carbs’ one does well on, gets results and is flourising means your body is ok on those types of plant carbs, which is like why Keto people do so well on their plans, they can eat what they like in the veg world and do fine, cause they KNOW what works for them and what works against them.

It takes time to find you on how the carbs effect ya from what food source…and just time to find where you will land on what long long term food gives results as you want and works for your lifestyle. One can’t actually rush that in a way but we all wanna rush that result…LOL

(Chuck) #5

Being under 20 carbs isn’t always true I manage it with being under 70. It all depends on the person.


what he means is ‘being in active ketosis’ and usually it takes 20-30g carbs to put ones body in 'active burning ketones ‘ketosis’ and one who eats ‘lower carb’ like 70g and functions well is not probably ever in ‘active ketosis’ and not using ketones produced for fuel…but functions well on a lower glucose driven body fuel.

In 20-30g we know we are ketone driven fuel bodies.
In above that and into the 70g range the body is glucose driven…but still ‘low carb/low sugar’ intake and that can still work very very well for millions out there.

So it is Ketone body fuel vs. Glucose body fuel when it comes to ‘being on Keto plan’ and wanting to be a ketone burning body vs. a glucose burning body.

(Chuck) #7

I understand that I managed it with being under 50 for a couple of weeks. Again it depends on the person, I have never been diabetic, and most cases close to hyperglycemia. I have actually raised my glucose levels while fasting by being low carb.


again, there is a ketone driven fuel source which one wants long term, not intermittent, which anyone can do at any time, lower all carbs to lower and you produce more ketones and it works that way as in an up and down fuel source then…the body jumping from ketone burn it can make a few and then burns off the glucose as the more main source. Normal.

Doesn’t depend on the person, your body will thru science and physicology flip to ketone burn and production if there is an absense of carbs.

But one who wants ‘ONLY ketone driven fuel source MUST stay in that lower range of carb intake only to never allow the glucose fuel source to kick in…hence the Keto diet plan and its’ recommendations to stay in the 20g-30g range to always and forever keep the body in a ketone fuel state.

What you are doing is suiting you extemently well…more power to ya doing the right thing for you on how it works for ya but simple science on what ketones fuel and glucose fuel burns mean are different.

(Chuck) #9

Sorry I disagree I have read a number of books from ketogenic doctors that treat patients and have done so for a number of decades.
It all depends on the person, we have to find what works for us is right, and not one size fits all. The 20 carb limit was originally designed for treating kids with epilepsy and later found as a treatment for certain blood cancers.
Too many carbs is bad for digestive health, and for some of us like me there is a fine line between too many carbs and not enough. While I live meat and dairy I can’t live on it my digestive system just won’t take it, it is worse for me than a high carb diet. But then a high carb diet is fatting and causes me to have skin rash and skin breakouts. I have family members that are type 2 diabetes that are skinny as a fence post and also the ones that are obese. I was an obese hyperglycemia myself. I am now just overweight and my lab work is wonderful. I am also see a few of my family members making rapid progress on low carb, getting free from the medications and symptoms of diabetes just after a few months of eating less carbs.
I don’t knock anyone that goes to full keto or even full meat and dairy it all depends on the person. My conversations with my family was simple, you can try what I am doing and modify it to manage your own needs. My wife tried it and found due to her lack of a full stomach and intestines she can’t handle low carb. Due to basically no real digestive track she lives on infusions of the nutrients she needs.

(Eve) #10

Thanks for all the replies which are, as always, very interesting. Once again going to show how different our bodily requirements are. Nevertheless, from what you have been saying, different carbs will have different effects, even whilst staying in ketosis. And so it is just up to me to figure what works best!

(Mike Levine) #11

I have to look at carb consumption and bodily effect as a continuum. Every “body” responds differently.

background: December 2022 = 289lbs pre-diabetic and inflamed
In December 2022, I started a very low-carb Keto protocol at 50g/net carbs. I gained weight.

In January 2023, I changed protocols and removed all inflammation-causing “foods” (carbs) and now focus on animal protein and fats (animal & olive oil) exclusively and having great success. Metabolic syndrome markers are all normal, I’ve lost 40+ lbs and no longer need a seatbelt extender on airplanes.

I think that tailoring your food intake based on how much and what type of carbs you eat will work for general metabolic health in most. Getting enough animal protein and fat for weight loss and weight gain works. For weight gain, combine additional muscle-building exercise and boost your protein, which generally seems to work for most.


absolutely agree.

but a ‘ketogenic body burn’ or a ‘glucose driven body burn’ for fuel is pure science. Has nothing to do from books from gurus at all. Your body burns fuel…either it is ketones only, or glucose only…or both depending in a way if one is more ‘ketogenic eating’ for 4-5 days in a row, more ketones will burn, and then they go off during the weekend and eat more carbs, the body will burn the glucose and be glucose driven. Pure science on that.

but you are right…you found ‘your personal critical carb limit’ that works for you.

Dr, Atkins from the old days had that call early on :slight_smile: Eat ketogenic to put yourself into ketosis, burn only ketones thru Induction phase then you week by week add back 5g of carbs from plant sources. If 1 wk upping carbs you do fine, great…next week try another 5g and walk ‘up the carb ladder’ and there is that ‘critical carb limit’ where one starts to crave foods, blood sugars get higher etc. and one starts to gain weight and this is where they need to then, back off 5g of carbs in a week to see if the weight gain and bad food issues stop and then one can find their ‘critical carb limit’. You found yours and that is always a good thing!

but science is science on the fuel body source burn.

Now how one ‘puts that into action’ in their own bodies in relation to eating carbs is personal for sure.

(Chuck) #13

I have been thinking about what you just said, I haven’t measured the ketones in a while until this morning and I am still in the range I was in at the end of the first month on the diet. Back then I was pushing myself to no more than 20 carbs per day, and some days 0 carbs. This last month which included the cruise my carbs have varied from just over 100 to as low as 10. This week my carbs are averaging 25. I love lots of variety in my diet. I don’t eat eats but a few times a week. I make my own smoothies, and I plan them to meet my carb goal for the day as I also plan what I am eating the whole day. Now I even did that when on the cruise because the menus were posted ahead of time. I eat 2 meals a day most days one of those meals is my smoothie. I have planned real food snacks, never anything from a processed food package. I never eat bread or oatmeal, nothing with oats or wheat. On rare occasions for a treat I will eat a small portion of baked potato, never more than a third of an average potato. Fat comes from heavy cream, coconut, olive oil, butter, lard. My carbs normally are leafy green vegetables. I use avocado in my smoothies. We are all different, I have even read a book that gets little recognition that talks about eat for the blood type. That would mean I would be a vegetarian, while I love eating vegetables, I would never forever just eat vegetables. I love my meat. Keto science or not is still debated and seems to be pushing by the ones that think of it as almost a religion. I know that I need to keep my carbs low but I haven’t found that absolute limit yet. But I know this my body likes and is determined to stay in a certain weight range, even while it is still slimming down. Be off of the diuretic that I was on for decades and forcing my body to starve for water is now history. Every thing about me that was dry is no long dry. My skin has mot texture my eyes water and tear something they haven’t done in decades. I could go on and on. My BP is low normal now, without medication and a diet heavy in salt. I am still overweight and more than likely will never see a normal weight by the BMI standards. I am 6 foot, 207, my waist is down to 34, and at 75 years old and with my ancestry that is an amazing waist size.

(Chuck) #15

Then explain why our ancestors at berries and fruit that was in season? Yes I believe certain carbs is totally not needed and those carbs aren’t even naturally occurring carbs they were created in some chemical labs.
I believe there are some real foods that we can eat to be satisfy, others that will trigger our hormones to want more, and then there are the unnatural stuff that the industry calls food that is unhealthy and created to trigger is to crave that junk. If you want to eat nothing but meat do it. For me growing up on the farm I understand there is healthy vegetables and fruits but also understand that there is a safe and unsafe amount of everything we do and eat.


I am with Chuck here, our ketosis carb limit is quite individual, it’s very obvious from many people’s experience.
It matters if we use up the few carbs before we eat some more again, surely…

But I am fine with my attitude too: I don’t care about ketosis. I care about health and feeling just right, mentally and physically. And different people needs vastly different carb ranges (and types) for that.

For many ketoers, yes. Not necessarily for others.
I enjoyed on/off keto very much, it was/is my ideal woe :slight_smile: Not like I have any chance to stick to keto so it doesn’t even matter how good that is. But I tried, nothing was better than going on/off, it was just too restrictive and that’s not hedonistic. (As my body prefers being very low non-animal net carb, I do try to be close to carnivore most of the time, as much as comfortably possible. Restricting myself would be a bad deal, not physically, probably but mentally, emotionally. But ketosis and not ketosis felt very nearly the same when I couldn’t go really go yet. It wasn’t worth it to stay in ketosis as I got no benefit beyond fat adaptation.)

There surely is :slight_smile: It’s possible it’s not such a thing for you. And yes, carb isn’t essential, it’s way too important for that so the body handles the need without eating it.
But so many people still feels much better eating carbs. They should do that and not suffering on extreme low-carb just because some people consider that the best.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #17

Actually, it is an on-off state. The body is metabolising either fatty acids or glucose.

The prevailing metabolic state is determined by the insulin level. Ralph De Fronzo and his team have shown that the switch occurs at a serum insulin level just below 25 μU/mL. Below that, fatty acid metabolism prevails, above that glucose metabolism. How much carbohydrate someone can safely eat and still stay below the threshold is variable, both from person to person and over time in the same individual. The degree of insulin-resistance is a big part of it, since a higher insulin response means that one has to eat less carbohydrate in order to keep insulin under the threshold.

Bikman also talks about this in his lectures and interviews.

(Bob M) #18

Not sure about this. Saw a study where they did muscle biopsy after giving radioactive labeled glucose for people in ketosis. They found both glucose and ketones in muscle, which to them meant they both were being used at the same time.

Doesn’t look like I downloaded the study, though. I was going to put it in the “Science” part here, but it was a really complex study. And of course I can’t find it now.

(Chuck) #22

I will repeat myself we are all different with different ancestry. And while I believe in meat and dairy it isn’t something I can see myself only eating. If that is what you desire all fine and good for you. I am finding what works best for myself.

(Eve) #23

So does this mean that depending on how low the carbs are, the benefits of ketosis will vary i. e. 25 g of carbs in ketosis will not be as beneficial health wise as 15g of carbs in ketosis? If so, the lower the carbs the better, not just whether a person is in or out of ketosis?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #24

Since we are either in ketosis or not, I don’t see how the amount of carbohydrate makes any difference in that sense, so long as the total amount is low enough for us to remain in ketosis.

On the other hand, there are issues with plant foods that might make them less than ideal for your body (that is, after all, why many people have to go carnivore). But that is a separate, and very contentious issue, and is not related to the question of staying in ketosis or not.