Good or bad


I’ve been following a keto diet plan for almost 6 months now with some excellent results. I was wondering is it a good or bad idea to go off the diet sometime and eat more than 20 grams of carbs per day? Say for meal one day, a day here and there or some other schedule where you don’t limit carb intake.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

I suppose that depends on whether you think glycation and oxidation are good for the body or not.

In any case, the body is pretty good at dealing with transient situations; it is chronic exposure that causes the long-term problems.

A more relevant question is what one’s motives are. If one is experiencing cravings, then yielding to the cravings is likely to lead to a binge. Many addicts find that abstinence from the addictive substance is the safest way to go.

(Chuck) #3

I believe it depends on the person and what your tolerance is. I have been doing this lifestyle since the first of this past September, I am down a little over 30 pounds. I fast 16 to 22 hours each day. My rule is no more than 50 total carbs and no more than 25 net carbs. I have to attempt I can go weeks with my net carbs below 8 and then have days with my net carbs close to 25. It depends on what my body is telling me.


The only reason I’m asking is because I’m sure there are many who follow a so called “normal” diet where they eat more than 20 carbs daily who don’t have health issues due to diet. It may be that they don’t load up on carbs however they eat more than the 20 grams daily.


I’ve never had a weight problem I do keto because I feel better and because I no longer have a 7.2 a1c. I still do get hungry at least 3 times a day though. And I wouldn’t binge on carbs

(Chuck) #6

My case is my weight and BP, I don’t have any other issues. At 75 I haven’t been in the hospital, or sick worse than a flu once or twice, and colds. My goal is simply to get my BP down and not need medication. My weight is now less than my 8 years in the Navy. But my doctor wants me to meet a normal BMI which means I still have almost 30 more pounds to lose. Once it reach that weight then I will experiment to see if I can be low carb and not so strict.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #7

It depends on how you define things. Many people are thin on a high-carb diet and don’t realise how metabolically damaged they are. There is a medical category called “TOFI,” which stands for “thin on the outside, fat on the inside.” The last statistics I saw showed that there were actually ten million more people in the U.S. who were TOFI, than there were who were obese and metabolically dysfunctional. So don’t let obesity be your guide to metabolic health or the lack thereof.

(Robin) #8

Totally up to you. Just keep in mind that carbs are what produce cravings for carbs/sugar. I don’t wanna deal with the cravings, since this is the first time in my life that I have none.


I am with the others, it depends on the person. How they handle carbs, how they eat carbs (how much, which ones), is it triggering etc.

I see zero problem in a higher-carb day here and there in my own life and it’s good as I have no power to keep them from happening.
But I train myself to minimize the severity and frequency of my off days. As I went off all the time before (I couldn’t not to and I wasn’t motivated to stay for long anyway, nothing noticeable got better from it) and it wasn’t ideal. Just here and there? Sounds perfect, the best what I can do. But it isn’t for everyone.

I don’t know what you mean here as the “normal” diet in most countries is unhealthy and high-carb. (For some people more than for others as “healthy” is individual to some extent.)
Some quite low-carb diet without sugar and a bunch of other thing is different, it’s probably pretty great for many. At some point. I liked my low-carb diet but it wasn’t good enough to be my final diet. It was merely my temporal best. But I can do better now. I can’t really talk about health here, just my feelings but if my body tastes lower-carb and stubbornly wants it afterwards, it hints at the earlier not being the best for it. Even if I felt healthy on every diet of mine. And I was, pretty much, I suppose but I want it as good as possible. Not getting sick or feeling bad isn’t good enough for me. I want to live over 130 years in good health. Even with good genes, I need to do my absolute best eating and exercise wise. (I am not doing that yet. But I am getting better because I stubbornly trying.)

(Allie) #10

Whatever works for you.


You may be asking the wrong crowd here. That said, I would consider what you are going off to eat.

Now if you are talking about a piece of nana’s pecan pie at Thanksgiving I don’t even think the most doctrinaire of the keto people (purists?) think you are doing much wrong.

Second, the 20 grams thing is a good guesstimate of what it takes for almost anyone to be in ketosis. Pretty sure big people, athletic people, others may be able to consume 50+ g and still remain in ketosis. I do know of an n=1 there (not me).

IMHO, if you are going off and eating excess salads, tomatoes, onions, berries, nuts or (gasp! horrors!) beans I don’t think you will have significant problems…YMMV. If you are planning pizza, French fries, donuts and the like I think your results will be much dicier.

But what do I know…

(Alec) #12

Here’s my experience… YMMV.

  1. I have eaten very close to zero carbs every day for 12 months.
  2. I feel better eating this way than any previous eating regime (and trust me, I’ve done quite a few!)
  3. I currently have no intention of moving away from the WOE that has healed me in a year, and has made me feel so fantastic.
  4. Am I occasionally tempted to have a different meal and eat some carbs? I can honestly say no… not yet. I have been 100% satisfied with my diet of beef, pork, ham, cheese, bacon, eggs, cream, cream cheese, chicken, lamb, fish, and butter. I do occasionally have some other foods, but very very small quantities… so small they are almost an irrelevance.
  5. So, my answer to your question from my current personal experience is no, stick to what you know works well for you. If that’s keto, stick to keto.
  6. There is no health requirement to eat carbs. They are not necessary.


An occasional half slice of toasted rye with lox cream cheese and onion. Tomatoes, red peppers in my salad. A couple pieces of sliced cantelope or honeydew melon. These are the things I would cheat with. Perhaps a spoonful of cheesecake once in a great while. I’m not prone to binging anymore.


Can someone address this issue?
There are those who follow a so called “normal” diet where they eat more than 20 carbs daily who don’t have health issues, don’t have diabetes, don’t have any health issues due to diet. Maybe they don’t load up on carbs however they eat more than the 20 grams daily and they’re fine.


People are different. My SO is thriving on his health-conscious HCHF diet. Because he is that type. No idea how human bodies can be that different but they are, we have different ideal diets. Low-carb is very bad for him, it doesn’t satiate him nearly as well as his carby diet and can’t even try it due to the very bad experiences. But why would he as high-carb works very well already?
Of course he is still young, 43 years old, this story will be more impressive some decades later. Still N=1, it says little about others. I probably could survive on HCHF as I did in my past, no noticeable health problem but I already know that my life quality would be a bit worse.
(Even if I used my knowledge and would do it WAY more healthier than I did back then. Way less sugar, mostly starches. Works way better for me.)

And of course many people are fine on low-carb but over 20g carbs. I was fine on low-carb then keto and it was way over that. It wasn’t ideal but I didn’t know it could get better before I went lower. Probably most people have no idea about it as he only knew what they have and if they are pretty healthy all the time, they may be happy with that and doesn’t want to change. My luck was that I got fat and wanted to change and then why not to figure out what is the healthiest diet for me?

(Bob M) #16

The 20g is only to ensure that the vast majority of people get into ketosis. I’ve eaten 90 grams of rice noodles in one meal and still produced ketones every time I took them. But I also ate that meal after lifting weights (my own body, some dumbbell) for 45+ minutes.

I was following someone on Twitter who lost over 80 pounds eating 80 grams or less of carbs per day. He lifted a lot and was jogging a lot though.

If you’re active, it makes it easier to eat a bunch of carbs.

But don’t confuse thin people with being healthy. For instance, people of Asian descent are nearly able to gain the weight people of European descent can, while being healthy.

Anyway, can you eat higher carbs, sure. Atkins idea was to increase your carbs until you no longer lost weight. If you’re thin already, though, that might not work. What I’d do is use blood pressure as a guide. Blood pressure is generally (not always) related to insulin. If you are eating more carbs and get higher blood pressure, then back off. (And I have no idea about a delay in eating carbs – does it cause higher blood pressure only over time? Not sure. We really need a pinprick insulin meter.

(Allie) #17

Everyone is different and our bodies have different tolerances.


Fat-loss may happen on high-carb too, why not? It’s all about the calories for many of us, how to keep our hunger in check is another thing. I can’t stand hunger and carbs made me hungry so it wasn’t for me. My SO is hungry even at maintenance but he just endures it, it’s not THAT bad. So he loses fat on HCHF with his usual sweets all the time (who eats them for almost every meal and in no small quantities? It’s much even to me and I love my desserts. but it’s just food in the end…). Exercise and skipping dinner is needed but fat-loss goes smoothly.

Health is another matter entirely. One can loses fat on almost any diet (if forced to it. not necessarily by their own will see me on high-carb, it just wouldn’t happen. not like I lose fat on keto so I am a bad example anyway).

80g carbs and lots of exercise easily may be still keto, it depends on the person…

Right. And even if they say they are healthy, maybe they aren’t. Some people think “oh I feel sluggish and this and that but surely everyone have it, it’s normal”. I was really fine on high-carb but when I went low-carb, I still felt better, I had no idea it can happen before… Some people truly feel fine BUT they are young with a still okay working body but the diet may do its slow damage and they will notice it later.

Still, there are older, fit, healthy people who ate high-carb all their life. So we know we don’t all get sick eventually on carbs but I don’t look at the not obviously sickly high-carber masses and they they are fine.

There are so many factors. Genes. Mental part. Exercise (it can mitigate even some eating problems, of course it has its limits and lack of nutrients can get even worse). The actual diet. High-carb diets are extremely different, the ones with being able to handle tons of carbs very well may do it in a quite healthy way - but in a horribly unhealthy way, of course. Keto can be healthy and very unhealthy too.

But that’s about zero carb for me… It depends on my fat intake…
And what about health? I want to feel the best, I am not happy with maintaining on high-carb while feeling worse…
Oh well, this thing is surely not for me, other people may understand.


I think some of this depends on where you started from healthwise. If you’re already showing signs of metabolic illness (or have in the past), then it’s different to someone who isn’t.

When I first started keto (well, LCHF as it was then), back when I was about 25, I remember seeing a graphic on Mark’s Daily Apple that was his ‘Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve’. I’ll link an article here: (this is very outdated and not his current advice)

It suggested 100-150g per day for maintenance, and 50-100g per day for effortless weight loss.

I ate around 50-60g a day and I did experience effortless weight loss, so as has been said - it’s very individual as to where your personal limit is, and 20g is not a hard and fast rule; it’s a general rule to get people started.

It’s interesting to me what both @robintemplin and @Alecmcq have said in this thread, because that’s my experience too. When I did that 50-60g limit all those years ago, I still had massive cravings - I enjoyed what I ate, but I was very aware that I was on a diet and that I couldn’t have things that I wanted.

Now, eating carnivore, I simply don’t have cravings for other foods. In all honesty, I don’t even perceive them as foods. I can objectively recognise that I used to enjoy them, but I don’t want them.


I think maybe stop focusing so much on the “other people do xyz and they are fine”.

For one, you mentioned having had an a1c of 7.2. It doesn’t sound like you are in the category of those people that do fine on the standard western diet.

Secondly, I am weary of the “and they are fine” claim. So many people have anxiety, metabolic disorders, inflammation, brain fog, mood and personality disorders, progressively eroding arteries, intestinal disorders, - and they all think they are fine because they are under a BMI of 26.

That doesn’t mean 20g carbs must be your forever limit. Increase gradually by say 5g every few months. Test your a1c etc every 3-6 months and monitor your blood glucose. You will know when things start shifting for the worse & therefore start to dial back.