One of the core, fundamental principles of the ketogenic diet is keeping carbohydrate intake extremely low.
The purpose of keeping carbs low is so your body can start using fats for energy instead of relying on glucose from carbohydrates. This is also known as being in a state of ketosis.
But that doesn’t mean you have to completely remove all carb sources from your diet.
In this Keto Beginners Series, we’re going to talk about the carb sources you are allowed to eat on the low carb, high fat ketogenic diet.
How Many Carbs Can You Have on Keto?
Everyone has slightly different levels of carbohydrate restriction on the ketogenic diet. While some people can get away with eating more while staying in ketosis, others may need to be more restrictive.
Most ketogenic diet guidelines recommend you stay between 25 - 60g of net carbohydrates per day.
Net carbohydrates = Total Carbohydrates - fiber - sugar alcohol
In general, if you’re a very active person who exercises 4 to 5 times a week, you can consume more carbohydrates without any repercussions.
But if you live a sedentary lifestyle and overweight, we encourage you to keep carb intake as low as possible.
Carbohydrates to Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet
There are certain foods that contain extremely high amounts of carbohydrates that should be avoided at all costs.
During your ketogenic journey, avoid high-carbohydrate foods including: fruits, pasta, potatoes, chocolate bars, donuts, candy, soda, juice, rice, and bread.
List of Carbs You Can Consume on Keto
Now that you understand which foods should be avoided at all costs, let’s talk about the best ketogenic-friendly carb sources you can still incorporate into your diet plan.
Some of the foods listed below still contain some carbohydrates so it’s best not to overdo it especially if you’re a beginner.
#1. Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate
Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are great alternatives to eating sugary chocolate bars. They’re a great source of antioxidants and it’s even considered a “superfood” because they contain essential nutrients to help you stay healthy.
Dark chocolate also has flavanols which has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering your blood pressure.
It’s important to only consume dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa or more. Anything less usually contains other higher carbohydrate ingredients that could potentially interrupt ketosis.
Tip: A great low-carb snack you can make with cocoa powder or dark chocolate is a keto fat bomb. Simply add cocoa powder into a bowl with almond butter and coconut oil and put it in the microwave until it becomes a consistent liquid. Then, place it in the freezer for half an hour and now you have a tasty, sweet low-carb snack!
#2. Low-Carb Vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are low in both calories and carbohydrates and have a high nutrient value, making it the perfect keto-friendly carb source.
Most veggies contain fiber which means they don’t count towards your daily net carbohydrate goal.
You can consume large amounts of the following low-carb veggies on keto:
Avocados should be a staple in everyone’s ketogenic diet. They are high in essential vitamins and minerals including potassium and magnesium.
Avocados make the keto-adaptation phase much easier because you’re replenish your body with the essential minerals it excretes during the initial fat-adaptation stage.
One avocado only contains 2g of net carbs per serving, making it the perfect ketogenic-approved fruit!
Most other fruits are too high in carbohydrates so they should be removed but berries are the one exception.
Berries are both low in carbs and high in fiber.
These fruits are packed with antioxidants and have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory effects and protect against disease.
Remember, they still have carbs so try to keep your berry consumption in moderation.
#5. Shirataki Noodles
Shirataki noodles are great for keto-ers who miss eating pasta. These noodles contain less than 1g of carbs because they’re mostly water.
You can get them at your local health food store as a fettuccine, linguine, or rice shape.
If you want to make a pasta dish, substitute normal pasta for shirataki noodles for a delicious low-carb meal!
Research has found that olives can help prevent bone loss, reduce inflammation, protect cells from damage, and even decrease blood pressure.
Half of the carbs from olives are fiber so they make for a great carb source on keto.
A 14g serving of olives only contains 1g of total carbohydrates. This means around 7 olives come out to 1g of carbs!
A Little Preparation Will Guarantee You Stay Low-Carb on Your Ketogenic Journey
While your carb cravings may feel very intense as a beginner on keto, keep in mind that this is only temporary until your body gets used to becoming an efficient fat-burner.
By replacing high-carb sources with the low-carb foods listed above, you’ll provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to thrive.
Consuming these low-carb sources will also help you stay full so your cravings are drastically reduced!
Carb Manager is the easiest and most powerful way to count carbs and live the low carb life. In this blog, we've invited experts on LCHF to contribute their views on everything low carb.