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Keto Weight Loss Stall: Are You Having Too Many Carbs?

As a general rule you should be consuming 20 grams of net carbs on a Ketogenic Diet each day. That is a good place to start as it keeps the fundamental rule of carbohydrate restriction in your mind with an easy to remember number – A BIG FAT 20 GRAMS OF CARBS! However, I would contend that this quota of daily carbs needs revisiting if you are experiencing a weight loss plateau.

Realistically, how can a 20 gram carbohydrate rule apply to everyone no matter their gender, height, or carbohydrate tolerance.. Doesn’t quite add up, right? That’s because it doesn’t!

Let’s compare the 20 gram net carb rule on the Ketogenic Diet with the Ketogenic macro nutrient percentage recommendations below:

Ketogenic Macros Nutrient Percentages

This indicates that 5% or less of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. But what is 5% when translated to carbohydrate grams?

The answer is, it depends on how many calories you allow yourself on the Ketogenic Diet. So lets work this out by examples:

Say you start your Ketogenic Diet with a plan to consume 1600 calories per day. There are 9 calories in a gram of fat, 4 calories in a gram of protein and 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate (not including fibre indigestible fibre).

Your Keto diet macro nutrient grams break down as follows:

Fat calculation = 1600 calories * 0.75 (for 75%) / 9 (calories in a gram of fat) = 133 grams of fat per day!

Protein calculation = 1600 calories * 0.20 (for 20%) / 4 (calories in a gram of protein) = 80 grams of protein per day!

Carbohydrate calculation = 1600 calories * 0.05 (for 5%) / 4 (calories in a gram of carbohydrate) = 20 grams of carbs per day!

Voila! Perfect! So if you are on precisely 1600 calories per day, 20 grams of net carbohydrates on the Ketogenic Diet each day would be ideal.

But what if you plan to eat 1200 calories per day. Now things become interesting!

Here is how your macros work out:

Fat calculation = 1200 calories * 0.75 (for 75%) / 9 (calories in a gram of fat) = 100 grams of fat per day!

Protein calculation = 1200 calories * 0.20 (for 20%) / 4 (calories in a gram of protein) = 60 grams of protein per day!

Carbohydrate calculation = 1200 calories * 0.05 (for 5%) / 4 (calories in a gram of carbohydrate) = 15 grams of carbs per day!

Oh dear! So for someone planning to eat 1200 per day, you may be eating too many carbs, and if you are experiencing a weight loss plateau then this could be the reason. On the other hand if you are at this calorie/carbohydrate level but still losing weight, then this indicates that you have a higher carbohydrate tolerance so should continue doing what you are doing!

If you are experiencing a weight loss plateau then I suggest you look to the more accurate 5% rule rather than the 20 gram carbohydrate rule and see if this resolved your stalling issues.

For your convenience, I have taken my shoes and socks off so I could calculate the entries in the following Ketogenic Diet Macro Nutrient Grams table. This table tells you how many grams of carbohydrate you should be consuming based on your calorific level on the Ketogenic Diet:

Ketogenic Macro Nutrient Intake Based On Daily Calorie Allowance

You can also see from this chart that if you plan to eat 2500 calories per day on the Ketogenic Diet then you can have up to 31 grams of net carbs and still lose weight.

The point is, there are a lot of things that can cause a weight loss stall, but lets make sure that we have the fundamentals of the Ketogenic Diet right before looking at all the other possible reasons for your weight loss plateau.

Next, this discussion begs the questions:

“How Many Calories Should You Have on the Ketogenic Diet?”


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