Keto diet: What is it and how many carbs do I eat per day?

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The popular keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into ketosis, the process in which your body burns fat, rather than carbohydrates, for fuel. 

By “drastically reducing” the intake of carbs and replacing those carbs with fat, people on the keto diet force their bodies into ketosis, which makes their bodies “incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy,” according to Healthline. 

The website says there are at least four versions of the keto diet that sometimes allow for more carbs or protein at specific times. According to Healthline, the “standard” keto diet is made up of 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs. 

However, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, most advocates for the keto diet recommend that between 5% and 10% of total daily calories should come from carbs, while 70% to 80% should come from fat and 10% to 20% should come from protein. 

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On a 2,000-calorie diet, that breaks down to about 40 grams of carbs, 165 grams of fat and 75 grams of protein, Harvard says. According to the school, carb intake on the keto diet can even be as low as 20 grams of carbs a day. 

The popular keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into ketosis, the process in which your body burns fat for fuel, rather than carbohydrates. (iStock)

According to the Mayo Clinic, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbs should make up between 45% and 60% of your calorie intake each day. On a 2,000-calorie diet, that breaks down to 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day, the Mayo Clinic said.

Some advocates of the keto diet claim it can help people lose weight, lower their appetite and improve mental focus, according to Ketogenic.com.

Most advocates for the keto diet recommend that between 5 and 10% of total daily calories should come from carbs, while 70 to 80% should come from fat and 10 to 20% should come from protein. (iStock)

However, the keto diet was scored 2 out of 5 and was ranked 37th out of 40 by a panel of health experts for the U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of best diets for 2022. The health experts also scored the keto diet as 1.9 out of 5 on the healthiness scale. 

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According to the report’s description of the keto diet, the cons of the diet are that it has a “strict carb limit” and “can seem extreme.” Meanwhile, the benefits of the diet, according to the panelists, is that fatty foods are embraced and it “can cycle in and out.”

The panelists did rank keto in fourth place for its list of Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets of 2022.

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