How To Read Carbs For Keto & What Are Carbohydrates?

How many carbohydrates does this food have? And this supermarket product is keto? How much of this can I eat? And if it has a little sugar, will I be able to eat it? Fibre the rest, right? The erythritol that I bought has 99 carbs, how is that possible, it was not keto. Will this get me out of ketosis? Let’s discuss How To Read Carbs For Keto?

Today I am going to answer all your questions and I am going to teach you how to read labels to make it easier for you to organize your days and your carbohydrate count on the keto or low-carb diet.

Let’s make this clear a few basic principles before we start

What is the Keto Diet? It is a high-fat, moderate-protein, read low carbs keto food eating style.

What does it mean to be in ketosis? It means your body is creating ketones, burning fat for fuel instead of using glucose.

What are Macros?

 Macronutrients (macros) are groups of foods that our bodies need to function: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. In keto, they are usually divided into percentages so that our body can have enough energy and not get out of ketosis. The percentages that we must respect are 75% of the calories in the form of fats, 20% of the daily calories in the form of protein, and 5% of the daily calories in the form of carbohydrates. 

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches, and fibers found in almost everything we eat (flour, sugar, rice, honey, legumes…). Its main function is to provide energy. The body has a preference for carbohydrates as it is very easy to convert them into energy. However, it is very fleeting and limited energy since when the body uses all the carbohydrates that you have consumed, it stays in “fuel reserve” mode. That is why when we consume them in large quantities we feel a spike in energy followed by a hit of fatigue, lethargy, and tiredness. 

What is a net carbohydrate?

It is a way of counting that the ketogenic diet has to differentiate the carbohydrates that are going to cause a spike in glucose and therefore possibly get us out of ketosis and those that are going to pass through our body without affecting it in any way. As we have said before, carbohydrates can be sugars, starches, and fibers. Fiber is a carbohydrate that does not cause any kind of impact on blood sugar levels, so we should not count it. The same thing happens with a type of carbohydrate called polyalcohol, which is “keto sugars” that do not raise glucose levels either. Therefore, read to keto to calculate net carbs we must do the following subtraction:


How many carbohydrates can I eat a day to stay in ketosis? The recommended amount of grams of carbohydrates per day is 20-25g (5% of daily kcal), however, it can vary depending on your level of physical activity and how long you have been on the diet. 

How do I know how many carbohydrates a food has?

How do I know how many carbohydrates a food has?
How do I know how many carbohydrates a food has?

We are going to divide this question into 2 broad categories: fresh unpackaged foods and packaged foods.

Fresh food: Here I include everything that is not packaged: meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit… To find out how many carbohydrates a fresh food has, you have 3 options:

  1. Search Google directly: put for example “blueberry carbohydrates “
  2. Put the food in a macro measurement app such as my fitness pal or fat secret. Personally, it is the option that I like the least because the food data is entered by the users and usually has errors.
  3. Search in some official database. I always look at the USDA FOOD DATA CENTRE 

Packaged Foods: All packaged foods have a label on the back that puts all the nutritional information. There you will find the line of carbohydrates (now we go into more detail).

What foods have 0 carbohydrates?

To make your life easier, here is a list of foods with 0 carbohydrates:

  1. Fats: olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, ghee, animal fat, avocado oil…
  2. Fresh meat: veal, chicken, pork, lamb…
  3. Fish.
  4. Salt, pepper, and spices.
  5. Keto sweeteners: erythritol, stevia, monk fruit.
  6. Simple or zero drinks: Water, coffee, tea, sparkling water, “Zero” drinks.
  7. Pure alcohol: gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, brandy, cognac. 

Another food that has zero carbohydrates is cheese. In all its colors and types. However, if you buy it grated from the supermarket, they usually bring extra carbohydrates since they add a lot of potato starch so that the cheese does not stick and it is more “presentable”. That is why I always recommend buying it whole and grating it at home. 

How is it possible to measure carbohydrates all the time?

Don’t worry, it’s just a bit tricky at first. When starting out, many people choose a certain number of low-carb foods to combine “without limit” to keep things simple. And over time you already know more or less the number of carbohydrates in the foods you like the most, so the count is done practically automatically. Also, since I know how horrible the count is, at the end of all my recipes I leave you all the MACROS for the entire recipe and for each portion of each one of them.  

How to read labels on keto?

I’ll start by telling you that not all labels are the same and vary depending on the country. This information is super important, so pay attention:

If the product has been purchased in the EUROPEAN UNION: the carbohydrates that appear on the label already have the fiber subtracted, so it should be subtracted, if any, the polyols. European legislation “forces” to put the fiber in a separate line already subtracted so that the consumer can see it directly.

There are no negative carbohydrate foods.

If a food comes out with a “negative” net carb count, you’re doing something wrong because it’s not possible. Food cannot subtract carbohydrates from your day. 

In this case, I imagine that you will be subtracting the fiber when it is already subtracted and that is why it comes out negative… but keep an eye on it because it is impossible.


The ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates and substitutes lipids in their place. The body enters a condition called ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. A person following the keto diet consumes a lot of meals that are high in fat and very low in carbohydrates. Various fruits, vegetables, bread, beans, and legumes are foods that are not allowed on keto. Sugars in food are known as carbs, and they provide energy in the form of calories. Starch, fiber, and sugar alcohols are all forms that fall under this category. 

Must-read net carbs for keto dieters allow you to eat a wide variety of nutritious, densely fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Following read net carbs keto, you will enjoy different varieties of food without exceeding your net carb. You can include more nutrient-dense foods on a low-carb diet if you use net-carb calculations, keeping your overall carbohydrate intake low, and making your body capable of absorbing them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many carbs are allowed on the keto diet?

Usually, keto dieters restrict their daily carbs to 20–50 grams. While some keto dieters track their total daily carbs, others track net carbs. Net carbohydrates are total carbohydrates minus fiber. Fiber is indigestible, which means your body cannot break it down and absorb it.

What distinguishes total carbs from net carbs?

Total carbohydrates comprise all the various types of carbs in a food or meal, which is the main distinction between total carbs and net carbs. These consist of sugars, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates. The amount of carbohydrates converted to glucose by the body is referred to as “net carbs.”

How can I determine how many carbohydrates I’m consuming?

Decide how many calories you need each day, then divide that amount in half. The recommended number of calories from carbohydrates is that amount. Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram. The result is the number of carbohydrates you require daily, expressed in grams.

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