Went Over Your Carbs On Keto: What Happens & What To Do Now

The one thing that always shocks people who are hearing about Keto for the first time is the extremely low limit of the Net Carbs allowed per day. (Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber)

People are always like: I can only eat this much carbs? So what happens I go over it?

If you go over your carb limit once and your body is flexible enough to handle it, nothing happens. If your body can’t handle it, you might get kicked out of ketosis. Moreover, if you’re doing this repeatedly, you might start gaining weight, especially if your overall calories are also increased.

In short, what determines what happens is how much overboard you went, how much your total calorie intake is, how long you have been in ketosis, and to what to degree your body is fat-adapted.

So whether you are just collecting info before you start the diet or if you’re on Keto and have gone over the carb limit and want to know whether or not you got kicked out of Ketosis, what the best thing you can do now is and how to avoid making the same mistake again, this article is for you.

What Is The Carb Limit on the Keto Diet?

The carb limit is the number of carbs you can eat on a daily basis that keeps you in the state of Ketosis. What we should be looking at is the net carbs, which equals Total Carbs – Fiber. The Carb Limit most researchers find works is between 20-50g of net carbs per day.

This range works for most people I know. There’s, unfortunately, no one magical number I can give you that will be perfect for you because each body is different. I always suggest you try out different things and different numbers to kind of know your body and know how to best serve it.

That being said, I went on to monitor and survey countless Keto dieters in-person, on online forums, and on social media groups, and the number of net carbs that I concluded works for most people is around 20g per day. Many people can’t even tolerate that and go well below it, while others go well beyond and report no issues whatsoever. So again, it comes down to you, your metabolism, fat adaptation, and the level of insulin sensitivity you have.

What Is “Too Many Carbs”?

While a good range of 20-50g of carbs per day can be convenient to shoot for, another interesting question that can cross your mind is what does that even mean? What does it look like?

That’s why I’ve compiled multiple lists for you consisting of the most popular keto foods, each with its carb content to make it easier for you to know how many carbs you’ve consumed and to also plan the appropriate amount of these foods to can consume in the future.

FoodServing SizeNet Carbs
Beef (grounded, 85% lean)100g0g
Chicken Breast1 cup (140g)0g
EggsOne Large, Boiled Egg (50g)0.6g
Cottage Cheese1 ounce (28g)0.8g
Ricotta Cheese1/4 cup (25g)0.75g
Milk1 cup (240 ml.)12g
Almond Milk1 cup (240 ml.)1g
Mozzarella Cheese100g3.1g
Black Beans100g12.9g

Some nuts:

FoodServing SizeTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Almonds1 ounce (28g)6g3.5g2.5g
Almond flour1/4 cup (25g)6g3g3g
Brazil nuts1 ounce (28g)3g2g1g
Cashews1 ounce (28g)10g1g9g
Macadamias1 ounce (28g)4g0.5g1.5g
Hazelnuts1 ounce (28g)8g4g4g
Pecans1 ounce (28g)4g3g1g
Pistachios1 ounce (28g)7.5g3g4.5g
Walnuts1 ounce (28g)4g2g2g

Some seeds:

FoodServing SizeTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Chia seeds1/4 cup (30g)12g10g2g
Pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup (30g)4g3g1g
Sesame seeds2 tablespoons (18g)4g2g2g
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup (30g)6g3g3g
Hemp seeds1/4 cup (30g)2g1g1g

Some nuts and seed butter:

FoodServing SizeTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Coconut butter1 tablespoon (16g)4g2.5g1.5g
Almond butter1 tablespoon (16g)3g1.51.5g
Cashew butter1 tablespoon (16g)4.5g0.5g4g
Macadamia butter1 tablespoon (14g)2g1g1g
Sunflower seed butter1 tablespoon (16g)4g1g3g
Tahini1 tablespoon (15g)3g1g2g

Some coconut products:

FoodServing SizeTotal CarbsFiberNet Carbs
Coconut Oil1 tablespoon (14g)0g0g0g
Coconut butter1 tablespoon (16g)4g2.5g1.5g
Shredded Coconut 1/4 cup (20g)3g2g1g

“I Overate Carbs, Was I Kicked Out of Ketosis?”

Since there is no one clear number that everyone can relate to, exceeding which means that you’re out of Ketosis, you either have to have a long history with Keto to know what that number is for you. Or you will have to look into these signs that suggest you’re out of Ketosis and see if they apply to you.

  • You Are Suddenly Foggy, Sleepy or Irritable. When that happens due to no other sensible reason other than the food you just ate, then you’re probably off ketosis.
  • Your Body Is Asking For More Carbs. If you’re only at the beginning of your journey on the Keto diet and that feeling hasn’t yet worn off, it’s probably not a sign. But if you managed to get over it by time, and it came back today after that damned meal, then it’s probably your body saying, “So we’re back to sugar? Cool. Gimme more.”

“I Exceeded My Carb Limit, What Should I Do Now?”

The best thing you can do after a carb-heavy day is to eat no more carbs until the following day and focus more on fat, cut the carb intake of the following day in half (or more), and do a 20-hour intermittent fast until the next day.

It is extremely important to let go of the mentality of, “ I screwed up the diet, I might as well eat everything I come across for the rest of day.” No. Not all cheating is the same. You will be making it much harder for your body to get back into ketosis when you begin consuming all kinds of off-the-table, non-keto foods.

Sometimes it’s not even your fault. I’ve had instances where I was eating something a friend cooked that I assumed was keto-friendly. Then after the meal, we were discussing how the recipe, and I realized that he e had dded a lot of honey to the chicken.
If I were to say, “Well, shoot. The diet is screwed up. Let’s eat spaghetti for dinner and then some Tiramisu for dessert.”, I would have made it much more difficult for my body to get back into ketosis that week.

Let alone the slippery slop we get ourselves into by that mentality, where we think the following day, “Well, yesterday was off, what’s the harm with another day off?” Then, the following week comes around and you haven’t decided it was time to get back to the diet, and before you know it, it’s been weeks and months, and you’re off the wagon.

So going over the carbs limit can happen to all of us. Don’t freak out about it. But also don’t destroy your progress. Acknowledge what happened, be at peace with it, and follow the following hacks that will get you back in ketosis faster than you would hope.

Wanna meet the doctor behind this blog? I am on YouTube!

Allow me to be part of your journey, and to constantly offer you tips and hacks you can apply on Keto to resolve the issues you might come across, achieve the results you want and deserve, and have keto continue to transform your life.

Hacks That Can Get You Back Into Ketosis In No Time

  1. 20:4 Fast Until The Following Day. If you can get to 23, It’s even better. Intermittent Fasting is a perfect tool for promoting Ketosis, facilitating the way back to it and taking it to the next level. This is especially important here because eating more carbs will make your body ask for more of them. So fasting is a great way to let your body know, “We’re done for now. See ya tomorrow.”
  2. Have A Rich Cup of Bullet Proof Coffee. Touching on what we just said, a cup of BPC while fasting is a great way to satisfy your hunger in a healthy way and remind your body that “We’re relying on fat and ketones. Forget the carbs we just ate.” Whenever you feel hungry during the Fasting window ahead, go ahead and drink that cup. Even if you went a little bit over your calories, it’s better than your body starting to ask for more and more carbs.
  3. Limit Down Your Carb Intake of The Next Day To Half. If you can cut it out completely, it can help you even more. But even cutting it to half of the normal limit will be very helpful for your body to return to ketosis.
  4. Exogenous Ketones. This is another way you can make your way back into the diet easier and easier. This also goes to remind your body of the type of energy we’re using in the diet, which is made of ketone bodies. This is best for those who can’t handle fasting and want a magical pill. If there’s a pill, that’s the one.

    Although I don’t find it necessary and it’s not something I would personally do in this situation, many people have found this to be an incredible and fast way to return to ketosis and promote it further.

How to Avoid Making The Same Mistake in the Future

If what happened with you today is similar to the example that I mentioned happening to me a few times in the past of 1) accidentally eating something you haven’t cooked yourself, and then you found out how sugary/carby it was, I’ll tell you I’m able to avoid that now by letting those around me know whether or not I’m currently on a diet.
And if they are doing the cooking, I will discuss the recipe with them and know what’s inside of it. That really helped me not drag myself to the same pitfall again.

If, on the other hand, your problem is, 2) missing the carbs and the sugars and having binge-eating evenings, you should familiarize yourself with the Keto-friendly alternatives that are available for every single recipe you can think of.
And No, I’m not exaggerating. There is no food that hasn’t got a Keto alternative to it.

There are cookies, chocolate bars, noodles, bread, pasta, sugar, milk… you name it. All of them come with a much higher percentage of fat and a lower percentage of carbs. That’s why you’ll feel satisfied for much longer when eating these vs. when eating the regular foods.

These are, of course, to satisfy your tooth, make the diet more sustainable for you and make you more likely to commit to it. On the other hand, what you shouldn’t be doing is getting your macros from these foods and get yourself into countless nutrient deficiencies.

But they are there. You can find them at stores. You can look up recipes online and make them at home. If you want to commit to the diet and see real results, and satisfy your taste buds at the same time, then you have some work to do.

Building a new lifestyle around your new diet can seem intimidating at first. But you have to get past that difficult first phase because beyond it you will feel incredible. You will not only forget about those cravings, but you will also have put a system in place with which you know the healthy alternative to anything that comes across your mind.

Then, you will not only find it easy to commit to Keto, but you might also start seriously thinking about making a healthy lifestyle around it, perhaps for good.


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Nabeel Kallas

I'm a medical doctor with a lot of passion for Keto & Intermittent Fasting. They have completely changed my life and I am beyond honored to help you experience that same change. I'm ready when you are. Read more here.

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