Can you eat 30 carbs and be in ketosis?

The ketogenic diet has become incredibly popular in recent years for its proven weight loss and health benefits. This low-carb, high-fat diet puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where it switches from burning carbs for energy to burning fat.

For most people following a keto diet, staying under 50 grams of net carbs per day is recommended to achieve and maintain ketosis. But some may wonder whether they can go slightly higher, say up to 30 grams of net carbs per day, and still remain in ketosis.

What is ketosis?

Ketosis occurs when liver glycogen and blood sugar levels are low, which forces your body to break down fat into ketones and use them for fuel instead of carbs.

Ketones are produced in the liver and can be used for energy by tissues including the brain, heart, and muscles. Besides serving as an alternative fuel source when carbs are restricted, ketones can also act as powerful signaling molecules and regulate various processes in the body.

Some of the benefits of being in ketosis include:

  • Enhanced weight loss
  • Appetite control
  • Improved cognitive performance
  • Increased energy and focus
  • Better blood sugar regulation

Reaching and maintaining ketosis requires restricting your carb intake to encourage your body to burn more fat. But how low do carbs need to go to get into ketosis and stay there?

How many carbs to enter ketosis?

The threshold for entering ketosis varies between individuals. However, on average, it takes consistently eating fewer than 50 grams of net carbs per day to induce ketosis.

Net carbs are calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbs, as fiber does not impact blood sugar or ketone production.

Some of the factors that influence ketosis and carb tolerance include:

  • Metabolic health and insulin sensitivity
  • Activity levels
  • Carb intake duration
  • Protein intake

For example, people who exercise frequently may be able to eat more carbs while maintaining ketosis. Those new to keto may need to further restrict carbs initially to swiftly reach ketosis but can increase carbs once fat adapted.

Can you eat 30 grams of net carbs and stay in ketosis?

While individual responses vary, most people will not sustain ketosis eating 30 grams or more of net carbs daily. However, some may be able to for short periods.

Some key considerations on whether 30 grams may work include:

Blood Ketone Levels

Testing blood ketone levels is the best way to confirm if you’re actually in ketosis or not. Optimal ketosis is generally considered 0.5–3.0 mmol/L. At 30 grams of carbs, ketones may be lower or fall below optimal ranges for many people. But blood ketones above 0.5 mmol/L suggest you are still producing some ketones and utilizing fat.

Metabolic Flexibility

Your metabolic flexibility, or how readily your body can switch between burning carbs and fat, also impacts carb tolerance. Those with high insulin sensitivity and who are very active can switch between burning fuels more easily. They may reach moderate ketosis at 30 grams of carbs or even slightly higher.

Fat Adaptation

The longer you’ve been on the keto diet, the better your body gets at burning fat efficiently. This can allow for slightly higher carb intake while remaining in ketosis. Those newer to keto will likely need to stick under 30 grams initially to adapt.

Protein Intake

Consuming adequate protein is key on keto. Protein does not impact ketosis like carbs. However, it can help prevent muscle loss when limiting carbs, keeping you satiated. More protein may also help mitigate carb intake at 30 grams.

Carb Cycling

Another factor is whether carb intake is kept consistently at 30 grams daily or cycled higher and lower. Carb cycling strategically around workouts may allow some wiggle room at 30 grams on lower days. But higher days should remain below 50 grams.

Signs you may be out of ketosis at 30 carbs

While blood ketones provide the best insight, some symptoms can also indicate you’ve fallen out of ketosis if eating too many carbs:

  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Brain fog, trouble concentrating
  • Increased appetite and cravings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • GI issues like constipation
  • Weight loss plateaus

If experiencing such symptoms at 30 net grams of carbs or feeling unsure if you’re still in ketosis, reduce intake to 20-25 grams for a few weeks. Then try adding 5 net carbs back in and monitor how you feel and check ketones. Adjust as needed to find your carb tolerance threshold.

Foods to eat to stay under 30 grams of carbs

To potentially stay in ketosis while eating up to 30 grams of carbs, choose low-carb foods like:

Non-starchy vegetables

  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Cauliflower

Aim for at least 2-3 cups per day.

High-fat dairy

  • Greek yogurt
  • Hard cheeses
  • Cream, sour cream
  • Butter
  • Cottage cheese

Choose full-fat versions and limit to 1-2 servings daily.

Nuts and seeds

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nut butters

Stick to 1-2 ounces per day.


Provides fiber and healthy fats. Limit to 1 serving daily.


In moderation, coconut milk, oil, and unsweetened coconut flakes and coconut butter can fit into 30 grams of net carbs.


Choose strawberries, blueberries, raspberries in small portions around 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup maximum per day.


Provide fiber and healthy fats. About 10 large olives provide 2 grams net carbs.

Shirataki noodles

These konjac fiber noodles contain almost zero net carbs. Use them in moderation in place of regular pasta and noodles.

Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs

Consume up to 2-3 palm-sized servings daily alongside veggies as protein sources.

Foods to avoid or strictly limit

To decrease carb intake, avoid or heavily limit the following foods:

  • Grains including bread, rice, cereal, pasta
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas
  • Legumes including beans, lentils, chickpeas
  • Fruit besides small portions of berries
  • Sugar including juice, soda, candy, ice cream
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Condiments with added sugar
  • Packaged snacks and sweets
  • Beer, wine, and sweetened cocktails and mixers

Sample menu for 30 grams of net carbs

Here’s an example of what an average day eating 30 grams of net carbs could look like:


  • 2 eggs cooked in 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1⁄2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt topped with 1⁄4 cup raspberries and almonds
  • 1 serving avocado


  • Tuna salad made with 1⁄4 cup chopped celery, 1 tbsp olive oil mayo, lemon juice, and lettuce wrap
  • 1 oz deli turkey and 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup sauteed zucchini noodles tossed in 1 tsp olive oil and parmesan


  • 4-6 oz salmon cooked in 1 tsp avocado oil with 1 cup asparagus
  • Side salad with 2 cups mixed greens, 1⁄4 cup bell pepper, 1 tbsp olive oil and vinegar dressing


  • 1 serving coconut milk
  • 1 oz pecans
  • Celery sticks with 2 tbsp nut butter


  • Water
  • Unsweetened iced tea
  • Black coffee

This provides around 30 grams net carbs along with moderate protein and high healthy fats to promote feeling satisfied.

Other tips for staying in ketosis at 30 grams of carbs

Aside from carb counting, other tips that may help sustain ketosis with a slightly higher carb intake around 30 grams include:

  • Increasing activity and exercise
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Focusing on carb quality over quantity
  • Adding MCT oil or exogenous ketones
  • Eating most carbs around workouts
  • Consuming carbs later in the day
  • Testing ketones and adjusting intake as needed

Potential benefits of slightly higher carb intake

While remaining in ketosis has many benefits, going slightly higher to around 30 grams of net carbs may provide additional advantages for some people such as:

  • Increased vegetable, berry and dairy options for more fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Higher carb refeed days can restore glycogen and provide a metabolic boost
  • More fuel options around workouts for increased performance
  • Reduced feelings of restriction for long-term sustainability
  • Less keto flu symptoms
  • May help regulate hormone levels in some women

However, pay attention to how you feel at 30 grams, get blood ketone readings, and adjust as needed based on your body’s response.

The bottom line

While everybody’s carb threshold for ketosis varies, most people will likely struggle to stay in ketosis consistently eating 30 grams of net carbs or more per day.

However, some people who are very active, have excellent metabolic health and insulin sensitivity levels, or have reached advanced stages of fat adaptation, may be able to sustain ketosis in the range of 30-50 grams of carbs.

But this threshold is highly individualized based on the unique factors outlined above. The key is monitoring symptoms and blood ketones to find the carb sweet spot that allows you to feel your best and stay in optimal ketosis. Being slightly over 30 grams periodically may be fine, but consistently exceeding this level for multiple days can kick you out.

Aim to experiment with exact carb counts between 20-30 grams while testing ketones. Increase physical activity and protein intake, use intermittent fasting, and focus on nutrient-dense carb choices to potentially make room for slightly more carbs. But be prepared to cut back if signs or readings indicate you’ve fallen out of ketosis.

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