Low Carb

How Low Carb is Low Carb?

How few carbs are there in a low-carb diet? It depends. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

Generally speaking the fewer carbs the more effective. Faster weight loss without hunger. More rapid and powerful reversal of type 2 diabetes. But also more restrictive and possibly more challenging.

Here are three examples of how a low-carb meal can look, depending on how many carbs you eat per day. The yellow stuff is delicious herb butter.



Under 20 grams per dayStrict low carb(this meal: 6 grams)


20-50 grams per daymoderate low carb(this meal: 16 grams)


50-100 grams per dayLiberal low carb(this meal, including
sweet potatoes: 37 grams)

Our definition

Here’s the way we define different levels of low carb at Diet Doctor:

  • Strict low carb <20 gram carbs per day
  • Moderate low carb 20-50 grams per day
  • Liberal low carb 50-100 grams per day

For comparison a regular Western diet can easily contain 250 grams of carbs or more in a day, most of them bad refined carbs, including sugar.


The above numbers refers to digestible carbs, and discount the fibre. You can deduct them from your carb counts, i.e. eat all the natural fibre you want, from vegetables for example.

However, don’t be fooled by the label “net carbs” on processed products, like chocolate bars. That’s usually just a way to trick you. I’d even suggest not eating anything with the words “net carbs” printed on it.


How to choose

Some people need to eat very few carbs for a maximum effect – a strict low-carb diet. This includes many people with big weight issues, diabetes (mainly type 2) and food or sugar addiction, for example.

Others – less carb intolerant people – do great on a more liberal low-carb diet. This also minimizes the risk of any side effects.

A third group of healthy, lean, active people may not even need to eat low carb at all, as long as they mainly eat unprocessed slow carbs.

If you want to start doing low carb I’d suggest starting out on a strict version, just to experience the power of it. Later, as you hopefully approach your weight and health goals, you can try adding more carbs to see how much you tolerate.

Here’s a two-week guide to a strict low-carb diet.


Low Carb for Beginners

Low-Carb Recipes – marked strict, moderate or liberal


How to eat LCHF4.6 out of 5 stars5 star74%4 star14%3 star8%2 star1%1 star2%395 ratings39511:18 How to Do an LCHF Diet – Dr. Eric Westman4.6 out of 5 stars5 star74%4 star15%3 star4%2 star2%1 star2%82 ratings821:00:45The 5 common mistakes on LCHF4.7 out of 5 stars5 star82%4 star11%3 star4%2 star0%1 star1%63 ratings6309:25


LCHF means low carb, high fat. It’s the only way to successfully do a low-carb diet long term.

Low Carb Made Easy How to Lose Weight Low-Carb Recipes Low-Carb Success Stories


  1. 1 comment removed
  2. Ian
    There is a free app called 'Carbs & Cals'. This may be of use in resolving your dilemma.
  3. Lynda
    What about high cholestrol? I did this lchf duet and lost 15 pounds but my cholestrol has skyrocketed!
    Reply: #4
  4. You can find some interesting reading here:


    What about high cholestrol? I did this lchf duet and lost 15 pounds but my cholestrol has skyrocketed!

  5. Elizabeth
    I am a mother of 6. I am 5'3" and 159 lbs. I also, breastfeed my 6 month old. I have been on this for 2 weeks. I lost 10 lbs. but have actually stopped losing weight. I am stuck at 159. I walk every other night carrying my baby around 3-4 miles but still not losing. I am eating 24 carbs- 35 carbs a day. Drinking around 120 ounces of water a day. Any advice?
  6. rick
    I have been doing low carb for 5 years. I lost weight and kept it off but I wanted to lose more and couldn't. I tried the 5-2 diet and lost another 10% of my body weight. Two days a week (not in a row) you have less than 600 calories a day. The other 5 days you eat your normal (low carb) diet. Now I am "fasting" only one day a week to maintain this new lower weight.
  7. Vandna
    If I am doing LCHF Liberal diet, then what should be the consumption of Fat and Protien?
    Reply: #8
  8. Hi Vandna!

    That's easy 🙂
    (Values below are per day)
    * Liberal LCHF is 50-100 grams carbs
    * Protein is approx 1 gram protein per kg body weight (your target weight)
    * Fat is the rest

    If I am doing LCHF Liberal diet, then what should be the consumption of Fat and Protien?

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