20 and 50 grams of carbs – how much food is that?

How many carbs are there in common foods? It varies wildly. On this page you’ll find out in a simple way. Like this:

20 grams of carbs in two ways

A low-carb diet restricts carbs, for example recommending under 20 net grams per day on a keto low-carb diet.1

You can eat a lot of vegetables before reaching 20 grams of net carbs, even if you add some colorful peppers and tomatoes. Roughly 20 ounces – more than half a kilo – of vegetables, full of other nutrients (low-carb vegetables guide).

On the other hand, just one half of a hamburger bun can contain 20 grams of carbs, adding up to the entire day’s ration of carbs on a keto low-carb diet. In that case, regular bread is not really an option. But there are low-carb breads that are much lower in carbs.

 

20 grams of carbs in high-carb foods

20 grams of carbs in bread, pasta, rice and potatoes

Just one large potato contains 20 grams of carbs, the daily limit on a keto low-carb diet. As does one half of a large hamburger bun. Or a few bites of rice or pasta.

These foods practically can’t be included at all on a keto low-carb diet, and only in small amounts – if at all – on a more liberal low-carb diet.

Rice can be replaced with cauliflower rice and potato mash can be replaced by cauliflower mash. For a pasta option check out our keto pasta or simply spiralize a zucchini.

Furthermore, there are are tons of other delicious low-carb side dishes that can replace the pasta, rice and potatoes.

More foods to avoid on low carb

 

20 grams of carbs in lower-carb foods

20g_carbs_good

Getting to 20 grams of carbs by just eating spinach (bottom right plate) requires an enormous effort. At 1.4 grams of digestible carbs per 100 gram you’d have to eat about three pounds (1.5 kilos) of spinach. Please note that this is even more than is shown above, this is simply all the spinach we could fit onto the plate!

However, by adding some slightly more carb-rich vegetables like peppers and cherry tomatoes, it’s quite easy to get to 20 grams (top left plate). Full low-carb vegetable guide

Nuts and berries are moderately low carb, and you’ll have to be a bit careful with them to stay under 20 grams every day.

Low-carb fruits and berries guide

Low-carb nuts guide

 

50 grams of carbs in high-carb foods

50 grams of carbs in bread, pasta, rice and potatoes

Adding a bit more bread, pasta, rice or potatoes will easily take you above 50 grams of carbs as well – the suggested limit for a more moderate low-carb diet.

It does not take much – for example just three large potatoes or three slices of bread.

 

50 grams of carbs in low-carb foods

50 grams of carbs in vegetables, nuts, berries

Getting to 50 grams eating only vegetables, nuts or berries is a challenge, but you could do it.

 

 

Really low-carb foods

None of the foods above are extremely low in carbs. How much would you need to eat to get to 20 grams of net carbs when eating other low-carb staples? Get the answers below:

Butter – 44 pounds (20 kilos)
Eggs – 30 eggs (one egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs)
Avocado – 7 avocados (net carbs per avocado: 3)
Cheese – 3 pounds (1.5 kilo)
Béarnaise sauce – 2 pounds (1 kilo)
Meat – an almost infinite amount (meat is virtually free of carbs)
Fish – an almost infinite amount
Olive oil – an infinite amount
Coconut fat – an infinite amount

 
 

More visual low-carb guides

Meal plans

Get lots of weekly low-carb meal plans, complete with shopping lists and everything, with our premium meal planner tool (free trial).

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More

A low-carb diet for beginners
Low-carb foods
 
14-day low-carb diet meal plan
  1. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber.

40 comments

  1. Bharti Goyal
    Please add legumes somewhere here as vegetarians who don't even eat egggs need a protein source. Legumes also contain quite a lot of carbs.
  2. Mrs B Nair
    Bharti, legumes and pulses besides having high carbs also cause inflammation in the body especially in the gut. I know that as a vegetarian it's essential that you get protein into your diet however having 1 or 2 servings per week of 100g legumes should not be too problematic.

    I have discovered how to make dhall from pumpkin and it's difficult to tell the difference in looks and taste.

  3. KAN
    This was copied from a site I found on Google: How to Eat Low-Carb as a Vegetarian or Vegan

    By Joe Leech, Dietitian

    Different Types of Vegetarians

    There are several different types of vegetarians. None of them eat meat or fish.

    The two most common types are lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans.

    Lacto-ovo vegetarians (or simply “vegetarians”) eat dairy products and eggs, but vegans do not eat any animal-derived foods.

    Dairy Products and Eggs Are Low in Carbs

    Eggs and dairy products, without added sugar, are low in carbs, but high in both protein and fat. For vegetarians (not vegans), they are perfect for a low-carb diet.

    Eggs: Contain only trace amounts of carbs. Choose pastured, omega-3-enriched or free-range eggs if you can.
    Yogurt, Greek yogurt and kefir: Choose unsweetened, full-fat versions. Find ones with live cultures for an additional probiotic benefit.
    Grass-fed butter: Butter from grass-fed cows is healthy, and fine in moderation on a low-carb diet.
    Cheese: Highly nutrient-dense and tasty, and can be used in all sorts of recipes.
    These foods are also rich in vitamin B12, which is not found in plant foods. Vegetarians can get all the B12 they need from these foods, while vegans need to supplement.

    Low-Carb Friendly Plant Foods (For Both Vegetarians and Vegans)

    Chia Seeds in Glass Bowl

    There is actually a massive variety of low-carb foods from plants.

    Many of these foods are also high in protein and fat.

    Vegetables: Many vegetables are low in carbs. This includes tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, eggplant, bell peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
    Fruits: Berries like strawberries and blueberries can be eaten on a low-carb diet. Depending on how many carbs you want to eat, other fruits may be acceptable as well.
    Fatty fruits: Avocados and olives are incredibly healthy. They are low in carbs but high in fat.
    Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are low in carbs, but high in protein and fat. This includes almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.
    Soy: Foods like tofu and tempeh are high in protein and fat, but low in carbs. This makes them acceptable on a low-carb vegetarian/vegan diet.
    Legumes: Some legumes, including green beans, chick peas and others.
    Healthy fats: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.
    Chia seeds: Most of the carbs in chia seeds are fiber, so almost all of the usable calories in them come from protein and fat.
    Dark chocolate: If you choose dark chocolate with a high (70-85%+) cocoa content, then it will be low in carbs but high in fat.

  4. Kay
    per USDA website, one large potato contains almost 50g of net carbs .....
  5. Karen
    I agree, the potato info above is wrong big time, on Fatsecret ONE large potato is over 50g net carbs, 3 is over 150g! lol ...yes, we are awake!
  6. Rose
    Are the amounts here referring to net carbs? I'm having trouble getting enough fibre on 50g/day and have had to up my carbs a bit because of that. And in the past few weeks, even with 20-25g fibre a day, I've also had to add 3 stewed prunes to my breakfast to make me 'go'. I know there's quite a lot of natural sugar in prunes and I feel that this addition has slowed my weight loss, but not sure what else to do, other than to take commercial drugs which give me cramps.
    Reply: #28
  7. Kris
    Hi Rose, try drinking a lot more water, and even if you are exercising already, try doing even more and see if that helps.
  8. Lee
    Rose, Magnesium citrate supplementation will help a lot and keep everything moving in the right direction.
  9. Amanda
    I love these visuals. I just wish that in the last low carb grouping we could have seen the gigantic mountain of spinach it would take to get to 50g of carbs. :)
  10. Uta Stelson
    Kay and Karen, the size of American "large" potatoes is MUCH larger than what Europeans like Dr. Eenfeldt consider a "large" potato. Having grown up in Europe myself, I would say that an American "large" potato like a russet potato that is used for making baked potatoes is easily three times the size of a European "large" potato.
    Reply: #12
  11. Uta Stelson
    Mrs. Nair, I would love to see the recipe for your pumpkin dhall. Would you mind sharing it here?
  12. SW
    I agree. When I first came to America and saw a russet potato, I was shocked! I have seen some that would feed a small village! :D
  13. Lilly Vazquez
    Rose I agree with Lee! I take one Magnesium 400 mg softgel daily and it works plus it's good to take minerals. Sometimes I have to skip a day or so because it starts to affect me too much! I hope this helps you!
  14. Manny Gomez
    Beautiful Post, If lowering carb intake or obtaining ketosis is the only goal.

    I suppose when I read:
    "Meat – an almost infinite amount (meat is virtually free of carbs)" ; I'd have to be smart enough to realize I can't lose weight by eating a whole pig (I've tried.)

    Don't get me wrong, I like meat, but per Dr. Fung: https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/how-much-protein-is-excessive/
    Highlights (one should read the entire blog posting):

    "excessive protein is turned into glucose and then to fat."

    "For a standard 70-kg male this is 52.5 g/day. Remember this is for absolutely healthy adults, not gaining or losing weight and the amount needed to cover the average amino acid losses are only 42 g/day (0.6g/kg/day). Remember, that if you want to lose weight, you should be eating less protein so that you can break some down. For reference, the USDA in 1985 determined that in the US, 14-18% of calories were protein and the average consumption is 90-110g/day (male) and 70g/day (female). So the average male is eating twice the recommended amount, which is already super high. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year."

    "So, how much protein should you take? The average necessary would be 0.6 g/kg/day (around 50 g/day) and LESS if you are trying to lose weight."

    "Remember that excess protein (see last weeks post) falls into the ‘burning sugar’ side of the equation. He also said in that talk, to a group of Low Carb aficionados that “today, it is perhaps more important to restrict protein than to restrict carbohydates“. Strong words, indeed. I tend to agree."

  15. Hans Gimpelj
    I can't find any mention of spreads apart from jam..... what about peanut butter for example?

    Regards, Hans

  16. Ginny
    For the list of foods to avoid, it would be good to also add the best replacements beside each. For example "rice - replace with cauliflower rice".
  17. Garoulady
    You need to put amounts of the pasta and fruits. Because that plateful of raspberries and blueberries, If the blueberries alone was a cup's worth, that is over 21 carbs. Those "visual" signs are totally deceptive. The eyes play tricks and pictures unless the sizes are stated more so. Like the bagel. is that a jumbo bagel, a mini or regular, all of which have different carb counts. While I do like and appreciate helping those who want to do a low carb diet, measurements added to the visuals would be even better. Also adding the paleo diet onto the website would be nice too.
  18. Paula
    Did I miss a mention of beef jerky?
    I love beef jerky, and all the chewing gives one the feeling of satisfaction
  19. Joan
    Rose. I take 800 to 1200 mg of magnesium citrate a day to help me. I've had the problem all my life and find this works the best. I believe the 20 gr of carbs is total, not net carbs.
  20. Karen
    How does Tofu fit into this diet?
  21. Jan
    Trying to find the chart that illustrates how many spoonfuls of sugar equate to different types of bread. Help - where do I find it?
    Replies: #34, #41
  22. David
    David,
    In Australia 2 very common and versatile vegetables are mushrooms and pumpkin (butternut and Jap mainly, some may call them squash) but they are both above ground and do not get a mention. Would you please advise on their use in a Keto diet.
  23. Randy
    Manny, I'm not sure if those figures account for the glucose that is utilized from the excess protein as a result of the reduced intake of sugar. I've read that your body on average can function on 30g of glucose daily. If you don't take that in directly, the main substitute is typically converted protein. In theory, that would reduce the protein-fat conversion.
  24. Jacqueline Stanton
    I have been strict low carb for almost a week now and I have gained 1 pound... I'm a little confused. I also started squats lunges pushups and some cardio plus walking do you think I'm gaining muscle and not dropping pounds yet?
  25. Brigitte
    Jacqueline , Are you drinking LARGE amounts of water? I would advise in purchasing ketone strips if you already haven't this way you can keep track if your on the right track ;-)
  26. Marion
    Tofu is made of soybeans so high carb I guess so not good I guess Karen
  27. Alusine Kpulun
    Is drinking too more water good for weight reduction?
  28. Olivia
    Hi Rose, try adding MCT oil to the equitation! Great source of healthy fat and definitely keeps everything moving :)
  29. 1 comment removed
  30. Margaret Goodwin
    I have been in keto flu for the 3 months of dieting. I ended up in ER with very high BP. 212/? and all the symptoms. Ultimately, I was told to quit keto. I am a 68 yr old female. My greatest fat loss corresponded with my worst symptoms. I added supplements to improve hydration. How could Ketosis cause this?
  31. Jacqualine Marie
    Margaret: Is it possible ketosis did not cause this, not directly? I am 72. I have high BP. Mine went up to 201 several months ago and it was due to something unrelated. When I mentioned Keto, two docs told me not to do it. My own cardiologist told me not to do it. None of them seem well versed in the plan, though. Logically (I'm not a medical professional), I can't think of why ketosis itself would raise your BP. Are you adding salt? I can't add salt because it does spike. And I'm an all organic gal and nothing premade but I have noticed that certain cheeses tend to be a problem. Perhaps it's a particular food you're eating or other factors, not enough exercise, etc. I was low carb for many years so going keto actually didn't cause keto flu to the degree it does in other people. I'd be very curious to see what you determine. Perhaps someone else here has more information. Good luck!
  32. Diane Berggren
    I'm not a doctor, but don't they say Keto is not for diabetics. Are you diabetic or pre-diabetic?
    Reply: #33
  33. Peter Biörck Team Diet Doctor
    Hi Diane!

    We believe that keto diet could be a good choice if you are diabetic. You can find more reading here:

    https://www.dietdoctor.com/diabetes

    I'm not a doctor, but don't they say Keto is not for diabetics. Are you diabetic or pre-diabetic?

  34. Pamela Pollin
    Look for Dr David Unwin's tweets - he has posted that bread table today.

    Trying to find the chart that illustrates how many spoonfuls of sugar equate to different types of bread. Help - where do I find it?

  35. Lisa
    I would just like to say - how refreshing and just, GREAT this site, it's contributors and the members are.

    I love the transparent, open and free converse - the detailed, easy to read - information provided and the general NO NONSENSE (NO BS/but wait buy today and get 99% off this free video etc) approach of this whole subscription service.

    The menu plans, the focus on health more so that any one particular way of eating/dieting etc.

    THANK YOU the founders of Diet Doctor - you are doing, a great thing!

  36. Anne Green
    What about Kabocha or Acorn squash...are they high or low carbs?
  37. Carmelia
    Was wondering if i want to lose weight on the keto diet plan, it says that i should only have a total of 1291 calories, but on the 14 day challenge the calories for the whole day total close to 1650 calories i am a 55 year old female how will i lose weight by eating that many calories every day, i am confused, carmelia
  38. seacee
    green beans, kale, bell peppers, oatmeal and coffee and lettuce make me go.
    also try drinking more water and tea.
  39. Tracey
    Just very frustrated I have Dietbetic type 2. My A1C went up and I have change how I eat and still goes up. Looking for suggestions.
  40. Clint
    Why are radishes not mentioned?
  41. Lorena
    I don't know about a chart, but here's the conversion: 1 tablespoon of sugar is equal to 12.5 grams (mass), and 12.5 grams of carbohydrates. 1 rounded cup of sugar is equivalent to 200 grams, and contains 200 grams of carbohydrates. Find out how many grams of net carbs there are in a particular serving of bread, and you can work out the equivalent spoonfuls of sugar from there. Example: One plain water bagel weighing 95 grams would have 52 grams of carbs, including the fiber. Since fiber isn't digested, you can subtract the grams of fiber from the overall carbs -- in this case, it's 2 grams of fiber subtracted from the 52 total carbs, or 50 grams of net carbs. Divide 50 by the number of grams of carbs per tablespoon (12.5) ... 50 divided by 12.5 equals 4, so one bagel has the equivalent of 4 tablespoons of sugar. Hope this helps!

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