Why Counting Carbs on Keto is a Huge Mistake

Many people need to learn that counting carbs on keto is a colossal mistake. You see, the whole thing is not all about carbs.

Sometimes people think that it is about bringing your carbs down to below 50 grams and that you're good to go. Others think you must go extremely high on fat to achieve the perfect keto.

But in this article, I will share with you something important that will make your keto plan perfect.

Counting carbs on keto

Why do you reduce your carbs below 50 grams?

The simple answer is that carbs increase insulin. This insulin is what blocks ketosis. So we're trying to produce more ketones, so the more the insulin increases, the less we will be in ketosis. And if we cannot attain ketosis, then we're not doing the ketogenic diet.

So, people start counting carbs, and they start looking at sugars. They start focusing on the glycemic index.

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The role of protein

Protein increases insulin, especially if you are resistant to insulin. Protein also increases insulin in people that are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Most of the time, a diabetic person will go on a low-carb diet and then enjoy a huge steak during dinner, and they wake up in the morning with a sugar level that is just off the chart, and they wonder how that is possible.

The truth is that protein can increase insulin, although not as much as carbs. It will increase insulin.

Foods that do not trigger insulin

Only two foods do not trigger insulin…fat and fiber.

And when you combine fat and fiber with other foods, you buffer insulin — reducing the insulin. I'll explain how this works because no one selects a specific macronutrient — no one says I'll eat just carbs or proteins. It is always a combination of things.

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The insulin index explained

The insulin index is simply the scale of foods that trigger insulin. The insulin, therefore, the insulin index goes beyond the glycemic index.

The glycemic index is a tool that's often used to promote better blood sugar management.

Several factors influence the glycemic index of a food, including its nutrient composition, cooking method, ripeness, and the amount of processing it has undergone.

The glycemic index can help increase your awareness of what you're putting on your plate and enhance weight loss, decrease your blood sugar levels, and reduce your cholesterol.

The glycemic index (GI) is a value used to measure how much specific foods increase blood sugar levels.

Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and ranked on a scale of 0–100.

The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it may affect your blood sugar levels.

Here are the three GI ratings:

  • Low: 55 or less
  • Medium: 56–69
  • High: 70 or above

Foods high in refined carbs and sugar are digested more quickly and often have a high GI, while foods high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low GI. Foods that contain no carbs are not assigned a GI and include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.

Understanding the insulin index is crucial — it's one of the most important things to focus on when trying to achieve health. The lower the food is on the index, the better it is. So stick to consuming foods lower on the insulin index for more success on keto — don't only focus on counting carbs.

The Insulin Index is not the same as a glycemic index (GI), which is based exclusively on the digestible carbohydrate content of food. Instead, it represents a comparison of foods in amounts with equal digestible carbohydrate content (typically 50 g). Instead, the insulin index compares foods in amounts with equal overall caloric content (240 kcal or 1000 kJ).

How does the ketogenic diet work?

When a person consumes carbohydrates, the body turns those carbs into sugar, which cells use for energy.

Significantly limiting the intake of carbs causes the body to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. As a result, glucose levels drop.

This forces the body to produce ketones, acids that appear in the blood and urine when the body burns fat. When the body uses fat as energy and releases ketones, this is called ketosis.

During ketosis, the body also produces less insulin and stores less fat as a result.

The keto diet may help support weight loss by reducing hunger levels and boosting metabolism. It may also help manage type 2 diabetes because the diet can reduce glucose levels.

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Helpful tips

Keeping the keto diet sustainable can be challenging because it is very restrictive. As a result, people may become bored with what they can eat.

For people on the keto diet, regular health monitoring is vital to check whether the diet affects the heart.

For people with diabetes, it is also essential to monitor for hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

Overall, it is essential to check with a doctor before making any significant changes to the diet, such as switching to a ketogenic diet.


A person on the keto diet should limit their carb intake to 50 g daily. A person generally replaces high-carb foods with fatty foods, such as pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed dairy products, organic grass-fed meat, and wild-caught fish.

Wheat products and some fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes can be high in carbs, so checking food labels is critical.

Before starting a keto diet, contact a doctor to ensure the change will be safe. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.


Shilpa J, Mohan V. Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane? Indian J Med Res. 2018;148(3):251–253. doi:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1666_18

Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2022 Jun 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/

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