Low Carb

Is 100 grams of carbs a day low carb?

Max Carmody, MSc

How many carbs a day exactly is 100 carbs, and where does it fit in on a low carb diet?

Generally, consuming 100 grams of carbs or under a day is considered to be low carb, or part of a low carb diet, although some people consider it to be more of a “moderate carb” diet.

Example of a 100 carb daily diet

Some versions of the Paleo diet actually prescribe 100 carbs a day roughly, so following the paleo diet may result in eating 100 carbs a day. On the paleo diet you would be eating things like vegetables, berries, nuts, fish, meat, poultry, and mushrooms. You would not be eating legumes, grains, potatoes, sugar, dairy products, or processed or refined foods.

There is also a plan called the Atkins 100 plan. On the plan you are supposed to eat three meals and two snacks a day. You eat 6-8 servings of vegetables, with 12-15 carbs. You eat 3 servings of protein with 0 carbs. There is 2-4 servings of added fats such as butter, for 0 carbs. Then you get to eat 2-5 servings of other carbs. This can include alcohol, fruit, cheese, and more.

What is significant about 100 carbs?

Eating 100 carbs daily isn’t necessarily some magic figure. It seems just to be a good even number that people can understand easily. However, there are some who claim that there is something special about the 100 carb mark. 

The website T-Nation, a fitness community, claims that 100 carbs a day not only helps you to lose a lot of weight, but helps to make you generally more healthy. They claim that 100 grams is close to nutritional magic.

It’s low enough carb so that you’re burning off stored and dietary fats instead of carbs. Yet it’s high enough carb that it can be part of a weight training workout. It opens up a wider variety of meal choices, you can have fruits, berries, and vegetables. Some of these you have to avoid more on very low carb diets. In addition, very low carb diets sometimes can cause mental side effects such as mental fog or lack of energy, but 100 carbs is supposedly high enough to avoid the worst of these effects.

Womansworld.com, a site covering a wide variety of issues seen as relevant to woman, such as beauty and dieting (although dieting is definitely for men too) sees the 100 carb diet as a “drop out proof approach”. This term is used because for many diets people continually “drop out” or stop them in the middle before they’re complete. But with the 100 carb diet they claim it to be a gentle detox, that helps people to feel amazing as they’re on it. It’s supposed to be pretty easy to work too compared to many diets.

Should you eat less than 100 carbs a day?

It is possible to go on a low carb diet with less than 100 carbs. In fact many people do this regularly, some even going as low as 20-30 carbs. As mentioned earlier in this post however, by going extremely low, there may be more negative side side effects such as the brain fog, there can also be symptoms such as diarrhea and general crabbiness. Here you can read an article about people who should not be on low carb diets, to find out if you’re one.

One interesting phenomenon that occurs as you get low enough in carbs is ketosis. This is one of the cornerstones of the keto diet. Ketosis “is a process that happens when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy. Instead it burns fat and makes things called ketones, which it can burn for fuel.” If somebody is healthy and not diabetic or pregnant, after 3 or 4 days of eating less than 50 cabs, ketosis kicks in. Although some claim that you must be eating even less than 50 carbs, 20 or fewer for ketosis to kick in.

There is actually an official diet called the Atkins 20 diet in which you are supposed to eat 20 carbs a day. Actually there are multiple phases. In phase 1, you are only consuming 20 carbs a day, to put your body in ketosis. Then in phase 2, you consume 25-50 carbs. In phase 3, 50-80 carbs, and in phase 4, 80-100 carbs. These are actually net carbs, not total carbs. To get net carbs, you take total carbs and subtract fiber.

Atkins makes several pretty bold claims about the Atkins 20 diet, which they claim was the original keto diet. They say that you will see results very quickly. They say that your appetite is totally under control because you eat every 2-3 hours, and that you don’t need to actually exercise. Here you can find an article on which is healthier, general low carb or keto.

A diet of 20 carbs seems to be about the lowest that people go. I have not been able to find information of diets under 20 carbs. As mentioned before, there are negative side effects of eating too few carbs. When you don’t get enough carbs, your blood sugar can actually crash quite a bit and send you into hypoglycemia. 

In hypoglycemia, your blood sugar is below the normal range. Hypoglycemia is a somewhat dangerous condition that needs immediate treatment. In the short term, you can get your blood sugar back in the correct range by high sugar food or drink, or even with medication. Some of the symptoms include: dizziness, shakiness, headache, fatigue, and others.

If you don’t want to go quite as low as 20 carbs a day, which some may consider to be a bit extreme, Atkins has another diet called the Atkins 40. On the Atkins 40 diet, it is based on portion control. The daily carbs you consume some from all food groups, maybe even including a bit of pasta or bread, as long as it isn’t too much and it’s within the acceptable limits. Atkins seems to have a diet for virtually every amount of carbs.

In summary, 100 carbs a day is considered a low-moderate carb diet, but you can get much lower still, especially if you planning on going into ketosis with a keto diet.

Looking to lose weight or get in shape, and want help doing it? We work with a variety of amazing programs who we can share your answers with, matching you up with the best one for you, many of whom offer private or group coaching. If you would like to receive a quote about a personalized weight loss or fitness program please fill out this form:


  • eTextbookShelf

    Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring
    on other sites? I have a blog based on the same subjects you discuss and would
    really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free
    to send me an e-mail.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *