When I am in Ketosis – What happens to the carbs I DO eat?

When you are in a state of nutritional ketosis you will remain in this state unless you fall over the carbohydrate threshold and kick yourself out of ketogenesis.

What happens to the carbohydrates you consume while safely WITHIN ketosis?

I answered this recently: [Transcript]

Individual: The longer I eat under 35g carbs the sooner I burn fat during the day?
I’m not sure how to word this but the sooner the carbs burn up the sooner my body fat and healthy fat is used as fuel and help build muscle and lean me out?

Leon: When you are in ketosis and not over your carb limit – your body will use fat for energy even in the presence of carbs. So as you walk, breathe, function – fat is being utilized to fuel this, not carbs. Fat, both in a ketogenic state and in a non ketogenic state, is used to fuel low intensity movements – whereas carbs are preferred for high intensity exercises – so if you have carbs available it will eat through that before going to fat. But to answer your question – and I really mean this – just stay under your allotted carb amount. If I thought staying under 5g would help you burn more calories, or in an amount that is significant enough to relevant, I would tell you to do so. You must also remember that we are thinking marathon not sprint – just stay under your total carbs and you will be maximizing your potential fat burning, especially along with IF, which I recommend ofcourse at 14 hours for women and 16. Remember – caloric deficit is what causes fat/weight loss. Ketogenic state just let’s us use a fuel that helps enhance this objective. A caloric surplus in ketosis is still weight gain. There are some functions that may still require glucose and the carbs you consume will go to meeting those demands. I believe eating 20-35g carbs is healthier and safer than 0-15g total. Some of the more elite ketogenic athletes I coach consume carbs pre exercise as they lift for 3 hours at extreme levels of volume and weight and use this carb to fuel their workout. The carbs are eaten and they are still in a ketogenic state. I ofcourse do not recommend doing this without guidance from a dietary perspective. But I mention this as so far to say that their fat and weight loss is not inhibited. Ketosis has many benefits besides an acceleration of fat utilization and fat metabolism – but in simple terms.. Don’t worry about those carbs especially if you lift. And even if you don’t – don’t hurt your diet and long term sustainability in a mad scramble to min/max yourself to lowest carbs possible.


The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to suffer in the creation of your meal plan and miss out on potential foods you enjoy, just to drop to under 20g carbs -> there is no need for this as you are not gaining any relevant benefits. Just stay in a ketogenic state, drink water, manage your electrolytes, check in with your coach and enjoy life.


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