The Problem With Processed Foods And Carbs
Now we get to processed and so called packaged food , those refined carbs made in a factory with a long list of added ingredients on the label. These foods add extra sugars, fats, salts, you name it. Often you see them advertising reasonable net carbs including a long list of ingredients. Or lets replace the word ingredients with artificial chemicals shall we. Then of course the marketing guys realized they could pump low fat versions of the same processed foods. In many cases they were and are not much better for you.
So these types of carb laden processed foods are at the top of the GI index, with glucose and insulin level shooting up as high as the clouds. Your body wont be burning fat for fuel and your increased insulin levels will be transporting your excess glucose to your cells and depositing as fat, and youll be back to hormonal imbalances and hunger pangs. In short you are going to put on weight again.
Should I Be Concerned About The Keto Flu
If youre interested in the keto diet, you have probably read about the keto flu, one not-so-fun side effect. The keto flu is definitely real, says Keatley. Your body functions really well on carbohydrates thats what it was designed for. When it switches to fat burning, it becomes less efficient at making energy, he says. On keto, you have less energy available and you may feel sick and sluggish, kind of as if you have the flu. As your body naturally adjusts to this new way of drawing energy, you will come out of it. This may take a couple of weeks, says Keatley.
Net Carbs = Total Carbs Fiber Sugar Alcohols & Allulose
For example, a keto pancake with 13 grams of total carbs, 9 grams of fiber, 2 grams of erythritol, and 1 gram of allulose would have 1 gram of net carbs.
Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates, but most of these dont metabolize fully in your body more on that below. Allulose is not a sugar alcohol , but since your body does not burn it for energy as sugar, you can subtract it the same way.
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Watch Out For Imos On The Ingredient List
One prominent example is IMO, which stands for Isomalto-oligosaccharides.
It is a form of fiber that is often used as an additive.
IMOs do occur naturally, but they can also be manufactured.
Manufactured IMO is a cheap and easy way for food manufacturers to add fiber, and therefore lower the net carb count.
Unfortunately, this processed fiber has been shown to be absorbed by the small intestine.
So, the net carbs reported on the label might be less than the actual carbs your body is digesting and metabolizing.
How Many Net Carbs On Dirty Keto
The 20 grams sweet spot for net carbs mentioned above should still be your goal, regardless if you are doing Clean Keto, Lazy Keto, or Dirty Keto.
Dirty Keto keeps the same macros but basically allows you to eat things such as processed food, fast food, and just low-quality food.
Once in a while I will have a dirty keto treat or meal, but overall I stick with the clean lifestyle.
Whether you choose Clean Keto or Dirty Keto is completely up to you.
Just ensure you do your due diligence!
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How Do Sugar Alcohols Affect Net Carbs
Sugar alcohols are essentially sweeteners that imitate regular sugar. They taste similar but contain fewer calories and dont impact blood sugar levels like sugar does.
As they are low in calories, theyre often found in sugar-free and diet food products, like gum, energy bars, and protein bars.
The most common types you will find listed within the ingredients of food labels are erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and xylitol.
Reducing your sugar intake is a key feature of the keto diet. Sugar is known to raise blood sugar, which prevents you from reaching and maintaining ketosis.
Many keto dieters exclude certain sugar alcohols from foods to determine a net carb count, as most are only partially digested.
If counting sugar alcohols, you can minus half the grams of sugar alcohols from the total carb count to calculate net carbs.It does depend, however, on the specific type contained in food. For instance, the human system is incapable of digesting erythritol. Any food containing erythritol can be subtracted entirely from the total carbs.
My Final Thoughts On Counting Net Carbs
The bottom line isif you are counting net carbs, you may be inadvertently taking in more carbohydrate calories than you think you are.
This, of course, may also be interfering with your weight loss.
In my opinion, it is better to count total carbs and keep your diet easy and effective.
Thank you for reading! I hope this information will help you reach your health goals.
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Total Carbs And Net Carbs In The Nutrition Labels
Whether you want to count total or net carbs you have to know one thing.
Nutrition labels can be confusing.This because Europe and the USA have different systems to label their products.
In the USA and Canada, the food labels are reporting the carbs including the fiber therefore total carbs. To calculate the net carbs in this case you just subtract the fibers from the total carbs.
In Europe and Australia, the nutrition labels are reporting the carbs already despoiled from the fiber. So, you have to be careful reading the labels because you risk buying a product much higher in carbs thanyou intended to.
If you check the following Dutch label, you can see immediately the difference.
The fiber is not included in the carbs. Therefore to have the total carbs you sum carbs and fiber . This is very important especially when we count the total carbs! So, check the values but first check if the label is American or European.
For months I followed the American system and I was eating more carbs than I wanted to. Sometimes, the fibers are higher than the carbs so its easy to spot that the carbs are indeed net carbs already.
Why Does The Country I Live In Matter
Its because food labels differ between the USA & Canada, and the rest of the world. These two countries include the amount of fiber in the total carbohydrate value, visible in the Nutrition Facts table. On the other hand, if you live in Australia, this number will have already been subtracted from total carbohydrates.
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How To Calculate Net Carbs For Keto In 2 Simple Steps
KIAH CONNOLLY, MD September 19, 2020
Knowing how to count carbs is a crucial part of succeeding on ultra low carb diets like keto.
Learn what makes total carbs different from net carbs, how many grams of net carbs are in your diet, and why using net carbs can help your health and keep your keto macros where they need to be.
Calculating Net Carbs From Sugar Alcohols
Generally speaking, half of the carbs from sugar alcohols can be subtracted from the total carbs listed on the nutrition label.
Erythritol is an exception. If its the only sugar alcohol in the ingredients list, its carbs can be completely subtracted from the total carbs.
This value may be different than the number of net carbs stated on the product label, since many companies subtract all fiber and sugar alcohol carbs when calculating net carbs.
For example, a maltitol-sweetened Atkins bar label states that it contains 3 grams of net carbs.
However, when subtracting only half the carbs from sugar alcohols, the net carb value is 8.5 grams: 23 grams of total carbs 9 grams of fiber 11 grams sugar alcohols = 8.5 grams of net carbs.
A portion of fiber and sugar alcohols can be subtracted from total carbs to calculate net carbs. Formula: total carbs minus fiber minus half the carbs from sugar alcohols = net carbs.
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Pros And Cons Of Myfitnesspal
MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular calorie tracking apps, and its free . The app prioritizes social networking and progress sharing with friends, which sets it apart from other apps.
With a massive food database, you can find almost any food you desire on MyFitnessPal. However, the main reason for their massive database is that anyone who uses the app can submit anything they want. This makes it difficult to know which food item in the database you should choose.
The free MyFitnessPal app also doesnt track net carbs, only total carbohydrates and fiber. This makes it a bit more tedious for keto dieters to use because they have to make their own net carb calculations.
Heres a quick list of the pros and cons of MyFitnessPal:
- Great for tracking packaged foods with barcodes
- Option to import recipes directly from your favorite keto recipe websites
- Some foods and recipes will not be accurate
- Cant track net carbs on the free app
- Can only use macronutrient percentages
What About Sugar Alcohols
Not everyone agrees about the impact of sugar alcohols on your metabolism thats because some sugar alcohols behave differently than others, and they can affect people differently as well. Some of us absorb and metabolize sugar alcohols quite a bit, while others dont, and the type of sugar alcohol makes a big difference, too.
Sugar alcohols such as erythritol and xylitol have a negligible impact on blood sugar. Allulose is classified as a rare sugar rather than a sugar alcohol, but also demonstrates minimal impact on blood glucose.
Some prepackaged or sugar-free foods claim to be keto, but may spike your blood sugar instead because they use sugar alcohols with a higher glycemic index.
In particular, tread with caution on foods that contain maltitol, sorbitol, or isomalt, all of which can spike blood sugar.
In general, you can safely count erythritol and allulose as 0 net carbs, and count half the carbs in other sugar alcohols. However, testing your blood sugar after consuming these sweeteners is the only true way to know their impact on you.
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How To Count Net Carbs On Keto
You can easily keep track of your daily net carb counts using a keto-friendly tracking app that does the math for you. Just be sure to accurately log everything you eat and drink for the best results.
Download the Trifecta app now to start tracking your net carb intake and stay on top of your keto diet goals.
What Are The Benefits Of Focusing On Net Carbs
If youre working to lose weight or build muscle, factoring in net carbs can help since your body isnt absorbing certain carbs for energy . In particular, people living with diabetes can benefit from focusing on net carbs carbs from fiber do not impact blood sugar since they arent absorbed by the body. If someone with diabetes took insulin based on total carbs without considering fiber, they might have a higher chance of ending up with low blood sugar.
If you need to watch your blood sugar or stick to a ketogenic diet, you might benefit from considering net carbs. This could be the case if you have hard-to-manage diabetes or a certain neurological condition that calls for this diet, like a seizure disorder. In either case, though, a doctor should be monitoring any severe carbohydrate restriction.
The only real nutritional impact of being aware of net carbs is it may help you choose foods that are higher in fiber, which can help improve your digestive health and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. However, just because a food has more fiber doesnt guarantee it has an overall more nutrient-dense makeup. For instance, laxatives are primarily made of fiber, but we wouldnt consider them a nutritious supplement.
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List Of Carbs You Can Consume On Keto
Now that you understand which foods should be avoided entirely, lets talk about the best Ketogenic-friendly carb sources you can still incorporate into your diet plan.
Some of the foods listed below still contain some carbohydrates, so its best to be sure to read labels and carefully track your intake so you dont overdo it, especially if youre a beginner.
#1. Cocoa Powder and Dark Chocolate
Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are great alternatives to eating sugary chocolate bars. Theyre a great source of antioxidants. Chocolate is even considered a superfood, because it contains essential nutrients to help you stay healthy.
Dark chocolate also has flavanols, which have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering your blood pressure.
Its important to only consume dark chocolate that contains 85% cocoa or more. Anything less usually contains other higher carbohydrate ingredients that could potentially interrupt ketosis.
Tip: A great low-carb snack you can make with cocoa powder or dark chocolate is a Keto Coconut-choc Fat Bombs. Simply add cocoa powder into a bowl with almond butter and coconut oil and put it in the microwave or heat on a stovetop and stir until it becomes a consistent liquid. Then place it in the freezer for half an hour and youâll have a tasty, sweet low-carb snack! Add a little stevia if you need a little more sweetness. Read about more Keto snack ideas here.
#2. Low-Carb Vegetables
How Net Carbs Play Into The Keto Diet
Now you know what net carbs are, how to calculate them, and the recommended number of net carbs.
Do you know why knowing this number is so important? Heres a simple explanation.
As you know, the keto diet is a macronutrient restricting diet requiring that you consume a low amount of carbohydrates and a high level of fats.
Since your body cant produce glucose due to a lack of carbs, you enter a state of ketosis and use your fat to produce ketones, an alternative energy source.
Its essential that you track your net carbs to ensure your body isnt producing glucose and instead produces ketones from your fat.
This, in essence, leads to weight-loss as your stored fat turns into energy.
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Dealing With Confusion Over Net Carbs
This is all pretty confusing and annoying, and thats without even getting into imported foods. But here are some tips and tricks for dealing with the math:
- Use an online database. For example, if you use the USDA standard reference database, you can be sure that youll get nutrition information based on U.S. rules. Then you can compare that to the label on your food and get an idea of what youre probably looking at.
- Remember that you cant have negative carbs. If you try to subtract fiber from total carbs, and you get a negative number, then the total carbs on the label was probably already net carbs.
- Learn the foods you like to eat. On keto, your carbs will probably come mostly from vegetables. Youll probably have some favorite vegetables that you eat a lot. Invest most of your carb-looking-up energy into those vegetables then you can just relax a bit about them. Depending on your personal carb limits for keto, you might just know that I cant have more than a cup of Brussels sprouts every day, and then thats that, no Nutrition Facts required
Just to give you an idea of approximately what to expect, here are the carb counts and net carb counts for some common keto vegetables:
This obviously isnt a complete list of vegetables, but its enough to give you a bit of an idea what you can expect for net carbs and fiber in keto meals. Fiber actually takes a pretty significant chunk out of the total carbs for a lot of vegetables.
Do I Need To Eat A Minimum Amount Of Carbs
The short answer is no. In fact, you technically dont need to eat any carbs at all.
When carbs are restricted, your body switches to using fat and ketones rather than sugar as its main energy source.15 Aside from your red blood cells and a small portion of your brain and kidneys, which do require glucose, your cells can use fatty acids or ketones as fuel.16 You can learn more about this in our complete guide to ketosis.
Your body is actually capable of making glucose for any cells that need it, even if you dont consume any carbs. This is because your liver can convert amino acids and glycerol into glucose. This process is known as gluconeogenesis.
In their 2005 textbook Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids, the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine states:
The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.17
Interestingly, there are nine essential amino acids found in protein and two essential fatty acids, but there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.
However, there are valuable nutrients in many low-carb foods that contain some carbs, such as vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These foods also provide fiber, flavor and texture, which can enhance your eating experience.
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Why Knowing Your Net Carbs Is Important
A lot of keto beginners are confused about the right way to count carbs on a keto diet. Some believe that the total carb count is what matters when determining your carb limit, while others find this to be overkill.
When the keto diet is used for its original purpose, that is to treat epilepsy, clinicians will often restrict total carbs rather than net carbs . This is to play it safe since the carb composition of a food can vary greatly, and its really important to achieve deep ketosis to reduce seizures with a keto diet.
However, since youll likely be following the keto diet with other objectives in mind , you dont need to restrict carbs as drastically. In fact, you would probably benefit more with a moderate approach, i.e. restricting net carbs only!
Because, you see, when you eat carb-containing food, your body breaks down and digests only net carbs. These are converted into blood glucose, which the body then uses to make energy. Fiber and other indigestible carbs, on the other hand, end up in your large intestines untouched or fermented .
For your body to reach ketosis, your body needs to reach a point where it can no longer make enough blood glucose . Since it cannot use fiber to make blood glucose, theres no need to restrict it on a keto diet. Youre better off eating enough of this indigestible carb since it keeps your digestive tract, your cardiovascular system, and your immune system strong and healthy .