Health Outcomes Of Various Sugar Alcohols
As stated above, sugar alcohols provide several advantages as sugar substitutes due to the wide range of beneficial health effects they are associated with. Here, we examine some of these health effects, mostly within the context of randomized clinical trials, which are one of the most efficient ways to determine cause and effect relationships, assuming that the trials are free of any serious systematic errors in design or analysis.
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 .
How To Calculate Your Fat Intake
One of the main mistakes on keto is not eating enough fat. For the longest time, nutritionists declared that fat particularly saturated fat was bad, which lead to the low-fat craze of the 1980s and 1990s. However, this science has since been debunked, lacking any significant data showing a connection between a high-fat diet and an increased risk in heart disease.
After you calculate your protein and total carbs, your remaining calories of the day will come from fat sources. As stated earlier, this is typically 70-75% of your total calories of the day.
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To give you an idea, 70% of 2,000 calories is 1,400 calories. If you divide 1,400 by 9 , you get 155.56 grams of fat per day.
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What Exactly Are Net Carbs
What are net carbs and how are they calculated?
Well, net carbs are sometimes called impact carbs because they are the carbohydrates that your body can digest.
Therefore they are the ones that can impact your blood glucose and insulin levels.
So, when we define net carbs in that way, it implies that some carbs resist digestion and that is true.
For instance, fiber along with certain sugar alcohols are not easily or completely digested by your body, so their impact on your blood glucose is not as significant.
Sugar Alcohol On The Keto Diet
First up, what is sugar alcohol? Its a type of carbohydrate that tastes sweet. On a molecular level, it looks like sugar and alcohol . Some sugar alcohols naturally occur in fruits and vegetables, and others are made by processing sugar.
But your body doesnt treat it the same as sugar. Your body processes regular sugar pretty easily. Sugar alcohols arent as easily digested or absorbed, which is why theyre used in sugar-free and lower-carb foods.
So, do sugar alcohols count as carbs? It depends on the type.
The following sugar alcohols do not count toward net carbs for keto. If youre eating something with these sweeteners, you dont need to include them in your carb count:
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How Stress Impairs Ketosis And Decreases Your Keto Carb Limit
Stress increases the levels of stress hormones like cortisol in the blood. It doesnt matter where the stress comes from , it all causes the same hormonal response.
One of the hormones that is released in response to stress is cortisol. Cortisol increases the activity of gluconeogenesis to raise blood sugar levels, while simultaneously decreasing insulin sensitivity. This combination of actions causes more blood sugar to hang out in the blood for longer periods of time, which shuts down the bodys need to produce ketones.
Cortisol, however, is not the enemy. It provides us with the boost of energy we need to start the day and power through exercise and stressful situations. Problems will only arise when the body rarely stops secreting cortisol because the mind is always stressing about something.
Not sure if stress is a problem for you? Heres a list of common stressors that can keep you from ketosis:
- Exercising too much
- Beating yourself up for past mistakes
- Overwhelming yourself with work and never taking breaks
As these and other stressors accumulate in your life, your stress hormones remain elevated throughout the day. This limits your ability to produce ketones, lose fat, and maintain muscle mass three things that you want to avoid at all costs on the ketogenic diet. No keto carb limit can save you from these adverse effects. You must take responsibility for mitigating your own stress.
How To Calculate Your Macros
When following a keto diet, most people consume 70-75% of their daily calories from fat, 20-25% of calories from protein and just 5-10% of calories from net carbs. Thats a ballpark range your individual macronutrient goals will vary depending upon your age, body composition, activity level, and any fat loss goals you may have.
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How Does The Body Use Carbs
Once the carbs youve eaten are digested and absorbed, the glucose they provide can be used as an energy source by all the cells in your body, including those in your muscles, heart, and brain.
Glucose that isnt immediately needed by these cells can be stored in your liver and muscles as glycogen . However, theres a limit to the amount that can be stored. Once your glycogen storage sites are full, any additional glucose from the breakdown of excess carbs will be converted to fat and stored in your body, including your liver.10
How Many Carbs On Keto Should You Have
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. The goal on keto is to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis, where you burn ketone bodies rather than glucose as your primary energy source.
On the keto diet, most people consume 70-75% of their daily calories from fat, 20-25% of calories from protein, and just 5-10% of calories from net carbs. Thats a ballpark range your individual macronutrient goals will vary depending upon your age, body composition, activity level, and any fat loss goals you may have.
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How To Import Your Favorite Keto Recipes
If you are struggling to find the recipe you want to make, try importing it into the app yourself.
Simply tap the black + in the food search screen.
Then, select Create a Recipe:
You can either enter the ingredients manually or add them from a website.
To insert my favorite Ruled.me recipes, for example, I enter the website on the app and search through the website to find what I am looking for.
When you tap Import Recipe, the app will find the ingredients and write them down for you.
Once everything looks good, click the arrow at the top right.
At the next screen, you have to scroll down all the way to see all the options. Here you can make sure the name, servings, and calorie breakdowns are accurate before you save it.
Once it is saved, you can log it at any time youd like. All you have to do is click on the Recipes tab , click on the keto-friendly recipe, and enter the number of servings that you ate.
How To Calculate Your Protein Intake
Protein is very beneficial to your body, providing amino acids to help gain muscle mass and burn body fat. On keto, roughly 20-25% of your calories will come from protein. While you may need more protein if youre an extremely active person, too much protein may cause gluconeogenesis.
Depending on activity level, most people consume between .61.0 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass. For example, a female may weigh 150 lbs, but have just 112.5 pounds of lean body mass. For her, 90112.5 grams of protein per day would be suitable.
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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 you’ll 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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Calculating Net Carbs In Whole Foods
Whole foods contain naturally occurring fiber. Therefore, you can simply subtract the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs.
The USDA Food Composition Databases provides complete nutrition information on thousands of foods, including carbs and fiber.
For example, a medium avocado contains 17.1 grams of total carbs, 13.5 grams of which is fiber .
So 17.1 grams of total carbs 13.5 grams of fiber = 3.6 grams of net carbs.
Whole foods contain fiber, which can be subtracted when calculating net carbs. Formula: total carbs fiber = net carbs.
A Quick Overview Of Cronometers Keto Calculator
If you select Keto Calculator, you will find different Keto Program options to choose from. According to Cronometers website, here is what each keto program represents:
Rigorous is recommended for people doing a ketogenic diet for therapeutic reasons where limits on carbs and protein need to be very tight. This is also a good setting for people who are very sensitive to carbohydrates and cannot easily maintain nutritional ketosis without very strict limits.
Moderate should be a good range for most people practicing a ketogenic diet for weight loss or health benefits.
Relaxed can be used by people who are very athletic and/or have determined through self-monitoring that they can maintain ketosis at higher levels of carbs and protein.
Custom lets you edit any of the values as you and your healthcare team sees fit.
For those who want more in-depth info about how they calculate protein intake and net carb limits, here is how Cronometer describes it:
Your maximum protein is based on a multiplier for each kilogram of lean body mass . For strict ketogenic diets, this is typically 1.0 grams of protein per kg LBM, and the Moderate setting is at 1.5 gram protein per kg LBM.
It is also worth noting that pregnant and lactating women will have an additional 25 grams of protein added.
When it comes to setting your carb limit, here is what Cronometer does:
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Why Is Calculating Net Carbs Important
Calculating and tracking net carbs is important for those following the keto diet because consuming too many digestible carbs can prevent you from entering and/or kick you out of ketosis.
Your bodys preferred energy source is glucose . When you drastically reduce your carb intake , your body is forced to start turning stored fat into ketones for fuel instead.
The only other benefit I see to being aware of net carbs is that it forces you to be more aware of your fiber intake, says Martin. In order to calculate net carbs, you have to look at the amount of fiber on the label. And fiber, as you know, is a power nutrient.
Easy ways to increase fiber intake include adding seeds to your morning oats or smoothie, adding avocados to your meals, snacking on raspberries, and swapping some animal proteins for plant ones .
Do You Count Net Carbs Or Total Carbs On Keto
One key to succeeding with the keto diet is counting net carbs, not total carbs. For most keto dieters, the maximum number of net carbs that will result in ketosis is 30 net carbohydrates.
Total carbohydrates include insoluble fiber and sugar alcohols, but since these nutritional components do not impact blood sugar, and therefore cant shift your body out of ketosis, they arent counted towards your daily keto carb limit.
On the other hand, knowing how many net carbs youre consuming is critical, because once you remove carbs from fiber and sugar alcohol, what remains are the carbs from starches and sugars, which will elevate your blood sugar and could ultimately, kick you out of ketosis.
Unlike fiber and sugar alcohols, which simply pass through your body and become waste, your body digests and uses starch and sugar for fuel. By strictly limiting your consumption of this type of fuel, aka glucose, your body is forced to produce an alternative fuel source, known as ketones.
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Which Carbohydrates Do You Focus On When Tracking Macros
Fibre: As we discussed in our previous blog post, fiber is the portion of carbohydrates found in plants that passes through your body undigested. In other words, fiber is not absorbed by the body, and generally does not impact blood sugar like other carbohydrates. Net carbs are the carbs left over that will be absorbed by the body. While we do know that insoluble fiber leaves the body completely undigested, the role of soluble fiber in the body is a little more complicated. Soluble fiber may be partially digested and doesnt necessarily have zero impact on blood sugar.
Sugar: On a nutrition label, sugar also falls under the category of carbohydrates. This number will include both added sugar and sugars found naturally in foods. So a food with a number other than zero isnt automatically banned from a keto diet, it just depends where the sugar is coming from. Avoiding all adding sugar is recommended, but natural sugars found in foods will not be. Even cauliflower has natural sugars! Reading the ingredient list if youre buying pre-packaged food will be a habit to form now that youre eating keto.
What Are Net Carbs
Theres more to a food label than just total carbohydrates. That total can also include fiber, sugar and sugar alcohols, which help determine your net carb intake.
What does net carbs mean? Net carbs are the carbohydrates in food that you digest and use for energy.
It might be surprising to hear that your body doesnt use everything you eat. In reality, your body cant completely break down and absorb some types of carbs, like fiber and sugar alcohols. They pass through your body without being digested. Thats why most fiber and sugar alcohols can be subtracted from your daily carb total.
On a keto diet, eating too many carbs can kick you out of ketosis. When you calculate net carbs, youll have a better idea of how many carbs youre actually eating in a day.
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Counting Carbs Should Be Straight Forward
If you are following a low-carb diet, you need to keep track of how many carbs you are eating each day.
You have to do this, so you can be sure to stay in the low-carb range.
Depending on your metabolism, the low-carb range is somewhere between 50 and 125 carbs a day.
Luckily, the Internet, food labels, and phone apps have made counting carbs a fairly easy task.
However, there is this idea of net carbs that gets bandied about that adds a level of confusion.