How To Calculate Net Carbs
Whether to count net or total carbs is a controversial topic within the low-carb community.
For starters, the term net carbs isnt officially recognized or agreed upon by nutrition experts. In addition, due to conflicting and outdated information, figuring out how to calculate net carbs can be confusing.
In fact, the net carb claims on packaged foods may not reflect the number of carbs your body actually absorbs.
Luckily, knowing how your body processes different types of carbs may help you achieve your target blood sugar, weight loss and health goals.
This article looks at the science behind net carbs, provides simple calculations for determining your intake and discusses the pros and cons of counting net carbs.
Lifestyle Factor And Goals
But the keto calculator takes it even a step further, by also accounting for your daily activity level as well as your primary goal.
Obviously, if youre a highly active individual, like a construction worker, youre going to burn more calories every day than someone who works at a desk most of the day and doesnt exercise much.
As such, its imperative to be realistic about your daily activity level if you want to accurately predict your true calorie expenditure. If anything, we recommend erring on the side of caution and entering a lifestyle factor that is one step below what you optimistically feel your actual daily activity is like.
Lastly, by taking your primary goal into consideration, the keto calculator will let you know exactly how much to eat whether you want to lose weight , maintain weight, or gain weight .
You can also select the how much you want to change your weight by weekly it stops at the two-pound mark as we dont recommend going beyond this for health purposes .
What Is Keto Flu
Once you start your ketogenic diet adventure, you will probably experience an unpleasant phase known as the keto flu. Also known as a carb flu, this is a short-term response of your body to a drastic change in nutritional habits.
Keto flu can be compared to the withdrawal syndrome. When you cut your carbohydrate intake, your body will initially crave carbs and have difficulties adjusting to the new diet. Symptoms resemble a regular flu. You might experience: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, general weakness or dizziness, stomach pains, or difficulty sleeping. These symptoms usually cease after about a week.
Another unpleasant side effect of the keto diet is a keto rash. While not extremely common, it might happen to you at some point. The skin, usually around the neck, back and upper chest becomes red, itchy, and covered with a rash. The rash disappears after reintroducing carbohydrates into your diet.
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Find Your Basal Metabolic Rate
The first step to determine macros is finding your Basal Metabolic Rate . BMR refers to the number of calories you burn every day just to keep your body functioning properly. If you did nothing but lay in bed for a full day, your body would still burn calories as it keeps you alive. The number of calories it takes is your BMR.
Nutritionists and scientists have found many ways to determine your BMR. Our preferred method is the Harris-Benedict Equation. It is:
Female BMR Equation
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What Are The Macros And Why Should I Care
Macros are the essential macronutrients that your body needs to function. Our Simple Macro Calculator can help you find how much of each of the three groups of Macronutrients you will need. These nutrients are:
Carbs are the fuel of our body. Actually, glucose one of the monosaccharides is the only molecule that our body can turn into energy directly. Sugar comes mostly from plants . The Keto diet is about reducing the carb intake so that the body consumes its stored fat.
Instead of using carbs, we often refer to the Net Carb number which corresponds to the total amount of carbs to which are taken away the Fiber and some of the Sugar Alcohols because both are technically carbs but arent metabolized by the body.
Dietary fats have many roles in our bodies. Fattic acids help absorb some of the vitamins that are only soluble in fats, but good fats are also useful for the brain or even for the heart. The body can turn carbs into fats for storage. It can also turn fats into glucose which is the mechanism when the body is in Ketosis.
Proteins are made of amino acids that are essential to our bodies. They are the main components of our organs muscles and plenty of other tissues or organs. 21 amino-acids are necessary for the body to function. Nine of them are called essential amino acids because they cannot be synthesized by the body.
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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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In a Standard American Diet , you might eat between 100-150 carbs per day and still be considered low-carb. Unfortunately, this wont transition your body into a fat-burning state of ketosis. On the keto diet, your carb count will be far lower, often between 25-50 grams of carbs per day.
Below, youll learn how many carbs on keto most people consume, why your macro goals may vary, and how to calculate your carb, protein, and fat intake. Youll also learn some healthy sources of carbs to consider for your keto diet.
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Why Measure Total Carbs
Its easier to measure total carbs no subtraction necessary!
The benefit of measuring total carbs is most evident when it comes to manufactured or packaged products.
The effect of the natural insoluble fiber found in fruit and veggies is well known and has been well-studied. Its called insoluble fiber because your body doesnt absorb it at all.5
Naturally-occurring soluble fiber is a little different. Soluble fiber forms a gel and increases the viscosity of the digested food. While some soluble fiber may get absorbed, it is more likely that it gets fermented by gut bacteria. Therefore, soluble fiber can contribute a small number of calories, but it doesnt usually impact blood sugar and insulin significantly.
However, the fiber added to packaged food products is often the kind of soluble fiber that can contribute to increases in blood sugar and insulin.
For instance, isomaltooligosaccharide significantly raises blood sugar and insulin levels.6 Food manufacturers often count IMO as fiber and subtract it from total carbs to market a low-net-carb product. Unfortunately, your body will not agree.
Other examples of added fibers are inulin, xanthan gum, tapioca fiber, and chicory root. While none of these will likely cause the same adverse reaction as IMO, we still recommend caution as many of these added fibers have not been extensively studied.
How Much Protein To Eat On Keto
Some people on a keto diet make the mistake of consuming too much protein.
Your body can also convert protein to energy for the body. Eating more than is needed for muscle repair and preservation will cause your body to do this. The goal is to burn body fat for extra energy, not extra protein.
No more than .8 grams per pound of bodyweight should be consumed while on a keto diet. The calculator default is set at .7 grams per pound.
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What Is The Recommended Keto Macros Ratio
We’ve already mentioned that the most common ratio for macronutrients during a ketogenic diet is 70% fats, 5% carbohydrates, and 25% protein. Some dietitians recommend increasing the proportion of fats even higher, to 75%, and cutting protein down to 20%. You can modify the macro split by manually inputting the desired percentage in our keto weight loss calculator.
You could also try an alternative to the standard ketogenic diet: a cyclical keto diet, favored by those trying to reduce their body fat and build their muscle mass. In this diet, you regulate your nutrition by adhering to the standard keto diet for 5-6 days in a row, followed by 1-2 days of increased carbs intake. The goal of such a diet is to regularly replenish the glucose reserve in your blood.
Why Is Counting Carbs On Keto So Important
When you keep net carbs low enoughtypically under 50 grams of net carbs per dayyour body enters ketosis: a metabolic state where you shift from burning carbs for energy to burning fat for fuel.
Getting into ketosis, and staying there, is the whole goal of keto. When youre in ketosis, you feel lasting energy, a cognitive boost and fewer cravings, to name just a few benefits. Keto can even help you stay at a healthy weight.
The problem is that eating too many carbs can prevent you from reaching ketosis and staying there. Thats why learning how to figure out net carbs is so important.
Go over your carb limit, and youll fall out of ketosis and lose out on all the benefits. If youre not seeing results on keto, our number one recommendation is to look at your macronutrient breakdown . This is true whether you follow clean keto or a dirty keto diet.
Regardless of your diet, a high amount of carbs can also contribute to the following side effects:
- Spikes in your blood sugar
- Disruptive changes to your hormones
- Shifts in your gut bacteria
- Health conditions like obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome
The trick is figuring out what your ideal carb intake looks like.
The reality is, carbs are fine in moderation. But if youre on a strict keto diet, you have to pay attention to every single gram and how your body responds to different foods.
Net carbs are important, but theyre not the whole picture on keto. Keep reading to find out why.
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How To Calculate Net Carbs For Keto
Wondering how to count carbs and stay in ketosis? Use this manual net carb calculator:
Grams of total carbs fiber sugar alcohols = Net carbs
Heres one important element to factor into your net carb formula: Not all sugar alcohols are truly carb-free.
Some sugar alcohols can actually kick you out of ketosis because they have a high glycemic load. However, certain manufacturers selling low-carb or sugar-free foods will subtract those sugar alcohols from the total carb count. This makes products appear lower-carb than they actually are. Yikes.
On the other side of things, manufacturers will sometimes list sugar alcohols that dont affect your blood sugar as if they were normal carbs, making net carb counts seem higher than they actually are.
So, how are you supposed to calculate net carbs for keto? Know your sugar alcohols.
What’s The Deal With Net Carbs On Keto Learn How To Calculate Net Carbs The Difference Between Total Carbs Vs Net Carbs How To Read Them On Labels The Carb Impact Of Sweeteners And More
Despite all the popular terminology surrounding the keto diet, net carbs remains elusive. Many nutrition labels dont clearly label them, but theyre important to keep in mind if youre tracking carb intake. This begs the question: What are net carbs, are total carbs vs net carbs the same thing, and why should you know how to calculate them ?
This article does the deep diving for you. Youll learn how to figure net carbs, the difference between total carbs vs net carbs, how sugar alcohols impact carb counts, and a handy net carb calculator to determine the ideal amount you should have each day.
Looking for the net carb calculator? Jump to the net carb calculator!
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How Are Macros Calculated Why Do You Need All This Information Are You Sure The Calculation Is Right
The calculator above does everything for you, so you dont have to know how to calculate macros manually. If you want to know how it works or why we need the information, here is an overview
The majority of information you need to enter is to find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure , which is the number of calories you burn per day. This is determined by your gender, age, height, weight, and activity level.
We use the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation for calculating Basal Metabolic Rate , which is the number of calories you burn for basic, life-sustaining functions. This equation has been shown to be most accurate *.
Then, your activity level combined with BMR determines the TDEE.
Your body fat percentage is used to determine lean body mass, which affects how much protein you need.
We do not store or save any information you enter into the macro calculator.
The low carb and keto macro calculator provides accurate macros as long as you enter the information correctly, in the right units.
How Do You Calculate Keto Ratio
It is possible to go it alone and work out your own specific keto macro ratio based on the approved figures and fine-tune it by experience over time. But why would you want to do that when you can just use a keto calculator?
Our keto macro calculator is simple to use and takes into account:
- Your age
- Your body fat
- Your lifestyle
Based on your answers – and be honest here! – the calculator will work out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure , which is the number of calories you burn in a day.
Then it will ask you to input your goal and then it will calculate the amount and ratio of the macros. In effect it is a calorie deficit calculator and calorie surplus calculator, depending on your needs.
Dont forget keto weight loss calculator recommendations are just a starting point. You want the machine that is your body to be fine-tuned, so its best to start with those macros until youre more experienced and then you can tweak the recommendations if you so choose. Some who have reached their desired keto goals continue to follow the keto diet but adjust their macros a few days a week, similar to the cyclic ketogenic diet described above in which keto days are interspersed with higher carb days.
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How To Configure Myfitnesspal
Signing up for MyFitnessPal is simple. You can use Facebook or your email, and it will ask you for your goals, height, weight, activity level, etc. Feel free to change the units to whatever you prefer to use from here on out.
Keep in mind that you can adjust your calorie goals later if you wish. I find that using the keto calculator provides me with a more accurate estimate of how much I need to eat. After I use the calculator to find my daily needs, I plug it into MyFitnessPal.
Finally Determine How Much Fat You Should Be Consuming
Phew, we made it! This is the easiest part. The remaining calories are what will come from fat. Heres how to see how many calories are coming from protein, carbs, and fat. Keep in mind that there are 4 calories per gram for protein and carbs, and 9 calories per gram for fat.
Multiply total carbohydrate grams by 4. In our example, we used 20. So, 20g X 4 = 80 calories.
Multiply total protein grams by 4. In our example, we used 112. So, 112g X 4 = 448
- 80+448=528 is your total calories so far. You have 2,000 calories in total.
- 2,000-528=1,472 left over. Now divide this leftover amount by 9 to get our total for fat.
- 1,472/9 = 163g of fat
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How Do I Reach The Protein Intake Level That Was Recommended
The easiest way to meet your protein needs is by making sure you are consuming a good protein source at each meal. Here is a list of some of the most common protein sources you can add to your keto meals:
- Wild Caught Fatty Fish
- Higher Protein Cheeses
- Low Carb Protein Powders
Most keto dieters will be able to meet their protein needs with 2-3 keto meals that contain one or more of these protein sources. If keto recipes arent enough to help you meet your protein needs, all you need to do is add one of the high protein foods from the list above.
Here are a couple of examples:
To add as much protein as possible with minimal calories and fat:
- Add an unflavored protein powder to your keto sauce or dressing.
- Add white meat chicken, turkey, or other lean meats or fish to your meal.
- Have egg whites with your meal.
- Make a quick protein shake with a low carb protein powder.
To add extra protein and fat to your meal:
- Add higher fat meats like bacon, sausage, and fattier cuts of meat to your meals.
- Have whole eggs with your meal.
- Add extra high protein cheese to your meal.
- Have some high protein nuts and nut butters .
For more high protein and/or high fat keto meal ideas, check out our keto recipes. Dishes that feature seafood or meat will typically have the highest protein content.