Simple And Complex Carbs
As you probably know, there are different types of carbs.
At the highest level, they are categorised into two broad group: simple carbs and complex carbs.
Both simple and complex carbs are broken down in the small intestine and later become used as a source of energy in the body.
Simple carbs are broken down extremely quickly, whilst complex carbs are much more difficult to break down.
This is why youll often hear that the best carbs to consume, should you choose to do so, are complex carbs as they take longer to break down, and therefore keep you fuller for longer.
Essentially, both are still types of sugar, but complex carbs are longer molecules of the same stuff.
Whether youre a carb lover or carb hater, this basic nutritional science cannot be ignored. Its very basic metabolism.
Meals Not Just Ingredients
We dont just eat ingredients on their own. We eat these foods as part of meals or recipes
Many recipe websites will display the total carbs and fibre content of food, and some may also calculate the next carbs for you.
But if youre creating your own recipes there are a number of different tools that make it easy to find the figures you need.
I use the fitness software myfitnesspal which will help you calculate the total carbs and fibre in a recipe, which you can just put into the formula.
So here at Carb Dodging we promote a Low Carb Diet, from real, unprocessed foods. And real foods dont tend to have ingredient lists or nutrition labels. But if youre out and about, or havent had the chance to prepare your own food one day then youre going to want to know how to work out the net carbs of a food from the nutritional label.
Be aware that the label will usually show the nutritional information per serving, and not always per 100 grams. Sometimes they do show both.
The information you need to look for is highlighted in the image below.
On this label the total carbohydrates are 4 grams with 1 gram of fibre. So 4 minus 1 is 3- so this has net carbs of 3 grams per serving.
Pretty simple huh?
How Might The Keto Diet Affect My Period
Theres a possibility you may see a change in menstruation. Studies on younger women who eat severely low-carb for an extended period of time end up with irregular periods or missed periods, explains Whitmire. Severely limiting carbohydrates may be taxing on the adrenal system, leading to hormonal imbalances that disrupt a womans cycle. Similarly, rapid weight loss can also have this effect. The takeaway? Women may need more carbs on a keto diet compared to men, especially if a woman is noticing a change in her , she adds.
On the other side of the spectrum, there is limited evidence that for women with polycystic ovary syndrome , a ketogenic diet may improve their hormonal balance. The small study, published in Nutrition & Metabolism, found that a small group of women with PCOS who followed a keto diet for 24 weeks lost 12 percent of their body weight and reduced testosterone and insulin levels. Again, talk to your doctor, especially if youre using the diet as part of your treatment.
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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.
How To Improve Your Nutrition With Net Carbs
Even though low carb diets are popular and can be successful in promoting weight loss and improving overall health, many carbohydrates provide rich sources of nutrition – especially fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Using net carbs can allow additional room in your low carb diet for more nutrition from healthy carbs including:
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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.
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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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.
Adjust Your Calorie Intake For Weight Loss Or Weight Gain
If youre not looking to change your weight, you can skip this step.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat at a calorie deficit each day. A reduction of 1020% of calories is usually a good range to start with for weight or fat loss.
To reduce by 10%, multiply your total TDEE by 0.10, then subtract that amount from your original calorie count. This is the max amount of calories youll want to want to consume each day. Free apps like MyFitnessPal are a great way to track your daily caloric intake.
If you want to lose weight at a more rapid rate, feel free to increase the percentage just know that its not recommended to increase your calorie deficit by more than 30% each day long-term.
If you want to gain muscle, youll need to eat at a calorie surplus each day. A 510% calorie increase is a good range for putting on muscle. Start by multiplying your total calorie expenditure by 0.05, then add that number to your total calorie expenditure. This is your daily calorie count.
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Net Carbs Dont Seem Like Much
Youre right, 20 net carbs isnt a lot, and they can add up quickly.
This is why it is important to look at the net carb value for each meal youre eating. The best way to handle this is to make your own MEAL PLAN. By planning out your meals, you can tally up your days totals and you have the added benefit of knowing what youre eating for each meal.
Or, just come back as needed and use the keto Net Carb Calculator.
Carb Foods To Eat On The Keto Diet
On a keto meal plan, youll fuel up on plenty of healthy fats and high-quality protein sources. Youll get the bulk of your calories from foods like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and MCT oil, and youll get protein from both plant-based and animal sources.
When it comes to carbs, youll want to keep your blood sugar levels in check by consuming foods that rank low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index ranks foods 0-100, where higher numbers cause a higher spike in insulin levels. Avoid high-carb grains, starchy vegetables, and high-sugar fruits, instead building your diet on keto foods such as:
- Green leafy veggies, including kale, lettuce, asparagus, and arugula
- Low-sugar berries, including blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
- Cruciferous vegetables, including cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli
On a low-carb diet, youll also want to avoid all sugar, including soda, candy, baked goods, and even sugar alcohols. If youre craving something sweet, use a keto-friendly sweetener, such as stevia, Swerve, monk fruit, or erythritol.
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How Many Net Carbs On Keto
Staying under 20-25 net carbs on keto will help you reach ketosis faster.
However, its a sliding scale and varies from person to person. Some people may be able to enjoy up to 50 grams of net carbs and still enter a fat-burning state.
People who are more active can usually get away with more carbs, while people who are insulin resistant or have been eating a carb-heavy diet for a long time might need a lower threshold to start.
Do Sugar Alcohols Count As Net Carbs
Yes, nearly all listed sugar alcohol amounts on a nutrition food label should be divided by two to get the gram value that counts towards the net carb measurement of a food. For example, total of 3g of maltitol / 2 = 1.5g net carbs of maltitol.
The only sugar alcohol exception to the rule is erythritol, which you do not count any labelled erythritol grams of carbs to the final net carb equation.
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How Is The Macro Calculator Different For A Low Carb Versus Keto Diet
Your calorie needs are the same whether you follow a low carb diet or keto diet. But, the macronutrients will be different.
For a low carb diet, the low carb macro calculator will determine your macros by taking recommended percentages of fat, protein and carbohydrates. These are based on percentage of total calories, and you can adjust the percentages if you want to.
For a keto diet, the low carb macro calculator first sets your net carbs to an absolute amount. You can change this, but the default is 25 grams. Then, it calculates your protein requirement, which is based on your lean body mass and a protein ratio based on your activity level. The remaining calories come from fat.
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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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Common Questions About Net Carbs And Keto:
- How to read food labels?
If you missed our examples head back to the top of this article
- How many carbs should you eat per day on keto?
About 5 percent from carbohydrates which for most people will total of 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates per day, depending on your height and weight.
- How your body handles fiber carbs?
Fiber cant be broken down into sugar so it does not count toward your total carbs. Fiber is healthy in other ways.
- How your body handels sugar alcohol carbs?
Sugar alcohols typically have 1/2 the impact of regular carbs.
- Can you drink alcohol on a keto diet?
Its not the best choice but were human right? So Mr Skinny Pants says yes. Take a peek at our low carb food list which includes low carb alcohol.
- How much weight can I lose on keto?
- How long do I need to stay on the keto diet to lose weight?
It really varies. We find people start losing weight in as little as 3 days but we find it takes 2-5
- How much protein can I eat on keto?
Typically 15-20% of your total calories can come from protein on the keto diet.
Absorption Metabolism And Fermentation
Sugar alcohols are often used as sugar substitutes in food products because they are difficult to digest and often slow to metabolize. This property is a result of the presence of the alcohol group in the area that is typically occupied by a carbonyl group in sugars . It also prevents polyols from being hydrolyzed by salivary amylases and fermented by bacteria found in plaque, both of which contribute to the production of acid and caries.
Smaller polyols such as monosaccharides are absorbed in the small intestine via passive diffusion along a concentration gradient , whereas larger polyols are too large to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and are therefore poorly absorbed .
If unabsorbed in the intestines, the polyols may be fermented by bacteria or excreted as is. The absorption and fermentation rates differ from polyol to polyol due to the differing chemical structures therefore, they will result in different glycemic responses and gastrointestinal side effects . Thus, the amount of digestible carbohydrates that can also be metabolized in a food product is of interest to both food manufacturers and consumers.
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Total Carbs Vs Net Carbs
Whether youre following the Atkins® Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, Paleo or just trying to limit your carbs, experts will tell you its important to track and limit how many carbs youre eating.
Butif you ask them how you should count your carbs? Well, thats a whole different story.
There are two opinions here.
- Count the total carbs you consume
- Only count the net carbs you consume
The basic idea behind counting net carbs versus total carbs is that not all carbs are created equally, and therefore, will be used by your body differently.
While everybody is unique, many people find tracking net carbs to be a helpful way to reach their goals.
Before we jump in and learn what net carbs are and how to calculate them, lets go over the basics.
Creating A Healthy Carb Balance
The main goal in a low-carb or keto diet is to replace most carbohydrates with healthy fats and protein. But its also important to know exactly when you can have high-impact carbs versus low-impact carbs.
You can use high-glycemic carbs, for instance, to help support your workouts or for sports performance.
Take the keto quiz
However, for anyone following a relatively sedentary lifestyle, the energy from high-GI carbs isnt necessary.
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Sugar Alcohols And Carb Count
Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, are comprised of sugar molecules and alcohol molecules. They do not, however, contain ethanol, the compound that makes you tipsy after a few drinks.
Sugar alcohols are naturally occurring in a vast number of fruits and vegetables but theyre mostly used as alternative sweeteners. The most well-known ones are sorbitol, erythritol, xylitol, and maltitol and they are commonly found in sugar-free foods.
Even though they are considered alternatives to sugar, keep in mind that these polyols do contain calories and some of them might affect your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Learn how to calculate sugar alcohols net carbs here.
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