I know I have covered this a little here and there in previous posts but I really haven’t gotten into what types of carbs there are; why some carbs are good and some are bad; what each type of carb does to the body while on keto; and calculating your carbs on a daily basis while on the keto diet. That’s what this article will be for and I will try not to confuse people that are new to the keto diet and not as versed on the subject.
So what is the importance of carb counting on keto?
Not keeping track of your carbs while on the keto diet can really crush your results. Nothing is more discouraging than to be on a diet and not be getting consistent results or any results at all. To achieve the results that everyone wants on the keto diet, you really have to make sure you keep yourself under 30-40 carbs a day (exact number varies for each person.) As i have said in other articles, this is to keep your body in a state of ketosis, without which you would lose much weight on the keto diet.
How to Count
Counting carbs on the keto diet isn’t as simple as just counting how many whole carbs you are taking in. There are actually a couple of aspects that you have to take into effect when you are trying to figure up your daily number. You look at your food nutrition facts label to find your carbohydrate information. This is where the meat of this lesson is stored.
Once you have found the carbohydrate information you look and the number of grams of total carbs and subtract your grams of fiber and half of your total number of sugar alcohol grams to get your net carbs. Net carbs is what you base your 30-40 grams of carbs a day on.
Example: Total carbs = 10
Fiber = 2
Sugars = 7
Erythritol = 1
Net carbs = 7.5
So in this example you have 10 total grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of Erythritol. In order to count this correctly you would subtract you grams of fiber and half of your Erythritol ( sugar alcohol) from your total grams of carbs. So the end result would be 10-2-.5= 7.5 net carbs. Now I will break down why exactly why we separate the fiber and half of the sugar alcohols from the total carbs and what they do within the keto diet.
Fiber is a carbohydrate unlike any other carbohydrate. Regular carbs breakdown into sugar molecules (insulin and glucose,) this means that they are digested as they go through the body and processed. Fiber however is not broken down into these sugar molecules and since it isn’t absorbed by the body we do not count this towards our net carb count.
Fiber is also an empty calorie that helps produce regular bowl movements and helps keep you full longer. Given that it helps keep you full, it can suppress your appetite and keep you from splurging on unnecessary calories while you are on the keto diet.
Suagr alcohol is a carb that the body sometimes doesn’t process to well. Not to say this about everyone but some people struggle to be able to process this carbs. Due to the way our bodies process sugar alcohols we have to count them differently as noted above. Some sugar alcohols are processed about half-way giving us the 1:.5 measurement that we use to count toward our net carbs while others are not digested at all. This is the reason why some people would give the advice to not count the sugar alcohols at all when trying to find your net carbs.
The reason I say to count it as 1/2 for every 1 is due to the fact that most labels do not specify which sugar alcohol they have used in their products. So while erythritol is not digested by the body and can be counted on a 1:1 ratio, others such as xylitol and maltitol have a higher number on the glycemic index, meaning that they do have an effect on blood sugar levels and can’t exactly be counted on a 1:1 ratio.
Count to Count on Losing
I know it may seem a little confusing at first but personally seeing the results of being able to count your carbs has helped me want to grasp the concept. Do not just take my word for it. Every keto coach and keto fanatic will tell you that you have to be able to count your carbs correctly to stay on top of your diet and keep your body in ketosis 24/7.
The end goal is to lose weight and feel better. Counting is just a means towards that end. It will take a few weeks of getting to know what carb content your regular keto foods have in them but after that you will be a pro at counting. Then you can get creative with your meal planning and your prep work. Keto is a great lifestyle once you learn the ins and outs.