Understanding Net Carbs: A Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is a popular diet that emphasizes the consumption of high-fat and low-carbohydrate foods. The aim of this diet is to induce a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. One of the most important aspects of the ketogenic diet is the concept of net carbs.
Reducing carbs really helps me have more energy and even allows me to lose weight despite my PCOS. The important thing to know when counting carbs is that all carbs and net carbs are two very different things and net carbs are what you should be focusing on.
What are Carbs and Net Carbs?
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that make up our diet, along with protein and fat. Carbs are found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and sugar
. When we consume carbs, our body breaks them down into glucose, which is used for energy. However, when we consume too many carbs, our body stores the excess as fat.
Net carbs, on the other hand, refer to the total amount of carbohydrates in a food that are available for the body to use as energy. To calculate net carbs, you subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate count.
This is because fiber and sugar alcohols are not fully digested and absorbed by the body in the same way as other carbohydrates. Therefore, they have little to no impact on blood sugar levels and do not contribute to the body’s carbohydrate intake.
Why Counting Net Carbs is More Effective than Counting All Carbs
Counting net carbs is more effective than counting all carbs because it allows for a more accurate assessment of the impact of carbohydrate consumption on blood sugar levels and the body’s metabolic state. This is especially important for individuals on a ketogenic diet, where the aim is to maintain a low level of carbohydrates in the diet to induce and maintain a state of ketosis.
By counting net carbs, individuals can track their carbohydrate intake more accurately and make better food choices that are in line with their dietary goals.
How to Calculate Net Carbs
To calculate net carbs, you simply subtract the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate count. For example, if a food contains 10 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of sugar alcohols, the net carb count would be 5 grams (10g total carbs – 3g fiber – 2g sugar alcohols = 5g net carbs).
What Carbs Do Not Count in Your Net Carb Total
When calculating net carbs, there are certain types of carbs that do not count towards your total. These include:
Fiber: As mentioned earlier, fiber is not fully digested and absorbed by the body and therefore does not contribute to the body’s carbohydrate intake.
Sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that are commonly found in sugar-free and low-carb products. However, they are not fully absorbed by the body and have little to no impact on blood sugar levels.
Allulose: Allulose is a low-calorie sweetener that is found naturally in some foods, such as figs and raisins. Like sugar alcohols, it is not fully absorbed by the body and has little to no impact on blood sugar levels.
Understanding net carbs is essential for individuals on the ketogenic diet who are trying to maintain a state of ketosis. By counting net carbs, individuals can accurately assess their carbohydrate intake and make better food choices that align with their dietary goals.
Remember to subtract fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate count to calculate net carbs, and be aware of the types of carbs that do not count towards your net carb total.
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