Ketosis 101

Should I Count Net Or Total Carbs? – How to Count Carbs on Keto

Yes your carb count is just a number but it is important to count them correctly

I f you have ever wondered how to count carbs on keto you are not alone. How to count carbs on keto is easily one of the more popular questions among new keto dieters. Even so opinions vary except they really shouldn’t since how to count carbs on keto has an easy answer. Some people of course are metabolically gifted and seem to do rather well at counting net carbs.

For a lot of other people to see early signs of some weight loss success they need to count total carbs to measure their progress on keto. Sound complicated? Don’t worry counting carbs on keto is way easier than it sounds at first. Now lets read on and work out how to count our carbs properly as well as learn more about them.

Our Pick: The Complete Ketogenic Diet For Beginners
The Complete Ketogenic Diet For Beginners
To find out more information about the different fasting techniques on a ketogenic diet we recommend this excellent literature.

How to Count Carbs on Keto

When sugars are present in our foods, a sugar response can be triggered in many people even if there is a lot of fiber in any given food group. For example, if you eat a ‘low-carb taquito’, you may find yourself desiring either more of the taquito or foods that have similar properties, meaning that you simply consume more carbs that you either want or need.

Some carbohydrates are really good and healthy for our bodies; for example fresh food that includes food groups such as leafy vegetables and garden greens grown above ground. Then of course there are carbohydrates that are bad for our long term health prospects and success on the keto diet.

These would be processed and packaged foods, also known as “ready meals” in some quarters. These foods will contain a list of ingredients that just aren’t fresh food and in many cases are additives and are not natural at all. Greens such as spinach and broccoli will not make you fat or put on weight no matter how much you eat. Eating lots of greens may make you feel full but that is not the same thing.

What About Natural Foods and Carbs?

On the other hand eating even small quantities of refined carbs/sugars/artificial ingredients can certainly cause you to put on weight at different speeds. Either way your weight will be heading in the wrong direction.

Yet both of these food groups, greens and processed are carbohydrates – so why should I care about this?
There is a wealth of science and academic research that measures the Glycemic Index (GI). Which is foods ranked according to their ability to raise glucose and stimulate insulin in the body. Comparing carbs is a bit like calorie counting. In that the food groups that they represent are not alike. That 950 calorie burger meal cannot be compared to a 950 calories salad and veg meal in terms of nutrients and “good carbs”

To summarise this and to make it easier for you. Fresh whole food leafy green veggies such as broccoli and spinach are the lowest on the GI scale and healthiest types of carbs as they don’t raise your bodies glucose levels or stimulate insulin.

However as fresh whole foods and greens become more starchy and sweeter. Examples that I could pick out might include but not be limited to root vegetables and certain fruits, they climb the GI scale and therefore push up glucose and insulin, so you’ll put on some weight. Not all fruits are bad for you of course, if you love fruits then note the keto friendly fruits right here.

The Problem With Processed Foods and Carbs

Now we get to processed and so called packaged food ( Ready Meals ), those refined carbs made in a factory with a long list of added ingredients on the label. These foods add extra sugars, fats, salts, you name it. Often you see them advertising reasonable net carbs (total carbs less fiber) including a long list of ingredients. Or let’s replace the word ingredients with artificial chemicals shall we. Then of course the marketing guys realized they could pump “low fat” versions of the same processed foods. In many cases they were and are not much better for you.

So these types of carb laden processed foods are at the top of the GI index, with glucose and insulin level shooting up as high as the clouds. Your body won’t be burning fat for fuel and your increased insulin levels will be transporting your excess glucose to your cells and depositing as fat, and you’ll be back to hormonal imbalances and hunger pangs. In short you are going to put on weight again.

The bad news is that these processed and packaged foods aren’t conducive to producing adequate ketones. It is ketones that stave off hunger and cravings for unnecessary foods and help make beneficial changes in your health. Far too many people following a ketogenic diet fall for the “net carb” marketing persuasion or purchase products advertising “gluten free,” “no added sugars”, or “low-carb diet friendly”. Be astute of how these food choices are marketed so you know what to look for. As chances are they are already impacting you if you want to be in ketosis as fast as possible and reap all the weight loss rewards and health benefits that the ketogenic diet and lifestyle can offer.

The Benefits of Counting Total Carbs While on Keto

One of the primary benefits of counting total carbs is you avoid these crafty marketing ploys, like I mentioned above. So for instance if the only carbs you consume are derived from Keto-friendly greens, the impact of net vs total carbs would be minimal. Greens are, on average, 75% insoluble fiber, with the soluble being a small percentage of the whole. But “processed products” can be more like 90% soluble which will have a Keto-adverse affect on your body because they break down all wrong.

So what I recommend is to monitor to your body frequently whilst eating a on keto diet. There are lots of delightful recipes so this is a good thing anyway. If you happen to find yourself suddenly craving foods especially carb laden packaged foods and other naughty sweet things, that’s your signal to reassess what you’re consuming.

In this way you can be certain to make sure there aren’t any hidden sugars and additives  (even starchy veg ) in your diet. You can relax in the knowledge that you haven’t consumed too many carbs for your personal tolerance. You can be more confident that you are heading in the right direction and towards success and contentment.

Further Reading

To learn more about all of these different types of food groups and how to better understand carbs in a way that drives satisfying results on the ketogenic diet you could consider this additional literature on the topic.

Our Pick: The Complete Ketogenic Diet For Beginners
The Complete Ketogenic Diet For Beginners
To find out more information about the different fasting techniques on a ketogenic diet we recommend this excellent literature.

If you think these info articles are useful consider joining our newsletter for regular recipes and unbeatable tips for keto dieters just like you.

Tags
Show More

Sara Louise

Sara works at MWFitness and is the editor of KetoFirst. She enjoys maintaining an active healthy lifestyle and sharing her recipes, blog posts and fitness successes with others around the world.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Close