Low-carb and keto diets have gained popularity in recent times due to their potential benefits in weight loss and blood sugar management, especially for people with diabetes. To follow these diets effectively, an understanding of net carbs is crucial. In this article, we'll explain how to calculate net carbs and discuss some foods with low net carb content to help you stay on track with your low-carb diet.
What Are Net Carbs?
Net carbs refer to the carbohydrates in food that your body breaks down into sugars and releases into your bloodstream. They serve as an energy source, however, any excessive digestible carbs are stored as fat. People following low-carb diets generally set daily limits for total grams of net carbs, as well as per-meal or per-snack limits.
Calculating Net Carbs
To calculate net carbs, subtract the non-digestible carbs in a food from the total grams of carbs it contains. Non-digestible carbohydrates include dietary fiber and sugar alcohols.
Dietary Fiber: To determine net carbs for a food containing dietary fiber, subtract the grams of dietary fiber per serving from the total carbs.
Sugar Alcohols: Sugar alcohols are partially digestible. For foods containing sugar alcohols, subtract half the grams of sugar alcohols per serving from the total carbs. However, if the sugar alcohol is erythritol, subtract all its grams. In cases where the food has both fiber and sugar alcohols, you can subtract both from the total carbs.
Advantages of Counting Net Carbs
Counting net carbs can offer several potential benefits:
- It can help you achieve your goals on a low-carb or keto diet.
- It can encourage consumption of high-fiber foods, which may help manage cholesterol, blood sugar, and digestion.
- A low-carb diet can assist with blood sugar control for people with diabetes.
- Focusing on low-carb foods limits the intake of high-calorie, refined starches, and sugars.
Limitations of Net Carb Counting
However, there are several factors to consider when counting net carbs:
- Net carb counts do not account for the nutritional value of foods.
- This method can potentially lead to processed foods that contain sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners or other synthetic ingredients.
- Fat and protein macronutrients are not factored into net carb counting, but they may be essential in a keto diet.
- Calorie intake, the main factor in weight control, is not considered when counting net carbs.
Tips for Counting Net Carbs
Keep these tips in mind to make net carb counting more effective:
- Always prioritize nutrient-dense foods in your daily diet.
- Check the serving sizes carefully when calculating net carbs.
- Be aware of your individual goals for fat and protein, as advised by your healthcare provider.
- Use an app to help count net carbs.
Netrition provides a variety of low-carb, high-fat, and high-protein foods, including all-natural and healthy options. By practicing net carb counting, you can effectively follow a low-carb or keto diet. To maintain low carb intake, explore Keto-Friendly and Low-Carb sections on Netrition, making it easier for you to find delicious and easy-to-use low-carb foods that support your goals related to weight loss and blood sugar management.