All food labels are required to list the total carbohydrates; this will tell us how many grams of carbohydrates are in each serving. Total carbs also include dietary fiber and sugars (and sugar alcohols).
But what we REALLY want to be focusing on is NET CARBS. I’ll be explaining how to calculate and utilize net carbs and why they are so important in this article.
What are Net Carbs?
Net carbs are the number of carbs in an item minus the dietary fiber.
Be sure to pay attention to serving sizes when factoring your net carbs. You may get excited when you see that something has 1g net carbs, only to find out there are 50 servings!
It’s also important that there are as little sugars and sugar alcohols as possible.
How to Calculate Net Carbs
To calculate net carbs, you want to use this simple formula:
Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber = Net Carb
Why We Focus on Net Carbs
Now that you know how to calculate net carbs, let’s talk about why we use them versus total carbs in your ketogenic macros. It’s all about the fiber and it’s effect on your blood sugar.
Insoluble fiber cannot be absorbed and therefore has zero effect on blood sugar levels. This is important to understand because a spike in blood sugar can kick the body out of ketosis.
Soluble fiber CAN be absorbed; However, recent studies have shown that soluble fiber can actually lower blood glucose. While more research is needed on the effect on blood sugar, we do know that when soluble fiber ferments in the gut, it helps to regulate the ghrelin hormone which helps us stay fuller, longer.
It’s true that some people are extremely sensitive to carbs in any form – even 1 berry ca spike their blood sugar levels – and will need to count total carbs.
I am a firm believer in net carbs.
In fact, even some experts who advocate for total carbs include “net effective carbs” in their recipes.
For women, when we over-restrict carbohydrates and barely consume any, it can really mess with our thyroid, adrenals, and endurance. There are many “keto haters” – even medical professionals – who talk about keto being harmful to a woman’s hormones, and that is true for women who cut out carbs almost completely.
But fellow ketonians, that is not us! Our daily macronutrient targets count net grams of carbs, which will help you lose weight, regulate your hormones, and keep you filled with amazing, whole foods!
How to Use Net Carbs
Lastly, speaking of whole food sources of carbohydrates: it is tempting to use all of your carbohydrates on fat bombs and things of that nature. While you may stay within your macros, you are missing out on many essential macronutrients.
Be sure to include lots of vegetables, avocados, coconut, seeds, nuts, and occasionally some berries each day. Your fat-burning body will be at optimum health now and for years to come, because this is the most amazing, most