Do you know what the term net carbs mean? It’s super important to know how to calculate net carbs when you’re on a keto diet. Here’s how.
When you follow any type of low carb diet, you’ll need to reduce your intake of net carbs. That’s why it’s so important for you to have a good understanding of how to calculate net carbs.
It’s pretty simple. Simply stated, net carbs are the number of grams of total carbohydrates in a portion of food minus the grams of fiber it contains. Since fiber is a carb your body can’t digest, it won’t raise your blood sugar levels or cause an insulin response in your body.
Therefore, it’s less likely that foods low in net carbs will cause interference with weight loss goals. That that is why so many people follow the keto diet and other low carb diets or low carb high fat diets.
Here is a list of foods that contain either zero or a low level of carbohydrates. It should help you understand why these foods are often listed as approved foods on the keto diet or other low-carb diets:
Zero Carb Food Examples
- Organic Pastured Chicken
- Grassfed Beef
- Heritage Pork (including bacon not sugar-cured)
- Grassfed Lamb
- Wild Caught Salmon
- Wild Caught Trout
Low Carb Veggie Examples
- Broccoli contains 6 carbs in each cup or 7 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Tomatoes contains 7 carbs in a large tomato, or 4 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Onions contains 11 carbs in each cup or 9 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Brussels Sprouts contains 6 carbs in each 1/2 cup, or 7 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Cauliflower contains 5 carbs in each cup and 5 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Kale contains 7 carbs in each cup or 10 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Cucumber contains 2 carbs in each half cup or 4 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
Low Carb Fruit Examples
Be very aware that fruits are much higher in carb content when compared with veggies thanks to their higher levels of sugar.
- Strawberries contain 11 carbs per cup or 8 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Apricots contain 8 carbs in 2 small apricots, or 11 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Avocados contain 13 carbs per cup or 8.5 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
- Grapefruits contain 13 carbs in 1/2 of a grapefruit or 11 carbs per 3.5 ounce serving.
You can easily calculate the approximate number of grams of net carbs in any food. If it’s a packaged food, go ahead and look at the food label:
Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber – Sugar alcohol = Net carbs
Most food labels will break down the carbohydrate content into total carbohydrates, sugar and fiber.
The total carbohydrate listing combines all of the carbs and therefore includes sugars, fiber, starches, glycerin and sugar alcohol. The food label lists the number of grams in each serving.
Dietary fiber is the amount of indigestible or partially digestible bulk from plant-based foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, oats and seeds.
Sugar alcohols are typically found in foods with labels that say “sugar-free” on them, and may include things like candy, baked goods and juices. However, sugar alcohols have become a popular ingredient in packaged low carb foods.
Sugar alcohols get the name from the molecular structure – a hybrid between a molecule of sugar molecule and a molecule of alcohol. Sugar alcohols are similar in structure to sugar. However, they’re are poorly metabolized or poorly digested by the body.
The reason sugar alcohol has become so popular is because they don’t contain many calories (if any) and they have only a minimal impact on insulin levels. So they’re safe for diabetics.
Here’s a list of some popular sugar alcohols so you can identify them when you look at a nutrition label:
- Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates
When you’re first learning how to calculate net carbs by yourself, it can be confusing. However, you now have the information you need to understand what net carbs are. Before you know it, you’ll be counting net carbs in your sleep.