This topic is literally the most asked about topic that slides into our direct messages on Instagram. We personally consider total carbs and do not subtract fiber or sugar alcohols to track net carbs. Why? Because net carbs give us too much wiggle room to eat processed foods filled with extra fiber.
Imagine eating 2 slices of zero net carb bread that’s actually 24g total carbs — that’s just one meal so the carbs will eventually add up throughout the day and you end up woth 60-70g total carbs and likely kicked out of ketosis. When we limit our carbs to 20g total carbs, it makes us tighten our food choices because we have to focus on proteins, greens, and berries. We like to eat until we feel satiated and we are never satiated with protein bars or other grab and go type keto snacks – which are usually 15-25g total carbs. The best way to know how many total carbs you can eat without getting kicked out of ketosis is to simply test yourself at different total carb counts.
The majority of people we talk to use net carbs to guide their eating. It’s important to know how to calculate net carbs when you are first starting keto. You always want to subtract any fiber or sugar alcohols. Something to note is that if there is allulose, the FDA requires companies to label it as sugar – so read ingredients closely so you can calculate net carbs accurately.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if it seems too good to be true, it’s cause it is. Case in point the three bean medley from Target, Shiitake Mushroom crisps from Costco, and even the Great Value Organic Peanut Butter. The Target and Costco items had international label translation issues which made the net carbs look much lower than they actually are. The Great Value Peanut Butter has an updated label showing a higher carb count on the new label.
If calculating net carbs is overwhelming to you when you are first starting keto, use an app like Carb Manager, which will do the work for you. After several weeks of carb counting, you will get the hang of it and it will be like second nature to you.