It is not only sugar

(Doing a Mediterranean Keto) #1

Two days ago, I did hummus, for my wife and me. It was 200g of chickpeas per person (plus olive oil, etc.). The next day I had gone up by 800g. In the next two days, I have eaten normally (no additional carbs) and I have gone down 900g (300g the first day, 600g the second day).

So, carbs from chickpeas are also bad for me.

Equally, I have been trying several brands of protein bars. My initial criterion was to get as few sugars as possible. But I was not looking at total carbs. The experience is that the bars which are high in carbs (31g per 100g; 19g in polyols, 2.5g in sugar) lead me to higher levels of hunger, throughout the day. Instead, bars which are lower in carbs (about 16g per 100g, 15g in polyols, less than 1g in sugar) do not lead to higher levels of hunger.

I do not know the real issue, but I assume that polyols are not the culprit, but “the rest” of carbs, since the bars which are high in carbs have 12g of non-polyol carbs, and the bars which are low in carbs, they have only 1g of non-polyoil carbs. But this is only a hypothesis, I am not sure 100%.

So, to summarize, it seems I am quite sensitive to more types of carbs than sugars. Of course, there are some carbs which are great to me, since in fact, most of the food I eat is in the form of vegetables, which create zero problems to me.

Is there a finer distinction in carbs, not only sugars, but also another type of carbs which is not sugar, but not vegetable-carbs, either?

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #2

All carbs become glucose in the body. Also stay away from processed foods (bars, bags, boxes) because they may contain inflammatory PUFA (bad oils).

Some people are sensitive to total fiber and some not. Likely soluble fiber may convert to glucose in some people.

I’m very sensitive to carbs of all types and even small doses of fructose in a few ounces of berries. You have to find what works for you.

(Doing a Mediterranean Keto) #3

Good recommendations, thank you. The bars I am eating now have 4,2g of total fat, of which 2,2g are saturated. So PUFAs are a maximum of 2g, which probably is low. I eat lots of olive oil and nuts, which I guess are good fats. I never use canola oil or similars (source of PUFA) since here in Barcelona, we always cook with olive oil.

Fiber is not a problem for me, I think.

I will have to look very carefully about sources of carbs. I try to eat a bit of fruit to see what happens, and I am not sure about the effects (not like the chickpeas, though, for sure).

Having said that, I want to have a part of the food which is “pleasure”, to be able to maintain this WOE. I think these healthier bars, plus chaffles, are good enough for me to get enough food pleasure throughout the day. Doing a perfect keto would be psychologically much harder, for the long term.


All net carbs are bad for me as far as I know. But I can handle any kind in tiny amounts. And it matters a bit if it’s almost pure carbs or not, nothing surprising about it. But the total amount of net carbs of my day matters the most.
Maybe you simply don’t eat much enough vegetable carbs in one sitting (or in your day) or the fiber helps…? Carbs in vegetables aren’t special, they are sugars and starches…

I don’t care about total carbs as they don’t seem to matter to me at all. Basically all net carbs make me hungrier, fiber and erythritol do nothing with my hunger/satiation. But it’s different for many other people. We are all different and I am sure not everything can be explained easily or at all, there are just too many mysterious personal factors and even our actual woe changes things.

I am a hedonist. All my food gives me pleasure. I can’t imagine a tastier food than good quality fatty pork but I am surely biased. Still, I like variety but I can have it… Fortunately, I love sweets (they aren’t needed anymore but nice and useful) and not carbs, I have zillion recipes and some creativity if it’s about my food and joy so I have special options anyway even on my extreme low-carb diet. Our taste may change too. Do what works for you now, I am all for enjoying our diet but health is even more important so choose carefully. You surely find tasty options which are good for you.

I don’t believe in “perfect keto”. We are different, we need different things. So our ideal keto is very different too, your diet isn’t worse just because you eat something others consider bad. Your diet is worse if you eat something harmful for you and even so, amounts matter, our body can handle a bit of not ideal or even toxic stuff (alcohol, for example), we shouldn’t overdo it, of course. I would gain absolutely nothing from giving up my tiny alcoholic drinks. But they are rare. Eating processed stuff every day (or month), that wouldn’t sit well with me. But you decide about your own diet and see what happens.
By the way, if you find keto too hard, maybe try a way stricter version :smiley: If you are that type. When I was miserable with my tiny, 40g net carbs limit, I tried <10g (without meat, I did vegetarian keto for long, until recently). I never looked at 40g net carbs the same way again… Though it was still too small for my love towards vegetables. Then I skipped plants, added meat and everything got way better. Sometimes you think you know yourself and a different diet changes everything…

One carby day is very different from multiple carby days in row, at least for some of us though it sounds logical to me. Our body handles some additional burden but if it happens again and again, that’s no good. Frequency and amounts are both very important for me and surely for many others.

Sorry for getting carrying away as I tend to.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #5

Carbohydrate is just another name for sugar. In fact all carbohydrates are scientifically ‘saccharides’. Some taste ‘sweeter’ than others so folks mistakenly think the sweet ones are ‘sugar’ and the others something else. But they’re all ‘sugar’ and all end up as glucose sooner or later. The rise and subsequent drop in glucose is what causes the hunger signal. Fructose is the exception in that only part converts to glucose and the rest to other stuff which then hangs around in the liver, mostly as fat. Good observations, by the way.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #6

Stay away from the protein bars. Emulsifiers, artificial sweeteners and the like have nothing to do with healthy food, carbs or not. Eat some nuts if you need a snack (snacking is not recommended during keto, but if you’re starting you might want to have some portable food handy).

All “complex” carbs are converted to glucose, stored as glycogen and will bind ~400% water. That is, if you eat 200g net carbs you might gain 1kg weight, as 200g glycogen bind 800g water. Glycogen stores will be empty after a few days, so this is consistent with your report. That doesn’t mean that carbs are bad for you, that’s just the way evolution designed us to use carbs. “Bad” however is if blood glucose and/or insulin spikes, which happens for 90% of us (therefore keto is healthy).

But don’t worry too much about a pound here and there. Fluctuations of up to 3 pounds from baseline are normal, due to salt intake and other factors that don’t influence fat mass.

(Doing a Mediterranean Keto) #7

No, I am not starting, I am in maintenance already, after losing like 28kg.

It is easy to say “Stay away from protein bars”. The problem is that this is perfection, and life is not perfect. If I do not eat protein bars for a few months, but later I realize that I miss something deeply, I may risk to return to old habits.

Instead, if I get a bit of pleasure per day, everything is sustainable for the long term, or at least, it is easier.

I use chaffles, which help. But bars have something that chaffles do not.



High-starch foods like bread, rice, and potatoes actually have a higher glycemic index (i.e. glucose response) than table sugar.

But chickpeas are relatively low in the glycemic index:


The glycemic index tells us “how bad” different things are. If you’re going to experiment start with the starchy carbs, not the sugary ones. Most people I’ve found do way better with those. Some will argue that ALL carbs are equally bad… yet eat Cauliflower crust pizzas! It’s simply not true. I can eat a sweet potato wih my steak without an issue, if I have a slice of pie for desert (real pie) I’ll fight cravings for days. They don’t all affect us the same. Are you trying to add in carbs for a particular reason or just feeling limited in food choice?

(Edith) #11

Maybe indulge in dark chocolate instead of bars?


Indeed, different carbs affect us differently (carbs and humans are both different). It must be very complicated. Apples feel way worse than bananas (I mean what I feel right away. my body has these instant reactions). I thought it’s fructose but no, if I eat more fructose from bananas, I feel better than using apples. No idea why.
Pure sugar? My body subtly complains right away even if I eat only a very tiny amount. It’s just a subtle warning.
The worst is some processed crap with sugar and lactose (it was low-quality ice cream and it’s not like I ate much as it was bad). I don’t buy such things but sometimes I am too relaxed at a relative… Bad, bad idea, now I know. Well that stuff had a long and very negative effect (it felt carb poisoning, not subtle but the amount was small! I usually need way more carbs from more normal food), I never forget it. I can handle dairy with lactose alone, not in very big amounts, that’s worse but nothing like that icecream. Maybe some additives messed with me too. But added sugar and lactose together never felt right. It’s not the added sugar either, I have huge experience with that, not nice but not horrible right away.

(Doing a Mediterranean Keto) #13

I had thought about this. But if I look at the composition of 70% cacao Lindt bars, for example, I see they have lots of sugar, much, much more than the protein bars. Even 85% or so, which start to be not too tasty, they have lots of carbs and sugar.

Instead, the protein bars I have selected have much less carbs and sugar (maybe 4 times less), and they are tastier than dark chocolate.

There is the intuitive feeling that dark chocolate could be “healthier” (not in the carbs sense, but in the “artificiality”) than bars. But I am not so sure.

In the end, the question is: are you more afraid of “artificiality” (artificial sweeteners …) or of carbs?

My answer is clear: I am more afraid of carbs.

BTW, I eat 100% pure cacao, when I do chaffles. About 80% of my chaffles are salty with species, but about 20% of the time, I do them with cacao and cinnamon. I do not add erythritol, but I eat a spoonful of erythritol for each mouthful of chaffle. Delicious! But this cannot substitute a protein bar. They are “treats” in a different way (the chaffle is more like bread, the bars are more like sweets). If I can, I will keep both (the chaffles for sure; the protein bars, probably).


Me too but if I eat my own chocolate. It’s very easy to make and it suits my personal tastes.
My opinion about chocolates is similar to yours. I liked them up to 70% but they are very sugary (unnecessarily so). The darker ones still has sugar but they are not so good.
My own (not even really chocolate as I don’t use cocoa butter, I tried and gained nothing) is tasty for me, has no added sugar and I use as much fat, coffee (it must have coffee but sometimes I use more) and sweetener as I want. Sometimes it’s unsweetened but my preference is hint of sweetness now. I am changing and my chocolate follows that. It’s convenient.

Of course, it’s just chocolate… If I want some other kind of sweets, I make something else (though chocolate is almost always included. but not always. I have a thing for lemon flavor too).

(Doing a Mediterranean Keto) #15

Which fat do you use? Do you use another ingredient, apart from your listed ones?


I just whip up some cream with a little plain cocoa powder added. Needs no sweetener, love it as it tastes like a good chocolate mousse.

(Eric - The patient needs to be patient!) #17

I do the same and add vanilla. If I’m feeling naughty I add 1 tablespoon of crunchy organic peanut butter. But then, only if I have had zero carbs for the rest of the whole day.


Sounds good… I mix whipped cream with my very fatty chocolate (only tried it out sweetened, I like such kind of things sweet but I will go lower)… Too good, I make sure to feed most of it to my SO as soon as possible if I manage to make a little amount, it’s not my kind of proper food but it will be fine occasionally.
I will try out your simpler version too!


Coconut oil for my chocolate. Maybe I will try it with butter, I used that partially before and it gives a different flavor…
My almost-chocolate contains coconut oil (a lot but it depends on personal taste. the content of my SO’s chocolate jar is totally different from mine), cocoa powder, instant coffee powder (a little), cashew (a very little but important for me), optional sweetener (I use xylitol now as it’s more delicious than erythritol and the net carb intake is negligible in my case due to my ridiculous amounts. for the more sweetened version that I generously pour on things, I use erythritol or both). It’s the base, a chocolate table may contain various other items but those are carbier.
It’s not like real chocolate but it wasn’t like that when I used cocoa butter either. But it’s more than good enough for me, finally I stopped eating it each and every day… And it’s good on many other sweet things. Even if I eat less of them, my family has more members and I am the main cook.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #20

What exactly are you missing? There is plenty of nice stuff that you can eat. Making keto chocolate yourself is easy (I absolutely love white macadamia chocolate, with cacao butter, milk powder, crushed macadamias and lecithin). You can do cakes, muffins, fudge, ice cream and whatnot. I recently found an Oreo recipe on Youtube, 2 cacao waffles and cream in the middle. Have yet to try it though. These treats have a few grams carbs, but not enough to be concerned about. Usually a carbs to fat calorie ratio of 1:10 or better.

I agree that there is always a tradeoff between convenience and health, and I’m not perfect either. But I try to stick to stuff that I consider healthy, at least for everything that I plan to eat. Of course I may have a different point of view as I have severe health issues, so eating healthy is the #1 priority for me (while I don’t care too much about weight loss).

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #21

It’s easy to claim something for them if they don’t give a definition for “bad” :slight_smile: Some people have a black-and-white world view. I happen to believe in colors.

From a hormonal standpoint, low GI carbs will cause much lower insulin and glucose levels than sugar. And fructose is different than glucose. So they clearly are not equal. Everything else depends on the “bad” definition :slight_smile: