Net Carbs vs. Total Carbs

(Chuck) #22

I have upped my total carb limit to 70 carbs, but only average 50 carbs per day now. I have started losing more weight after stalling out for a couple of months. I have also increased my total calories at the same time. At 75 and learning I don’t have to starve myself to lose weight is an eye opener. To answer your question, there isn’t a one answer fits all. The true answer is the one you find that works for you. I had issues with bowl movement it wasn’t the fiber it was not getting enough salt and water and way too much carbs. The whole Standard American Diet is a lie. The concept of eat less and move more is a lie, the concept of lower salt to lower BP is a lie.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #23

That probably has more to do with the fat loss than eating more carbohydrate. You are fortunate enough to be fairly insulin-sensitive, so the higher carb limit still lets you stay in ketosis. But even on a low-carb diet, if we skimp on the calories, the body will try to hang on to all its reserves, in order to get us through the famine.


It seems many people here could eat in moderation on high-carb… I couldn’t. I overate quite seriously according to my memories, it was lovely (the eating itself, I mean), I ate A TON of fat… My food was very tasty and in that amount, very satiating… It wasn’t right though.
I don’t allow that to me on low-carb and it’s a tiny bit sad but it’s not that bad and it’s nice to know my overeating is less severe now :slight_smile: If I really try, I am lucky and exercise a lot, I even have a deficit! One day I may lose fat too.

But it’s still better with less carbs, that’s why I stick to it despite I can’t lose fat and feel just as healthy as I did on high-carb. My satiation is similar but different, often better and I am less full (I dislike being full, I want perfect satiation all day). My energy is similarly low on every diet.
It’s nice to eat less, I mean, wasteful eating is bad. I still desire to eat more especially fat and protein but I already overeat both, good thing I eat better, tastier food now (I never changed my woe without getting more food joy out of it) and I probably needed to control (more like train, I have no control whatsoever as far as I can tell) my extremely undisciplined self to some extent.
And it’s fun to see what happens, what phases and numbers I get… I do experiments…

Fat-loss is simple for me, I just need a deficit. It’s super hard but simple. After about 10 years I realized no way I could eat little enough without exercise so I go for serious exercise now. I probably wouldn’t do it for fat-loss, I never was particularly motivated about it but exercise is useful, it’s fun, relaxing and I would be a miserable enervated zombie without it (I am not far from that anyway but I need every little help). And exercise tend to lower my energy intake (not when it’s very much but my deficit is quite deep then) so it’s great and very much needed in my case. OMAD might work too but it just doesn’t seem to happen, it’s harder without much carbs. (I still try.)

I think that was low-carb (<80g net carbs) to me :slight_smile: I even lost some fat as eating way less was easy and comfortable, it was fabulous. But not my final woe. Just my default woe for several years. I think fondly about those time. I sacrificed nothing (I had an off day here and there, that was enough) and got benefits.
While I felt pretty good on high-carb, I felt better on low-carb and I knew it’s my way. It started my woe changes.

Moderation… I don’t really like moderation if it’s about food. I need a lot. But if it’s about not so good items, it’s important for me and I train myself. It’s amazing how much one can change over time if driven. And if compatible with those changes, of course, there are things I never could get used to like adequate protein or never having 200+ g fat a day, that’s just not me.
Surely many can do this moderation on high-carb just fine but carbs mess with me, my hunger, my mental things so I pretty much needed low enough carbs for my training to happen and being fruitful. It still goes slowly, it’s me with my zero resistence to temptation or any other eating urges unless maybe very subtle ones but it still happens. I am patient. I have to be. And meanwhile I enjoy the ride (with some struggle here and there but struggles are present on every woe when one isn’t one of the lucky ones who just do things right all the time… I rather pair the occasional struggles with food I like and a woe that is good for me and help me in long term).

(Doug) #26

Me neither, Shinita. :slightly_frowning_face: I still feel the pull…

(Rossi Luo) #27

No, I have been in keto for 7 months and I only count the maths at the very beginning days. After I realized that my body had adapted to burning fat, I stopped counting, I just eat fat,protein and broccoli and kale and purple cabbage every day without counting. For foods high in carbs, I didn’t eat them at all because as we know that vegetables contain carbs too. But some times (e.g. birthday celebration or some other events), I would eat some foods high in carbs. And now my ketone level in urine is quite good (I mean quite high ketone level in urine).

(Chuck) #28

Just aim for total carbs below 70 carbs per day. I eat a huge variety of foods, there isn’t anyway I could eat the same thing every day.


70g total sounds so very much to me now :smiley: One can eat anything there. Still not in any amounts but still :wink: 80g net was super easy even after overeating high-carb times but that was way higher than 70 in total. But I easily spent more than 100 net on vegs before… And paleo ones, not the super carby ones. Still, that level of adaptation was no sacrifice, I only got benefits. It was my best dietary decision ever.

(Chuck) #30

I don’t measure ketones and haven’t since I realized what my limits were. I am happy with seeing results in my clothes, measurements and weight. I am even happy if I don’t lose weight just being consistent and not gaining weight.
My thinking is that this time around I am not going to set myself up to fail and regain everything that I have lost. Every time before I basically ate the same thing every day then reached my goal and throw it all away by going back to my old eating habits. This time I am eating a huge variety of foods finding what I can and cannot eat. Seeing this is low carb I am also finding just how many carbs and calories I can consume. If I start gaining, which I haven’t done, I will back off and figure out if it is the carbs or the calories or fat, etc. My only never go there is wheat and oats so far.

(Bill Mrozinski) #31

I am a type 1 diabetic with an insulin pump so I have a very easy way to see if something has real carbs in it. When some of these “Keto” food companies come out with net carbs they are subtracting all the fiber, and any substitute sugar like Allulose that may still contain carb calories, thus it contains carbs. All fiber is not created equally. There is soluble and non-soluble fiber. Soluble takes on water, as the name implies, and is partially digested where as non-soluble fiber is not. If you read the ingredients on the package you can search for the fiber type. I don’t think I have ever seen a non-soluble fiber used in a packaged food. Thus you wil take on real carbs depending on your body’s ability to process soluble fiber.

How I calculate the real carb is I calculate the calories that are left after subtracting the fat calories and the protein calories. An example of a 2 net carbs claim. With 140 calories, it has 11g (99 calories) of fat and 3g (12 calories) of protein. So the carb calories are 140 - 99 - 12 which leaves 29 calories for carbs. That 29 divided by 4 is about 7.25, more than triple their net carbs claim. When I was eating this food I was seeing my blood sugar go up as if I ate 7-9 carbs.

Does anyone else calculate real carbs this way?

Does anyone agree or disagree with this methodology?

(KM) #32

Your method makes sense to me - those missing calories have to be one of the three macronutrients. I’d say the jury is still out regarding whether those carbs are actually utilized by the body, or the gut biome, or just excreted. I no longer count my carbs because I’ve been doing this a long time and my plant consumption is very low, but when I did I counted total carbs, not net.


I didn’t ever do that, my tracking was complicated enough without it and I could afford not to care that much… But it makes sense in your case as you are more affected than I was. Using net carbs and a generous carb allowance worked well for my low carb and even ketosis - and wasn’t good enough otherwise as I should eat super low net plant carbs, apparently… So I do that now and don’t care about my carbs at all (I just track all my macros as that is how my tracking works and I like to see my macro numbers, I find them interesting and even informative) and it is fine for my body so all is well.

All of us should do whatever works for us :slight_smile: It’s very understandable you do what you do.

(Robin) #34

Hey, welcome to the forum!
I have always used total carbs when counting. And even then, I round up for good measure. They’re sneaky.


For the past 2 years I counted net carbs but this is because I don’t purchase very many prepackaged/premade foods or ingredients at all. The only thing I buy premade is a fried cheese crisp snack, and Keto bread or tortillas. I do pay attention to total carbs on the days I eat those things, but everything else I eat is prepared by me out of my own raw ingredients. For that net carbs work just fine.


I, too, experienced the same. I no longer measure.

100% true. Some of the scientific literature shows women may do better on keto with higher carbohydrate (50 grams) amounts if weight loss is the goal.

Not true, sort of. Salt encourages your body to retain fluid, which can increase the fluid volume of your blood and raise blood pressure. About 1/3 of all normal blood pressure people show salt-sensitivity in their blood pressure. Many factors have been proposed as causes of salt-sensitive hypertension, but none of them provides a satisfactory explanation.
I have read Dr. DiNicolantonio’s book, The Salt Fix, twice now. Junk. Almost everything he mentions is pure junk, or the studies he cites are completely useless. He contradicts himself as well. Taking his advice, you do so at your own peril.

(Chuck) #37

But too little salt destroys our kidneys, I actually improved my kidney function by increasing my salt intake. But there is a balancing point that has to be managed. For me that point is stay above 2000 MG and below 3500 MG of salt on a daily basis.


It’s great that you know what your body needs. I find there are times when I crave salt, and other times I do not.
Kidneys play an active role in keeping your sodium and fluid levels balanced. Hyponatremia is when your sodium levels drop in your blood and the extra water moves into your cells and makes them swell. It can be very dangerous, especially in the brain. Marathon runners need to be very aware of their sodium balance, as drinking an excess of water can cause hyponatremia.

(Chuck) #39

I live in a humid very warm climate, I sweat a lot while hiking. Not getting enough salt or having enough salt in our bodies can cause loss of kidney function which can lead to kidney disease. Like everything in life there is a delicate balance. As someone that took diuretics for decades I finally understand. My doctor told me my kidney function was do and my potassium levels were low. I asked about the diuretics I had been taking for so long. Well I stopped the diuretic and started slowly adjusting my salt intake. My kidney function has improved and my potassium level is back to normal. And with what seems to be my body’s preferred weight my blood pressure has even become normal for the first time in decades. It seems when I forced my weight to much below my body’s preferred weight my blood pressure went back up. And if my weight goes above my body’s preferred weight range my BP goes up. So I am having to walk that tight rope with my weight more so than being overly strict with my salt intake. I can even enjoy eating one of my beloved kosher dill pickles each day.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #40

In addition, elevated insulin causes salt-retention, which is why we need to work a bit to keep up our salt intake on keto, since the kidneys return to excreting sodium at the normal, faster rate when insulin drops.

Jeff Volek says that for one study he was doing, the keto-adapted athletes they were studying were having performance problems, and Dr. Phinney suggested giving them a cup of bone broth about 45 minutes before they started the tests. The salt and fluid brought their blood volume back to normal, so they didn’t have effects from hypovolaemia messing with the results. Fascinating!

(Chuck) #41

To me net carbs is just a marketing ploy to make processed carbs sound like a better choice. I eat fruit and vegetables as well as nuts. I don’t eat processed food factory food or fast food or artificial sweeteners. Just got my latest lab work LDL down again, blood sugar low normal, HDL is at 55, and down the trigg/HDL is 0.7. My zinc is still a little high due to an eye supplement I have to take for macular degeneration. No counting of carb, calories or any other nutrients for me.


Those have quite different net and total carbs sometimes. That’s why I really needed to use net carbs as 40g total would have been impossible for me… And it worked for ketosis.
Using sweetener is another thing, I ate lots of sweets on keto in the beginning as I needed them and that worked too :slight_smile: For ketosis and fat-adaptation and sticking to keto, at least. It wasn’t ideal but part of my journey.
And then things changed and now I easily stay below 40g total on carnivore even on my wildest days… And it’s better than with plants so not even net carbs are the same but I knew and felt that before…