We’ve all seen it on food labels: “Only 2 net carbs” or “Low net carbs.” But what does this truly mean? What are net carbs, and why does it matter? Are all net carbs created equal, or are we stretching those claims a bit too much? After reading through this article, I think you will agree that there is a pressing need to educate on the precise definition of net carbs, and what exactly constitutes a true fiber.
Even so, keto followers may experience a rise in LDL cholesterol, sometimes called “bad” cholesterol because too much of it can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease. And that’s where fiber can help. However, many high-fiber foods, like beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are also high in carbs, so they're limited on the keto diet.
To figure out the correct amount of fiber for your body, try experimenting. If you’re on the keto diet, start with 15-20 grams of total dietary fiber per day from a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber for several weeks, then consider adding 3-5 grams at a time as needed to see how you feel. Remember that some people actually feel worse when they boost their fiber intake[*][*][*].
Low in carbs and high in fiber, lupini beans (aka lupin beans) are perfect for those on keto who are looking for a high-protein, high-fiber snack. Never heard of them? This yellow legume is hot on the heels of the edamame and fava bean as an on-trend nibble for the health-conscious consumer. One cup of cooked lupini beans contains 4.6 grams of fiber—about 19% of the recommended daily value. However, ready-to-eat branded lupini bean snacks often contain even more. “I've noticed that the amount of carbs/fiber can vary greatly between lupini bean brands,” says Yule. “To make sure that you are choosing a food that is keto-friendly, be sure to check the label.”
Dietary fiber refers to nutrients that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes. While true fibers are digested, they are not digested in the small intestine like normal carbohydrates, but rather are digested (fermented) by bacteria in the large intestine. True fibers should only be digested by the bacteria in the large intestine. Referring back to the previous example regarding the fitness expos, you can certainly “smell,” and often experience which high fiber bars have some “true” fiber based on the fermentation and digestion.
In most cases, if you grab a low-carb snack at random from the grocery store shelf and look at the label, a common nutrient profile contains around 20 grams of carbohydrates, yet maybe 15 of those grams are from “fiber.” The result is five grams of net carbs, right? Not so fast. . . if a Type I diabetic were to consume that bar, cookie, or brownie with the five grams of net carbs, there should not be a need for insulin since, theoretically, there is minimal glucose (blood sugar) entering the system from those five net carbs, which shouldn’t require an insulin response. Unfortunately, theory and outcome do not always match.
Skimping on fiber isn’t good for your digestive health, as it feeds the good bacteria in your GI tract, something that benefits you beyond adequate bowel movements. “The digestive tract is where your body’s second brain is, and it’s home to the majority of your immune system,” says Elia. “If you’re following keto, it should be one of your biggest priorities to make sure you get adequate fiber to keep your gut healthy and happy,” she adds. And, she notes, high-fat diets slow digestion and decrease GI motility, so it’s especially important to get enough.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Individual results may vary, and testimonials are not claimed to represent typical results. All testimonials are by real people, and may not reflect the typical purchaser’s experience, and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results.
Whisk 1 cup of the warmed nut milk into the yolk mixture. Then add back into the remaining nut milk in the saucepan. Stir until combined. Continue cooking over low heat until the mixture has thickened and reach about 165 degrees and will coat the back of a spoon. Don’t boil or overcook or else your eggs will curdle. If the eggs do curdle, you can strain the mixture to get rid of the curdled chunks.
The Keto Diet works best if you can maintain it. If your body is continually switching from converting carbs to glucose, instead of converting fat to ketones for energy (which is the process of ketosis, wherein the liver converts fat cells into energy), your weight loss will possibly stall. Consequently, you may find that some health benefits of eating a Keto-friendly diet begin to diminish. Find a healthy balance on your next vacation; with some planning, you can maintain your Keto Diet even when you are out of your routine.
Depending on where you are going on vacation, you may have a measure of control over what you will be eating. For Keto dieters who are staying at a hotel and will be traveling from tourist spot to tourist spot, check with your hotel and see what kind of meal options their restaurant offers or whether there’s a continental breakfast. There may be fewer Keto-friendly options to choose from, but you will likely be able to find something to enjoy. Also, when out traveling, be sure to stop at grocery stores and purchase some Keto-friendly snacks that travel well, such as cured meats or cheeses, which can help keep you from overindulging.
Lastly, one of the advertised benefits of IMO is possible prebiotic activity. Prebiotics are critical, as they feed the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system, specifically in the large intestine. These bacteria have several amazing functions, such as lowering body fat, improving insulin sensitivity, and lowering depression. Two “gold standard” prebiotics in the industry are inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Inulin and FOS are non-digestible carbohydrates that robustly increase beneficial bacteria. The challenge, however, is that both inulin and FOS, due to their rapid digestibility by intestinal bacteria, result in low gastric tolerance, and, ultimately, gastric distress. Additionally, inulin and FOS, when added to protein bars or other goods, may degrade over time into individual sugar units. Regardless, one study comparing inulin to IMOs, found that the prebiotic activity in inulin is 14 times greater than that of IMOs. This is logical because, as you recall from above, approximately 70% to 90% of IMOs are digested. As such, only a small portion of these prebiotic fibers make it to the large intestine, in which two out of three studies have demonstrated that this small portion may indeed have some prebiotic effects.
One of the most common disaccharides (two monosaccharides joined together) is maltose. Maltose is generated when two glucose molecules are linked to one another by an α-1,4 chemical bond (1st carbon is bound to the 4th carbon, making it easily digestible). The type of bond involved in saccharide linkage is critical, as it determines its ability to become hydrolyzed by the enzymes we described above. As such, the α-1,4 chemical bond, as listed in the above example (maltose), has the ability to become hydrolyzed (broken down).
The increased awareness regarding the importance of fiber, in addition to its distinct metabolic effects, has resulted in a surge of companies switching to an alternative fiber known as soluble corn fiber (SCF). Interestingly, SCF has been available on the US market since 2007 and is used in foods and beverages across the Americas, Europe, and Southeast Asia. SCF is produced through an extensive process: corn syrup is exposed to a suite of enzymes for at least 48 hours, some of which are found in the brush border of your small intestine, as well as the pancreas. Notably, a large majority of the corn syrup contains easily digestible carbohydrates; however, a small portion is, in fact, not digestible. At the end of this enzymatic exposure, a stream of digestion-resistant carbohydrates remains and is subsequently filtered several times. The resulting product is a “true fiber” that contains a mixture of α-1,6, α-1,4, α-1,2, and α-1,3 glucosidic linkages, which, as mentioned above, contribute to its low digestibility.
Keto Diet practitioners who overeat a little on vacation shouldn’t chastise themselves too harshly. Life is about balance, and the Keto Diet helps practitioners regain control over their eating habits, but it shouldn’t be an overbearing burden. As long as you can get back to your diet plan after vacation, and you don’t use your holiday as an excuse to go back to your old way of eating, eating outside of what your Keto Diet plan recommends doesn’t have to be a huge problem.
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