First off, there’s the taste. Consumers want to have their cake and eat it too. At the end of the day, if the sweet indulgence tastes more like a bar of chalk, then there is a high probability that consumers will not be running out to buy it. In my opinion, most companies have nailed this aspect down to some degree. The majority of bars, cookies, or other low-carb snacks that I have tried actually taste really good. However, even if a product can meet the consumer standards with respect to taste and quality, the true separation occurs at the level of fiber source. The buzz words “high-fiber” and “low net carbs” are exploding in today’s society. Thus, companies are attempting to find ways in which they can add fiber to their products, thereby boosting their nutritional profile and simultaneously decreasing the number of net carbs. This now prompts the question: are all fiber sources nutritionally the same, and if not, what does this mean for the consumer?
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.
Non-starchy vegetables are an essential part of the keto diet because they provide essential vitamins and minerals, are packed with antioxidants and provide plenty of fiber. Plus, when you load up on veggies, you are adding volume to your meals so that you feel more satisfied. You are also working to reduce inflammation, increase your antioxidant intake and support the health of your heart.
Seeds are another high-fiber food that you can eat on keto, but only occasionally to stay in ketosis. Full seeds, ground seeds and seed butters will help to increase your fiber intake and minimize keto flu symptoms like constipation. Plus, they supply important nutrients, including essential fatty acids and protein, and are known to support cardiovascular health.
This topic is very personal to me. I have family members who are severely overweight, some of whom are diabetic, and others who are dealing with a multitude of autoimmune diseases. The only thing that upsets me more than misleading supplement facts (an article for another day) is misleading information that is placed on nutritional labels, which can often leave the consumer unaware of the metabolic response that food actually has on the body.
One thing you can do for yourself, if you’re on vacation is pack your own food. This may not work if you’re flying overseas, but if you’re sticking to the USA; you should be able to pack your own food without a problem. Of course, sticking to the basics of the Keto diet is one of the smartest things you can do. Protein, high fat, and low carbs! Stick to foods you know are acceptable on the Keto diet.