A Net Carbohydrate is calculated by taking the total carbohydrate content and subtracting the amount of fiber and sugar alcohols. The resulting number is called the net carbohydrate content.
This number is used to understand the foods impact on your blood sugar levels and your insulin response. Blood sugar and insulin are key messengers that signal the body to store energy sources rather than use them for fuel. Keeping your total carbohydrates low is key for the Ketogenic Diet, but more importantly, keeping the Net Carbohydrate amount between 20-30 grams is critical for success.
Examples of Sugar Alcohols: glycerin, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, isomalt, lactitol, and maltitol.
Since much of the Ketogenic philosophy is focused on consumption of healthy fats it’s important to recognize that all fats are not healthy! Fats come in two primary forms, saturated and unsaturated, and each has their own distinct differences in how they are metabolized in the body and the value they provide.
Saturated fats are mostly found in animal foods such as meat and dairy. They are solid at room temperature and are less vulnerable to oxidation, which is one of the key reasons why they are beneficial for the body. Unsaturated fats are mostly found in plant foods and fish, and they are further classified by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Most oils are a type of unsaturated fat, you’ll notice the characteristic of unsaturated fats is they are liquid at room temperature and often times used for cooking and dressings. Canola, olive, peanut, sunflower, and other oils are a form of unsaturated fat. These should be use very sparing if at all, these oils are highly vulnerable to oxidation and contain high reactive molecules, especially when heated, that can be damaging to the body.
Focus on the healthy fats that are provided by butter, coconut, avocado, egg yolks, and natural animal fats. Rather than cooking or using the oils, consume the entire wholesome food such as olives, coconut, and avocado.
Nutrient density and variety is key to any healthy nutritional plan or short term diet. Vegetables are the most nutrient dense foods that you can consume. The best types of vegetables for the Ketogenic Diet are ones that are highly dense, meaning packed with vitamins and minerals, have some protein, and are low in sugar and carbohydrates. Usually these vegetables are bitter, green, dense, and leafy. Spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus are great go-to vegetables on the Ketogenic plan.
Stay away from vegetables that are sweet, their sweetness is due to their sugar content. Peas, carrots, onions, have more sugars that most vegetables. In addition, vegetables that are starchy, such as potatoes, peas, corn, yams, and beans are higher in carbohydrates
Because most of the approved protein sources on the Ketogenic Plan are animal based, the plant based proteins often contain a lot of carbohydrates and not enough fat, the quality of where you get your protein is key. Look for terms like organic, grass fed, pasture raised, and without antibiotics or hormones when choosing your meats. Contrary to what you’ve been taught, you want to reasonably choose fattier cuts of meat on the Ketogenic plan because they will contain more fat and a bit less protein.
NOTE: If you will be adding deli meats, sausage and bacon to your program, make sure they are nitrate-free and contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
For those that have the ability to tolerate dairy, two sources can be highly beneficial in the Ketogenic Plan. Heavy creamer, that can be used in the JavaFit Metabolizer, and Half and Half which can be mixed with the Ketogenic Shake can enhance the amount of healthy fat without adding too many carbohydrates. A general rule is to use only full fat products and foods. Foods like sour cream, cheeses, milks, and yogurts should be full fat.
Nuts and Seeds
First off, peanuts are NOT nuts, and they are not recommended on the Ketogenic Plan or health in general. Peanuts are a legume, or bean, and because they are a “nut” grown underground with a soft shell they can be highly vulnerable to mold and bacteria. Roasting nuts is also not a very good thing, roasting has been shown to damage nutrients in the nuts, including decreasing the availability of beneficial fatty acids and amino acids. The best way to consume nuts is to soak them for 8-12 hours, this will remove the phytic acid which is found in the coating of nuts and seeds. Phytic acids acts as a “anti-nutrient” and can leach nutrients from the body, especially minerals.