Do I need to count macros on a keto diet?

The short answer is yes – but only for awhile. One to three months to be specific until you get the hang of it.

In this article, you will learn more about carbohydrates / carbs and their affect on a keto diet.

If we ask anybody around us most likely every single one of the people we talk to will say that eating a healthy diet it’s good for the body. What is unclear many times and differs from one person to another is what foods are considered healthy and which are less healthy, which are energy dense, which are nutrient dense, and which we can absorb easier in our bodies, in other words they are more bio available than others.

The nutrients are very important because they help our bodies to perform many complex functions such as producing energy, giving us strength in our muscles, and helping our internal organs working properly. It’s important to know that every nutrient has an essential role in the human body and that’s why it’s so important to consume a nutrient-rich variety of foods. In order for the body to function properly it needs two types of nutrients: macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are needed by the body in large amounts. They are carbohydrates, protein and fat. Through our digestive process these macronutrient get broken down into basic building blocks of amino acids in the case of protein, fatty acids in the case of fat and monosaccharides, or simple sugars in the case of carbohydrates. This way they get absorbed by the body and transported to the cells level to support our life.

Let’s go a little deeper and talk about each of the nutrients I mentioned starting with the carbohydrates. Many people start a keto diet for their desire to lose weight, but often this is coming hand-in-hand with the fact that those individuals have very unstable high and low levels of energy throughout the day. They get bursts of energy in the morning or after they drink a coffee or an energy drink but arund 2-3pm they are exhausted. Many of these people often have hypothyroidism.

Also busy professionals, mothers, working mothers, or other people with a fast-paced lifestyle, when our energy levels are low we reach for a pastry, a sweet soda, a slice of bread, a donut, or a pricey mocha coffee and get a brief burst of energy from the sugar high for only a couple of hours later to crash again, feeling irritable, tired, hungry and therefore we tend to consume more of the same foods or drink.

Often, we put our bodies through a sugar roller coaster, anytime we become chronically fatigued and no longer experience the sugar high. This is known as adrenal fatigue and every time we experience low blood sugar, more energy is drawn from our adrenal glandes until we become overdrawn and always exhausted.

Many people describe this like feeling as Running on Empty. Did you ever feel that? When the body is lethargic, and the brain is foggy, and there is the two or three in the afternoon every day at work you just want to take a nap and you would do anything to increase your energy levels?

Going into Ketosis will definitely help.

It’s important to know that the carbohydrates are one of the two main energy sources for humans, the other one being fat.Carbohydrates are found in many foods including grains and sugars. So when we eat these foods, carbohydrates, are ultimately broken down in the body and converted into sugars like glucose, fructose, and fiber.

Glucose is a simple sugar, called monosaccharide, found mostly in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, and starches like potatoes, as well as in grains. Glucose has a few main uses in the body: is one of the body’s potential sources of energy and is a precursor to compounds which play a role in the immune system, so it helps with our immune system development.

When ketones from fat are not available, blood glucose gets delivered to working cells where it’s broken down to carbon dioxide and water, releasing ATP, which is the body’s usable energy source. As a health coach it’s good to know that carbohydrates consumed in the diet that are not immediately used for energy, so they’re extra when compared to how much energy we put out there, like sedentary lifestyle for example, these carbohydrates which are not immediately used for energy are stored in the liver and in muscle as glycogen.

Glycogen it’s a carbohydrate found in the form of starch, found in grains and vegetables and it’s a long chain of sugar molecules and it’s the only polysaccharide that humans can fully digest. Glycogen is also known as a complex carbohydrate which in its chemical form contains many water molecules, therefore it’s actually large and bulky and it cannot be stored for long term energy. Because of this, if a person continues to consume more carbohydrates than the body can use or store, so the person not consuming enough energy to burn these carbohydrates,then the body will convert thesesugars into fatforlong term storage.Let’s also talk about fructose, which is another simple sugar found in fruits and vegetables.

While fructose has the same chemical formula and calorie content as glucose,this sugar has a different structure and it’s processed differently. Rather than being absorbed by the cells, fructose is headed directly into the liver where it’s converted into glucose or fat. About 50% of fructose gets transformed into glucose, 25% becomes lactate, which is a chemical produced during normal metabolism and during exercise, and 15% or more becomes glycogen which like I said, is the principal storage form for glucose. The rest of it is burned directly for energy,and only a small portion as little as 2to 3% it’s converted to fat.

I’m sure you’ve heard of high fructose corn syrup and how drinks that contain this contribute to gaining weight. Even though it is still unhealthy, now you know that only a small percentage of fructose actually gets transformed into fat. Going further, carbohydrates also break down to fiber.

Fiber it’s a plant matter that is indigestible to humans, which means that it goes through us. Fiber can be categorized as soluble or high viscosity, which means it dissolves in water, it is fermented by bacteria in the colon, and creates agel-like substance in the digestive tract. This type fiber helps increase feelings of fullness.

Then, there is the insoluble fiber,or low viscosity fiber, which does not dissolve in water, it is not fermented in the colon, but and it adds bulk to the stool,and helps by having laxative effects. Now that we have a better understanding of the different types of carbohydrates and how they are processed in the body, let’s see what are the best natural sources for these nutrients.

Non-starchy vegetables,like broccoli and cauliflower, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, asparagus and many others are excellent sources of micronutrients and fiber but they’re quite low in carbohydrates. But not all of them are low enough to be eaten on a ketogenic diet. A banana for example has 27 grams of carbohydrates, same as a pear and as a pomegranate, while an apple has 25 grams, an orange has 18 grams, a peach has 14, half cup of blueberries has 11grams. Just keep in mind that glucose can also create gas and bloating because the intestinal bacteria feeds on starch, and when there is an overgrown of bacteria in the small intestine because of a high starch diet, bloating and discomfort may occur.

Here are some carbohydrates levels in starchy plants to have an idea: One large russet potato has 64 grams of carbohydrates, a plantain has 48 grams, a large sweet potato has 37 grams, a cup of acorn squash has 30 grams, wild butternut squash has 22, etc.

In conclusion, it is very important to know that carbohydrates are eventually converted to sugar, starches are eventually converted to sugar, so in our body whether it’s a sugar, a starch, or a carb it all registers as sugar in the end. It’s also important to understand the difference between total carbs and fiber carbs. This difference is very important in the ketogenic diet and we will refer to it from now on as the NET Carbs!

A few nuts for example may have a total of 10 carbs out of which five are fiber carbs. If we subtract the fiber from the total carbs we will get a Net carb value. In this case, the net carbs value of the nuts is going to be 5. So knowing the net carbs of food can help us choose the best carbs when we want to lose weight.

Lets look at an example of what many may eat for breakfast on regular basis and think that is very healthy. Freshly squeezed orange juice, oatmeal with raisins, whole wheat french toast, banana nut muffins, a bagel with cream cheese, fresh fruits, cereal or maybe even a juiced carrot.

To the general public, everything I mentioned sounds pretty healthy but sadly everything on the list I mentioned fold into the sugar, carbs, starch category. That’s not because these foods are unhealthy or dripping with sugar like icing or, donuts or frosting, or jam or syrup, but because like I said our bodies transform them all into sugar.

The 8 oz. natural freshly squeezed orange juice is still mainly sugar. Everything I mentioned it’s sugar in the body. I know this is unexpected and surprising for many unlike when we drink sodas, eat ice cream, candy cakes, etc. In those cases, we expect those foods to contain a lot of sugar. We know and therefore that is not surprising us. It is the healthy and natural foods that are often the tricky ones. That’s why it’s very important to become aware of what we are eating because even if it’s healthy, natural sugars they can still create an imbalance in our bodies.

So whether is sugar carbs are starches the body converts it also glucose to burn as fuel for energy. Any and all excess glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles or is stored as fat. If we are getting anywhere close to the USDA diet recommendations of carbs we are getting way too much sugar, much more than our bodies really need and if we are trying to lose weight all of this comes into play.

Now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about carbs and how they are not the best for your body in large quantities, to reach a state of ketosis in 2-5 days, you generally will consume 20 or less carbs per day on the keto diet. After months of doing this I promise it’s not easy, but it is possible and I can show you how if you’re interested.

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