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Calculating the Net Carb by Subtracting Fiber
Typically, a high-protein, low-carb diet does not exclude the consumption of low-carb vegetables, but many dieters have trouble distinguishing which vegetables are acceptable. Understanding the concept of the net carb is vital for low-carb dieters, as it allows them to choose a variety of healthy and nutritious foods that might otherwise have been excluded from their meal plans.
Low Carb Nutrition
Any healthy diet should include a variety of foods, including fish, various cuts of meat, cheeses, and fresh or frozen vegetables. Careful planning ensures that all nutritional needs are met, through the inclusion of these foods. One area in which high-protein, low-carb diets are often lacking is fiber, due to lower levels of fiber in the foods consumed on the meal plan.
Include High-fiber Foods
Bread and cereal, which are typically eliminated on a low-carbohydrate diet, are the most widely known sources of fiber. There are many high-fiber foods, however, that are allowed, or even encouraged, on these reduced-carbohydrate diet plans. Nuts and seeds, particularly raw, are extremely high in fiber and low in carbohydrate.
They can also provide vital nutrients. Sunflower seeds, for example, are a good source of folate, or folic acid. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce are also high-fiber foods that contain a lower carb count.
Eating Low-carb Vegetables
Choosing vegetables for your Atkins or Protein-Power-style reduced carb diet requires a knowledge of the overall carb count, as well as their fiber content, of the veggies. Looking up a food’s nutritional information on dieting allows dieters to make informed decisions about foods. Foods change in composition depending on the method of cooking, such as raw, steamed, boiled, baked, or fried, so entering specific information about the food is important.
Calculating Net Carbs
The term “net carb”, also known as “effective carbs”, refers to the amount of carbohydrate remaining in a food once fiber grams have been subtracted. Fiber, whether soluble or insoluble, is not absorbed by the body, and is not converted into glucose. Since it is not converted into glucose, it is not used for energy, and cannot derail the progress of a low-carb diet as other carbohydrates can.
When fiber is deducted from the overall carbohydrate count of foods, it results in the net carb count for a food. For example, a food with 4 grams of carbohydrate per serving, three of which are fiber, would only have one gram of net carbs.
Calculating net carbs allows the inclusion of many more vegetables in a high-protein, low-carb diet.