Counting Carbs – How to Read Food Labels When on the Keto Diet

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“Great Chefs Know It’s the Appearance of Food That Counts… But Great Eaters Know it’s the Amount of Food That Counts”

-Jim Davis

For all you beginners reading this, here’s a short explanation of the Keto diet:

“A diet that is low in carbs and has near zero sugar”

For example, Keto Diet includes 165 g fats, 30 g carbs, and 80 g protein

Keto Diet Food List

Veggies and Fruit Bowls

Following are a couple of lists of what you can and cannot eat on a low carb diet:

Keto-Friendly Foods

Vegetables

Nuts and Seeds

  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia
  • Almonds
  • Sesame

Fats and Oils

  • Butter
  • Sesame and flaxseed oil
  • Cream cheese
  • Peanut butter (homemade is better)
  • Heavy cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Almond oil

Fish

  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • Salmon
  • Haddock
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Catfish

Meat

  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Goat
  • Chicken veal
  • Lamb
  • Pork

Fruits

  • Berries (occasionally)
  • Avocados

Dairy Products

  • Unprocessed cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sour cream

Foods to Avoid on Keto

  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruit and green smoothies
  • Rice, pasta, cereal… basically any kind of wheat product
  • “Sugar-free” gums or any other food item that has this label
  • Alcohol

Keto Alert – Stay Away From These 2 Nutrients

You have just started your low carb diet and you are trying to find your way through the Keto-friendly food items.

While we have mentioned above the foods you can eat and should avoid, let’s focus on your diet’s enemy: Insulin.

Sugar and starch are two nutrients that stimulate insulin production. If your body contains sugar, it will find difficulty in using the stored fat for energy.

The more you consume these two nutrients, the more fat will be stored. On Keto diet, this will amount to double the fat and instead of losing weight you will gain more.

Counting Carbs

One of the biggest dilemmas that Keto diet beginners face is how to buy food cans or sauces.

It can be very confusing when you read a food label that says “12 gm carbs” and when you Google it online, the internet says “6 gm carbs”.

Now bear with us because things are about to get a little tricky. Let’s have a look at the following “Nutrition Facts” chart:

Counting Carbs – How to Read Food Labels When on the Keto Diet

Let’s assume that the chart above is for a jar of peanut butter. The serving size is 1 tablespoon.

We have to find out if this peanut butter is Keto-friendly or not. Here’s the secrete Keto equation you should know about:

Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrate – Sugar – Dietary Fiber

37 g – 4 g – 1 g = 32 g

Keto diet beginners can start this diet with a goal of 20 g carbs. As you can see, this peanut butter is not Keto-friendly.

What Should Be Counted?

How much sugar am I allowed to consume on a Keto diet?

ZERO!

Yup, that’s the truth. Our advice to you is to avoid sugar at all cost.

However, if you do find yourself craving something sweet, then we suggest having a bit of Lindt’s 99% dark chocolate.

It contains only 2 g sugar and is considered one of the best Keto-friendly food items. So, should sugar be counted in the net carbs?

Yes and no. We know this is confusing, so let us make it clear for you:

  • Foods with sugar alcohol contain half the actual sugar and are called erythritol (this sugar type does not promote insulin)
  • Fiber is digestible, so no worries there (in fact, it reduces blood sugar spikes)

So now that you know how to read food labels for your low carb diet, you will be easily able to manage your daily diet.

The key to not get put off by the overwhelming feeling that you have to cook a separate meal for yourself is to go for something simple.

You have your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. See Keto Recipes here.

To help you get started with a meal plan that is low in carbs, we have come up with 3 recipes that amount to 2,500 calories.

Since calories are seldom counted on the Keto diet, you have the benefit of enjoying your favorite foods.

Breakfast

Dairy-Free Latte

Yes, you are allowed to enjoy a latte on Keto diet.

Dairy-Free Keto Latte

Dairy-Free Keto Latte

Not just any latte but pumpkin-spice latte! 5 ingredients, 5 minutes and the use of a blender… presto! There’s your cold latte.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp of Coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of Water
  • Single drop of Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp of Pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds
  2. Top with crushed ice and your dairy-free latte is ready

Nutrition Information

Yield

1

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 208Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 186mgSodium 79mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 6g

Lunch

Bacon, Avocado and Goat-Cheese Salad

If you are in the mood to eat something light yet fulfilling, then try this salad. It’s easy to make and contains only 5 ingredients.

Bacon, Avocado and Goat-Cheese Salad

Bacon, Avocado and Goat-Cheese Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • For SALAD:
  • 2 oz. Goat cheese
  • 2 oz Bacon
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 oz Walnuts
  • 1 oz Arugula lettuce:
  • FOR DRESSING:
  • 4 tbsp of Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp of Heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 200°C
  2. Slice the goat cheese in 1 cm thickness, place the pieces on a parchment paper in a baking tray and slide it in the oven
  3. Bake until the cheese turns golden
  4. Fry bacon until crispy
  5. Chop the avocado into bite-size pieces and place it in a bowl
  6. Top the avocado with arugula, bacon, and cheese
  7. In a blender, add the lemon juice, mayonnaise, heavy whipping cream, and olive oil and mix
  8. Pour it on the salad and sprinkle salt and pepper, and walnuts on top
  9. Toss the salad to coat every piece with the dressing

Notes

Nutrition facts only include the salad portion, not the dressing.

Nutrition Information

Yield

2

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 361Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 41mgSodium 614mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 18g
Nutrition fact does not include the dressing ingredients.

Dinner

Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza

Imagine going on a diet and not eating pizza… PIZZA! But don’t you worry because we have your back.

This Keto pepperoni pizza is easy to make and is as delicious as if a pizza loaded with carbs.

Easy Keto Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza

Easy Keto Low Carb Pepperoni Pizza
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • CRUST:
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 oz Shredded mozzarella cheese (mozzarella)
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 1/2 Tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 oz Shredded cheese
  • 3/4 oz Pepperoni
  • Olives (optional)
  • SIDE SALAD:
  • 1 oz. Leafy greens
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Pinch black pepper and salt

Instructions

  1. Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 200°C
  2. To make the crust, take a bowl and crack the eggs in it. Add the shredded cheese and mix it thoroughly using a spatula
  3. Spread this mixture on a parchment paper and place it in a baking tray
  4. Slide the tray in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes until the crust turns golden
  5. Increase the temperature of the oven to 225°C
  6. Spread the tomato paste on top of the crust, sprinkle oregano and then cheese, and finally place the pepperoni and olives
  7. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese has turned golden in some places

Nutrition Information

Yield

2

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 532Total Fat 44gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 259mgSodium 1073mgCarbohydrates 8gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 27g

And that’s all folks! Hope you learned how to count those carbs because they can be a little sneaky. Always keep a high margin for sugar when consuming store-bought food items.

The packaging might say “no sugar added” but there is some kind of natural sugar in it. Try sticking to the Keto-friendly food items we have mentioned above.

If you want to know more about the Keto diet, then browse our blog at Health and Fitness Promoter.

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