So, you have cut out all those pesky carbs, upped your fats and are following the LCHF approach, but are not seeing the results you were expecting. Perhaps you have a health condition such as Insulin Resistance or PCOS which may require some extra vigilance to heal, or you may want to try and speed up your weight loss results. The keto tracking instalment in the keto beginners series delves further into some of the tracking you can do to find the keto that works for you.
You might be wondering what is keto tracking? Well, keto tracking encompasses a few different things. It includes tracking your macros, how to track your macros, deciding whether you track net or total carbs and testing your ketones. You don’t have to do these things to be following a keto diet. If you feel you have hit a plateau or want to really dial in your diet then keto tracking may be something you want to try.
Net carbs vs Total carbs
There are two different ways of counting your carbs; total carbs and net carbs.
Total carbs is when you are measuring all the carbs you consume in a day. Many in the keto world use less than 20g total carbs as their limit each day. This can be pretty difficult as any vegetables will make this add up very quickly. It can be a little challenging in Australia to properly work out total carbs as the nutritional labels show net carbs .
Net carbs is the carbohydrate amount minus any fibre it contains. Some people like to work on 20g net carbs per day as this allows you to increase your green leafy vegetable intake. Vegetables contain some carbs but they also contain fibre. To find out the net carbs of things like vegetables it is useful to use a tracking app as there is no label to refer to. For example, 1 cup of almonds has 28g total carbs and 16.2g fibre making the net carbs 11.8g.
See the example above, on the left (US version) the dietary fibre is nestled under the carbohydrate, this means the carbohydrate amount includes the fibre, so this is total carbs. The nutrition label on the right (Australian version) has the dietary fibre as its own entry (not nestled under carbohydrate). So the amount shown as carbohydrates is the net carbs.
It is your choice if you choose to count total or net carbs. When we first started we monitored our total carbs and found this was good for becoming fat adapted and learning carb amounts in foods. However, net carbs can allow you more flexibility, variety and vegetables. Our advice is to experiment and find what works best for your body and health issues.