Net Carbs: Everything You Need to KnowArticle posted in: Keto Friendly
The South Beach Diet is a low carb meal plan with a simple weight loss premise: Retrain the body to use fat (not carbs) as fuel and see weight loss results. The Keto-Friendly plan is also a low carb approach that uses the same fat-for-fuel dieting method. But the difference between the two meal plans comes down to something called net carbs, which, in whole foods, are the total grams of carbohydrates minus grams of dietary fiber. In processed foods, net carbs are calculated by subtracting the dietary fiber and sugar alcohols from the total grams of carbohydrates.
Net carbs still sound confusing? Let us explain:
Net carbs (also known as digestible carbs) are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed into the blood stream, according Healthline. Fiber and sugar alcohols are processed differently, though, so when calculating net carbs, we subtract those numbers out to get a better idea of what the body typically absorbs. Here’s an example: Half of a medium avocado contains 8 grams of carbohydrates. When we subtract the dietary fiber (6 grams), we get the net carbs: 2.
To save you some time, we went ahead and created a Keto-Friendly Grocery Guide > that provides the net carbs of some of the most popular items. Keep it handy!
Here at South Beach, our Keto-Friendly plan delivers about 40 grams of net carbs per day in Phase 1 and 50 grams of net carbs in Phase 2. It’s not “strict keto” as some may call it, or intended to allow individuals to achieve or maintain nutritional ketosis. And for good reason: We don’t believe nutritional ketosis needs to be obtained to gain many of the benefits of a ketogenic dietary pattern for weight loss and overall health and wellness.
Again, in Phase 1 on both the Keto-Friendly and traditional South Beach meal plan, you’ll be eating around 40 grams net carbs each day. Phase 2 is really where the plans differentiate themselves and you’ll need to be sure to filter by “Keto-Friendly” when you’re choosing your meals from the South Beach menu >
Here are some additional things to note when following our Keto-Friendly plan:
- Meats, fish, and some cheeses contain zero net carbs. Virtually, all other foods—including many non-starchy veggies—have some net carbs. Limit your intake to three servings of non-starchy vegetables a day (not five as the regular South Beach meal plan recommends). To note: Three servings of non-starchy veggies is equivalent to 3 cups.
- Because most fruit contains high amounts of sugar (carbs!), fruits are not recommended on our Keto-Friendly plan. For example, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), just 3/4 cup of grapes contains 23 grams of carbs. One medium-size banana: 30 grams.
- Your goal, on the Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet, is to keep your body’s net carb intake at a healthy minimum, which means all carbs—even good carbs like beans, legumes and whole grains—should be restricted to what’s already included in Keto-Friendly South Beach meals.
You’ll still include DIY Meals on the Keto-Friendly plan (practice meals when you cook or order-in low carb, keto-friendly foods). To help you keep a handle on how many net carbs to eat and when, here’s how you might structure your day:
- Breakfast: ≤11 grams net carbs
- Lunch: ≤12 grams net carbs
- Dinner: ≤12 grams net carbs
- Snacks and Shakes: ≤5 grams net carbs
Stock up on meats, cheese, non-starchy vegetables, fish, nuts and eggs to supplement South Beach meals. “There are a lot of great pantry foods that can help to add flavor and spice to your meals, side dishes and snacks and still be keto-friendly,” says Registered Dietitian Courtney McCormick. “I recommend mustard (most do not contain carbs, except avoid honey mustard), mayonnaise made from olive or avocado oil, unsweetened nut and seed butters and spice blends.”