Calculating Net Carbs on the Ketogenic Diet

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Keto, ketogenic diet with nutrition diagram | Calculating Net Carbs on the Ketogenic Diet

Learn more about calculating net carbs on the keto diet so you can estimate how many carbs your body absorbs.

RELATED: Understanding Net Carbs Ketogenic Diet

In this article: 

  1. Net Carbs and Keto Diet
  2. What Are Net Carbs?
  3. Considering Which Type of Fiber for Your Keto Diet
  4. High-Fiber, Low-Carb Foods on Keto Diet

What to Know About Calculating Net Carbs on Keto


Net Carbs and Keto Diet

Where the ketogenic diet is concerned, there is a lot of talk about carbohydrate intake. This low-carb, high-fat diet is often not fully understood, particularly in relation to the role of carbs within the body. One term that often falls beneath the radar is “net carbs.”


What Are Net Carbs?

Top view of a beautiful woman on the sofa eating a healthy salad | Calculating Net Carbs on the Ketogenic Diet

You might be thinking that “net carbs” would be the same as “total carbs,” but it isn’t. Here is a simple equation in counting carbs to help you understand the difference:

Total carbs minus dietary fiber equals net carbs (total carbs - fiber = net carbs)

What practical difference does it make to consider the amount of carbohydrates one is eating, without including fiber in the “net carbs” amount? Well, this is because insoluble fiber doesn’t impact blood sugar, the number of calories, or Fat Storing Hormone production. For instance, one cup of celery contains a total carb amount of 3 g. It also contains 1.6 g of fiber. This means the net carb amount is only 1.4 g.

RELATED: Low carb Bread Sticks


Considering Which Type of Fiber for Your Keto Diet

There are two types of fiber that apply to anything we eat: soluble (sometimes called “impact”) and insoluble (or “non-impact”) fibers. Soluble fiber has an impact on blood sugar levels and can affect ketosis. For this reason, many ketogenic diet experts prefer to operate with total carbs rather than net carbs. Not all keto-approved food options are entirely without soluble fiber, and it’s not generally advisable to treat soluble fiber with the same regard as insoluble fiber.

Ketosis Definition: A metabolic state or process that allows the body to produce and use ketone bodies instead of glucose as its energy source. This occurs due to starvation and carbohydrate restriction if people want to lose weight

It is worth noting that the role of soluble fiber is not completely understood as of yet. Some studies have suggested that it can even lower blood glucose levels and help the body to remain satiated for longer periods of time, so its relation to the low-carb meal plan could be more complicated than previously thought.


High-Fiber, Low-Carb Foods on Keto Diet

Avocado with asparagus and spinach salad | Calculating Net Carbs on the Ketogenic Diet

Fiber is essential to the human body to effectively rid itself of waste via bowel movement, and humans are generally recommended to eat between 20 and 35 g per day. Fortunately, not all high-fiber foods are high in carbohydrates. Below are some foods or recipe ingredients with a low net carb count that make great additions to the keto diet. All of these foods, mostly vegetables, are measured in 100 g servings:

  • Asparagus – 2.1 g of fiber, 3.38 g carbohydrates = 1.18 g net carbs
  • Broccoli rabe – 2.7 g of fiber, 2.85 g carbohydrates = 0.15 g net carbs
  • Spinach – 2.2 g of fiber, 3.63 g carbohydrates = 1.43 g net carbs
  • Avocado – 6.7 g of fiber, 8.53 g carbohydrates = 1.83 g net carbs

It is worth calculating net carbs in many of the foods you eat to help you stick to your ketogenic diet or low-carbohydrate diet with greater ease. It also increases your awareness of the nutritional value of the food that’s going into your body.

Have you tried calculating net carbs on your diet? What kind of carb intake do you usually have on a daily basis? Let’s talk about carb intake management in the comments section.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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