Atkins is more of a carb counting diet, rather than just a traditional calorie counting diet. One of the ways Atkins calculates your daily carbohydrate consumption is through the use of net carbs.
You’ll see the net carb total printed on all of the Atkins products, like their protein bars and treats, but you can use the formula for everything you eat.
Why Are Net Carbs Used
Atkins uses net carbs as a way to qualify the type of carbohydrates you’re eating. Atkins is a carb restrictive diet, but discounts certain carbs because they have a lesser influence on your blood sugar and insulin levels.
To get the net carbs in the food you’re eating you would use this formula:
Total Carbohyrates – Sugar Alcohol – Dietary Fiber = Net Carbs
When you’re calculating your daily carbohydrates, you would want to use the net carbs instead of the total carbohydrates. If you’ve been using total carbs instead of net carbs, don’t worry, you haven’t been over eating on daily carbs.
Going through the trouble of calculating your net carbs everyday, however, will moderately increase the amount of carbs you’re allowed to eat. So, it’s definitely worth the trouble.
Related: Top 5 posts for the Atkins diet
Sugar alcohols are sugar substitutes found in many of the foods you already eat everyday. The main difference between natural sugar, and sugar alcohol is how it effects your blood sugar.
While sugar alcohols can be as sweet as sugar, they don’t contain as many calories and don’t raise your blood sugar levels to the same degree.
It’s because of the reduced calories, and how it intereacts with blood sugar and insulin, that the Atkins diet discounts these types of carbohydrates.
As a side note, there some health benefits to eating sugar alcohols related to skin, bone, and gut health.
Common Sugar Alcohols
Dietary fiber is the roughage, or bulk, found in many fruits, vegetables and other plant sources. Dietary fiber can’t be digested or absorbed, so these calories will pass through your digestive system relatively intact. Because these specific types of carbs are not digested and utilitzed, the Atkins diet doesn’t count them towards your daily carbohydrate totals.
Dietary fiber also has some very notable weight loss benefits. It can lower cholesterol, normalize bowel movements, and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
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