10 Tips to Optimize Ketosis~Tip #4
Updated: Apr 9
My fourth tip for getting into and maintaining ketosis is:
WATCH FOR HIDDEN CARBS
Most of you probably feel like you have the low-carb part of keto down to a fine art. You know not to eat more than 20 grams of carbohydrates in a day, and are actively reading nutrition labels. You scroll down to the part that says “carbohydrate” and can quickly see if it's low enough in carbs to fit the lifestyle, or maybe you see a zero by the carbohydrate count and think you're home free.
What many people fail to realize is that many items actually contain hidden carbs.
Hidden carbs?!?! What does that mean?
It means you can’t necessarily trust those labels.
Food manufacturers are sneaky. They are legally allowed to say that a product has zero carbs as long as it is less than one gram per serving. Heavy cream is a good example here. Most heavy creams are between 0.4 and 0.8 g carbohydrate per tablespoon, but because they're allowed to label that as zero, many people assume their cream has no carbs and they can consume it in large quantities without affecting their daily carb intake.
Many a Ketonian found out the hard way that drinking a lot of cream (or eating a lot of dairy in general) causes stalls. Most assume it's a sensitivity, but many times it's merely that they discounted the carbs in the dairy they were eating and it regularly put them over their carb limits.
Another sneaky trick is to have ridiculously small serving sizes. Food producers bank on the fact that you may never look at the serving size and never realize that it's only zero carb if you have a small bite or two. For example, many packages of guacamole are usually listed as 1-2 carbs per serving. But did you know that serving size is only a tablespoon? If you're heaping it on at every opportunity without realizing how small one serving is, those carbs can add up very quickly!
Food manufacturers often hide ingredients by disguising them under other names and hoping you won’t catch on by checking the "ingredients” portion of the label. It’s interesting that a product that clearly says “sugar free” often contains sugar in the ingredient list. Please be careful and watch those labels. You can avoid many hidden carbs by familiarizing yourself with all the names for sugar (maltodextrin, dextrose, anything that ends in -ose, and many more) and avoid products with these ingredients.
If you suspect you're consuming a lot of hidden carbs, the easiest way to check is to test your ketone levels to see how different foods affect you. You can also test your blood glucose levels before and after meals to see how much it increases. You should not see more than a 15-20 point increase, and if you see a decrease then you can know that whatever you just ate gave you a major insulin spike that took your blood sugar down, which is a good indication that food should be avoided in the future.
If you're unsure about the hidden carbs in your favorite foods, there is a hidden carb calculator available! Please be sure to check it out and plug in your most commonly used items, as well as any new items before you begin using them.
Knowledge is power. Eliminating the hidden carbs will ramp up your ketone production and take you to the next level of fat burning!
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Check out my Hidden carb calculator: https://www.ketorevolution.org/hidden-carb-calculator
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