The big debate: Net Carbs or Total Carbs

Track Net Carbs or Total Carbs? Which do you track?

It seems that every website you read or Facebook group you are in they talk about tracking net carbs or total carbs. If it is net carbs, do you subtract just the fiber? Or subtract the fiber and half the sugar alcohol? Or fiber and all the sugar alcohol? Talk about confusing. Then throw in some say track total carbs and not subtract anything from that number.

I listened to a lecture a few months ago that had a great analogy to help understand the net carb and total carb debate. She said tracking net carbs or total carbs will both work, but there is a difference. Net carbs is like taking over the counter cough medicine. It will work. Total carbs is like taking prescription cough medicine. It too will work but faster.

So lets look at that for a minute. Most people, including me, start tracking net carbs when they start keto. It works and the weight starts coming off. The total carbs might be higher than 50 grams even, but the weight is still coming off because the net is lower than 20 grams. As the body adjusts to the change from a high sugar/carb diet to this diet the net carbs does help in the transition. For some people they will never have to change to track total carbs because this works.

But then there are those that the net carb worked for a few months, and a stall hit. They don't know why because they are eating less than 20 net carbs. I was one of these people. Just like the analogy above, the over the counter cough medicine worked, but then we needed something stronger.

So if you have been tracking net carbs, but have hit a stall try total carbs and see if that helps.

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