What Is The Best Carb Tracking App For Keto A Side By Side Review Of Cronometer Vs Myfitnesspal Vs Carb Manager
If we compare the results of tracking the exact same meals side by side, we can see that MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, and Carb Manager are within 60 calories and 3 grams of net carbs of each other.
With 2,121 calories, MyFitnessPal had the lowest energy estimate for the day. However, this wasnt far from Cronometer , which is known for being a highly accurate tracking app.
From a net carb perspective, I noticed that MyFitnessPal was the least accurate . There was also a 1.5-gram difference between Cronometer and Carb Manager, which I traced back to Cronometers greater precision and a discrepancy between each apps spring mix listing.
Overall, these discrepancies are small enough that they will not make or break your results. This means that the best app for keto ultimately depends on your preferences.
If you want to track your macronutrients, net carbs, vitamins, and minerals with greater precision , then Cronometer is the best choice.
On the other hand, if you would rather have a larger database of foods and recipes to choose from, then youll find Carb Manager or MyFitnessPal to be the better option.
Why Measure Total Carbs
Its easier to measure total carbs no subtraction necessary!
The benefit of measuring total carbs is most evident when it comes to manufactured or packaged products.
The effect of the natural insoluble fiber found in fruit and veggies is well known and has been well-studied. Its called insoluble fiber because your body doesnt absorb it at all.5
Naturally-occurring soluble fiber is a little different. Soluble fiber forms a gel and increases the viscosity of the digested food. While some soluble fiber may get absorbed, it is more likely that it gets fermented by gut bacteria. Therefore, soluble fiber can contribute a small number of calories, but it doesnt usually impact blood sugar and insulin significantly.
However, the fiber added to packaged food products is often the kind of soluble fiber that can contribute to increases in blood sugar and insulin.
For instance, isomaltooligosaccharide significantly raises blood sugar and insulin levels.6 Food manufacturers often count IMO as fiber and subtract it from total carbs to market a low-net-carb product. Unfortunately, your body will not agree.
Other examples of added fibers are inulin, xanthan gum, tapioca fiber, and chicory root. While none of these will likely cause the same adverse reaction as IMO, we still recommend caution as many of these added fibers have not been extensively studied.
A Few Definitions For Counting Carbohydrates
Carbohydrate counting simply means adding up the total amount of carbohydrate in meals and snacks. Carbohydrates include sugars, including sucrose , fructose and lactose , as well as starches, which include much of the carbohydrate found in bread, rice, cereal and potatoes. When you eat something that contains starch, the starch is broken down into glucose before entering your bloodstream.
Now heres the kicker: From the standpoint of blood glucose control, it doesnt matter if the carbohydrates you eat are in the form of sugars or starches. OK, now relax. Take a few deep breaths, then call your mom to say I told you so. Both sugars and starches will raise blood glucose by the same amount. A cup of rice containing 45 grams of starch will raise blood glucose level just as much as a can of regular, sugar-sweetened soda containing 45 grams of sugar. In other words, dont be overly concerned about the sugar content of a food. Be concerned about the total carbohydrate content of a food.
Accurate carbohydrate counting is important. Being off by just 5 grams of carbohydrate can affect blood glucose by 3040 mg/dl in someone who weighs 50 pounds and 20 mg/dl in someone who weighs 150 pounds.
Here are four simple techniques for counting carbohydrates accurately and easily: Read labels, use resources listings, learn to estimate portion sizes and, on occasion, weigh your food.
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How To Count Carbs For Better Blood Sugar Control
Counting carbs is one of the most important ways people with type 2 diabetes manage blood-sugar levels.
Your doctor may have told you to count carbs or use something called the glycemic index to plan your meals. A healthy diet consists of a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, people with type 2 diabetes need to watch carbohydrates carefully. Why? Because when any food that contains carbohydrates is digested, it turns into sugar, which increases your blood-glucose level. Its pretty basic: Eating too many carbs can raise the amount of sugar in your bloodstream and lead to complications. The key for people like you with type 2 diabetes is to eat carbs in limited amounts at each meal and when you snack. Total carbs should make up about 45 to 60 percent of your daily diet if you have type 2 diabetes.
Theres no one diet that works for everyone with type 2 diabetes there are just too many variables: Age, weight, level of physical activity, medications, as well as daily routine and personal preference need to be taken into account. So heres where your diabetes care team comes in: Talk to your dietitian or diabetes educator to determine the right carb-counting number for you so youll be able to provide your body with a steady flow of energy throughout the day, maintain a healthy weight, and manage your blood sugar.
The Basics of Counting Carbs
Can You Eat Carbs And Still Lose Weight
Yes, definitely! The keto diet is about eating quality foods within optimal quantities to facilitate nutritional ketosis which is when your body switches from burning sugars as fuel to burning fat.
These quality foods referred to also include whole, nutrient-dense carbohydrates that are high in fiber.
As the keto diet limits carbs to around 20 grams per day, its clear that carbs are very much still a part of the keto diet, albeit in smaller, healthier quantities that facilitate efficient fat burning.
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What If You Eat More Or Less Than One Serving Lets Practice With This Example Label
Remember, when you are learning to count carbohydrates, measure the exact serving size to help train your eye to see what portion sizes look like. When, for example, the serving size is 1 cup, then measure out 1 cup. If you measure out a cup of rice, then compare that to the size of your fist. In the future you would be able to visualize the rice in comparison to your fist. Keep doing this until you get a good idea of the weights and volumes of different foods. Measuring foods at home can also make you feel more comfortable with estimating portion sizes in restaurants.
Eating 2050 Grams Per Day
This is where the low carb diet has bigger effects on metabolism. This is a possible range for people who want to lose weight fast, or have metabolic problems, obesity, or diabetes.
When eating less than 50 grams per day, the body will go into ketosis, supplying energy for the brain via so-called ketone bodies. This is likely to dampen your appetite and cause you to lose weight automatically.
Carbs you can eat include:
- some berries, maybe with whipped cream
- trace carbs from other foods, like avocados, nuts, and seeds
Be aware that a low carb diet doesnt mean its a no-carb diet. Theres room for plenty of low carb vegetables.
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Calculating Net Carbs In Whole Foods
Whole foods contain naturally occurring fiber. Therefore, you can simply subtract the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs.
The USDA Food Composition Databases provides complete nutrition information on thousands of foods, including carbs and fiber.
For example, a medium avocado contains 17.1 grams of total carbs, 13.5 grams of which is fiber .
So 17.1 grams of total carbs 13.5 grams of fiber = 3.6 grams of net carbs.
Whole foods contain fiber, which can be subtracted when calculating net carbs. Formula: total carbs fiber = net carbs.
Setting Your Macronutrient Ratios And Calorie Goals With Myfitnesspal
There are two ways to change your daily macronutrient and calorie goals using MyFitnessPal. Lets stick with the easiest, more intuitive way:
Tap on More, then tap Goals.
Here you can adjust your weight, activity levels, and weight loss/gain goals. Most importantly, this is where you can change your calorie and macronutrient goals. Tap Calories, Carbs, Protein and Fat Goals.
From here, you can select one of the macronutrients to change your carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake goals.
Use your finger to adjust the percentages until they look something like this:
Note: the app will not let you save your new macronutrient goals if they dont add up to 100%.
If you want to be more precise by using the Keto Calculator, then play around with the macronutrient percentages until you get as close as you can to what the calculator suggests. Unfortunately, the free version of MyFitnessPal does not let you change your macronutrient goals by using grams.
Sometimes the calorie estimates are off as well. If this is the case, then you can tap on the calories row and change your daily calorie goal to match what the keto calculator says.
If you are not using the calculator, you can play around with your daily calorie allowance depending on how much weight you want to lose per week. This is up to you, but we recommend no more than a 30% calorie deficit.
If you would like to set additional nutrient goals and/or fitness goals, then scroll down and tap on the relevant option to adjust it.
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How Much Carbohydrate Do I Need Each Day
Carbohydrates are measured in units called grams. Grams are a measure of weight.
The total grams or amount of carbohydrate you need each day depends on your calorie goals, activity level and personal preferences.
Carbohydrates generally provide 45-65% of your daily calories.
For most people with type 1 diabetes, this ranges from 150-250 grams of carbohydrate a day. How you distribute this carbohydrate throughout the day can also make a difference in your blood sugar.
How Do I Understand More About Carbohydrate Counting
The best way to learn carbohydrate counting is to take part in a carbohydrate counting course.
If you are on insulin, would like to go on a carbohydrate counting course and have not been on one of these courses in recent years, your GP, diabetes consultant or diabetes specialist nurse can refer you onto one of these courses.
Examples of nationwide carbohydrate counting courses include:
Your diabetes health team should also be able to arrange one-to-one guidance on carbohydrate counting if you need help at any time.
The Low Carb Program is an online education program launched by Diabetes.co.uk that explains the impact of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels.
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How Many Carbs Should I Eat
Theres no one size fits all answereveryone is different because everyones body is different. The amount you can eat and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. A dietitian or diabetes care and education specialist can help you create an eating plan that works for your unique needs and lifestyle.
Ask your doctor to refer you to diabetes self-management education and support services, where youll work with a diabetes educator to create a healthy meal plan just for you. You can also visit the Find a Diabetes Education Program in Your Area locator for DSMES services near you.
How To Track Net Carbs Using Myfitnesspal
After a full day of keto-friendly eating and macro tracking, you have all the info you need to calculate your net carb intake.
First, make sure you are in your food dairy by tapping the Diary icon to the left of the + sign. Tap on the banner at the top that has your daily calories remaining.
Youll be taken to a screen that provides you with your daily nutrient breakdown. Here you will find all the relevant information that you need to ensure you are following the ketogenic diet correctly.
To calculate your net carb intake for the day, take your fiber number and subtract it from the grams of carbohydrates you consumed.
For example, after a sample day of beginner keto eating, I consumed 25 grams of carbs and 7 grams of fiber. 25 g 7 g= 18 grams of net carbs not bad!
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Buyer Beware Net Carb Claims By Food Marketers
This fact leads to the final reason that I recommend counting total carbs, and not net carbs.
That reason is truth in marketing.
If it isnt already, net carbs will soon be a marketing strategy used by food manufacturers.
One unfortunate example I found was this product.
The unfortunate part is that I found it in the diabetes care section of my local pharmacy.
On the front of the package, it states that there is only one net carb per serving.
But if you flip the box over, you see that the company had to do some pretty tricky math to get the total carb count of 21 down to one net carb.
You can see that they took the total carbs and then subtracted the fiber grams, maltitol , and also some other carbs.
The other carbs have an asterisk next to it.
That asterisk tells you that nine carbs in the food are what they call, Non-Factor. I cant say that I understand that to be an official term, and I would say this math is iffy at best.
What Are Net Carbs
Simple carbs contain one or two sugar units linked together and are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, milk, sugar, honey and syrup.
Complex carbs contain many sugar units linked together and are found in grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
When you eat a carb-containing food, most of the carbs are broken down into individual sugar units by enzymes produced in your small intestine. Your body can only absorb individual sugar units.
However, some carbs cant be broken down into individual sugars, whereas others are only partially broken down and absorbed. These include fiber and sugar alcohols.
Because of this, most fiber and sugar alcohols can be subtracted from total carbs when calculating net carbs.
Net carbs are broken down into individual sugar units and absorbed into your bloodstream. However, your body processes fiber and sugar alcohol carbs differently than digestible carbs.
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Why Should I Count Carbs
Carb counting is a flexible way to eat the foods you enjoy while maintaining a low-carb diet. It also helps you learn how certain foods affect your blood sugar so you can match the foods you eat to your insulin dose.
The three types of carbohydrates found in food are:
Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate, meaning the body breaks it down quickly. This can cause blood glucose levels to rise and fall at very fast rates. Sugar is naturally found in fruits and milk. It’s also frequently added to packaged foods like candy and sodas.
Starches are found naturally in many foods that we eat. This includes bread, pasta, rice, and certain vegetables, like potatoes and corn.
Aim for consuming whole, minimally processed starches. Whole grains provide fiber and other vitamins and minerals essential for good health. Try to get at least half of your daily starch intake from whole grains such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa.
Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that the body can’t digest. It helps you feel full and slows digestion. Foods high in fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease and help to manage blood sugar. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.
Foods With High Carbohydrate Content
Foods that contain carbohydrates include the following:
- Grains: Bread, pasta, oatmeal, certain types of noodle, crackers, cereals, rice, and quinoa.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, mangoes, melons, oranges, and grapefruits
- Dairy: Milk and yogurt
- Legumes: Beans, including the dried variety, lentils, and peas.
- Snacks: Cakes, cookies, candy, and other sweet dessert-type foods are nutritionally weak sources of carbohydrates.
- Drinks: Juices, soft drinks, sports drinks, and sugary energy drinks
- Vegetables: Some vegetables contain more carbohydrates than others.
Choosing carbohydrates carefully and being mindful of when and how much they eat means that a person with diabetes need not give up eating their favorite foods altogether.
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How Do You Count Carbs In Homemade Food
Theres nothing quite like the aroma of home cooking filling your kitchen a signal that soon youll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour .
It tastes that much better when you know youve lovingly made it for yourself. It also tastes pretty good when someone else has lovingly made it for you too!
If only love outweighed carbs! Alas, homemade food isnt exempt from carb counting it might even appear trickier, without any labels for your handcrafted dish.
With our guide, though, it doesnt have to be tricky. So, how do you count carbs in homemade food? Lets find out!