When numbers don’t add up
I purposely played around with my carbohydrate intake today to expose a flaw in the conventional method of nutritional tracking calculations. When preparing for this 2-year journey, I had to make a decision to use total carbs or net carbs as an index measurement. Today, my numbers reflect the reason why I usually prefer calculating net carbs. I chose to use total carbs for my macronutrient tracking since it’s the conventional approach, also taking into consideration that some of my readers may not be as well versed as I am in nutrition. This further highlights the importance of choosing your carbohydrates wisely because they will define if you succeed in balancing your essential vitamins and minerals.
A person with no major conditions with healthy food habits shouldn’t need supplements. Of course, that is only valid if the nutritional content of the consumed items follows the nutritional estimate of the dietary tool you use to journal your meals. A vast number of factors influence the nutritional value of the food we eat. Was it ripe when it was harvested? How much water did the plant get? How long ago was it picked? What variety is it? What was the quality of the soil? Those questions are relevant for vegetals but animals follow the same pattern too. What was the quality of the food it consumed? What animal breed or sub-breed(s)? How was it prepared? When tracking your diet, always keep in mind that your calculations are general guidelines, not a firm reality. You might wonder why you would use such an imprecise tool, and the answer is that its purpose is to temper yourself. I have yet to meet someone who can perfectly estimate their nutritional intake at a glimpse of an eye. Even after years of food journaling, I still measure and track because I know my taste buds will pull me towards things that may not be what’s best for my body. It’s easy to over or under eat certain items and keeping records helps to stay on course.
For those who are not familiar with the notion of total carbs versus net carbs here is a simple explanation.
-When counting grams of starches, sugars and fibres all together, you are calculating total carbs.
-When adding grams of starches and sugars together while subtracting the fibres, you are calculating net carbs.
This matters greatly because fibres are usually not digested by our metabolism even if they are primordial for our intestinal health. That means, fibres don’t increase your calorie intake but you do need to track them due to their vital role in our regularity, cholesterol levels, appetite control and microbiotic health.
The way this calculation difference became notable today in my food diary is because I’m below my daily calorie intake while exceeding my total carbs target. I have 46 calories remaining to eat while being 110% above my carb target and I have not exceeded my fat nor my protein target. I ate a very large amount of fibre while consuming fewer starches and sugar and it resulted in this confusing outcome on my tracking app. The large majority of us don’t eat this much fibre, therefore, the average individual will rarely encounter such a phenomenon.
Though, it’s still important to know this calculation flaw, particularly if you’re contemplating going on a low carbohydrate diet. You must know the distinction between the 2 calculation methods since this type of ignorance could lead to severe nutritional deficiencies. When reducing your carb intake, always use net carbs to ensure that you eat the proper amount of vegetables in your day. I’m not saying fruits here because vegetables are what matters most to your health. This unpopular food group is the temple of well-being! With it, you can restore your metabolic functions, nourish your cells and maintain strong tissues and flush away wastes.
If there is one universal health advice I would give, it would be: eat your vegetables. Your physical and mental performance will greatly benefit from it and the money you will save on health care costs and supplements will be worth every difficult bite. The more you will eat it, the more you love it. Persist and your efforts will pay off more than anything else you can invest in because it will give you life.
My vegetable sermon is over, amen!