logo

by Christina Wilson


Confused about carbs? You’re not alone. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there. The most important takeaway here is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Don’t feel like you need to put yourself in a low-carb or high-carb camp – you just need to do what works for you! There’s a vast spectrum of carbohydrate intake, so it’s a matter of finding out what type of carbs and how much you feel best on it. Carb is not a four-letter word! While there are situations where a Ketogenic (extremely low carb) diet is optimal, excluding an entire macro is generally not sustainable.

Counting macros goes a step further than typical calorie counting. You count the macronutrients—grams of proteins, carbs, and fats—you’re eating within your calorie goal and in what ratios. You want to be sure you are eating enough protein for your needs and the appropriate amount of fat and carbohydrates. 

The amount of your daily calories that should come from carbs is influenced by several factors, like activity level, body composition, age, hormones, and existing medical conditions. For example, If you have type 2 diabetes or PCOS (high insulin levels)  or are looking to lose weight, you’re likely going to feel better on a lower carbohydrate/higher protein diet. Current guidelines support the use of lower carbohydrate diets as an alternative to standard low-fat, calorie-counting advice for suitable patients with obesity or type 2 diabetes.If you have some hormonal issues, such as PCOS (high insulin) or hypothyroidism (low thyroid), you’ll probably feel better on a more moderate carbohydrate diet. Breastfeeding? Super athletic? You’ll need more carbs. 

If you are an overall healthy person (and exercise moderately), I suggest starting on a moderate carbohydrate diet and experimenting from there. 

Experiment! (Take Notes)

If your carbohydrate intake is too high, It might trigger cravings for sweets. If it is too low, you’ll be tired and irritable. Being mindful and taking notes along the way about how you’re feeling is fantastic intel. 

Count Net Carbs To Get Adequate Fiber

If you really like numbers, you can go a step further.

Net carbs = carbs - fiber

Essentially, the net carb theory is that certain carbs don't need to be tallied as carbs for the day. For example, there are 40 grams of carbs in a cup of cooked quinoa and 5 grams of fiber.

40 grams total carbs – 5 grams fiber = 35 grams net carb. This cup of quinoa only has 35 grams of digestible, calorie-containing carbohydrates.
Calculating net carbs can be helpful as it encourages the intake of high-quality food, namely fiber. As a general rule of thumb, foods in their natural state high in fiber will be amongst the best quality options compared to those with similar carbs and less fiber. Think all non starchy veggies and fruits, whole grains and beans, and starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes. 

Fiber, insoluble fiber specifically, is essential for overall health and gut health. Women should aim for 30-40 grams of fiber per day, while men should target 40-50 grams. Fiber is significant for weight loss and microbiome health. 

Some Macro %'s 


Standard American Diet:                     50% Carbohydrates   15% Protein    35% Fat
Modified Mediterranean Diet                 40% Carbohydrates   30% Protein    30% Fat
Ketogenic Diet                                             5% Carbohydrates   25% Protein    70% Fat

An online macro diet calculator or meal planning app can help guide you and gives you the ability to log the foods and calculate macros. Here are a few popular macro diet apps to try:

MyFitnessPal automatically sets your macros at 50% carbs, 20% protein, and 30% fat but you can adjust accordingly. 

Takeaway:  you don’t need to take an all-or-nothing approach to carbs. What is important is to  consistently choose unprocessed carbohydrate choices for fiber and nutrients over refined, processed carbohydrates. 

Related Posts

The Vagus Nerve and Well Being
The Vagus Nerve and Well Being
Because of its long path through the human body, the vagus nerve has  been described as the “wanderer nerve.”  The va...
Read More
Love Up Your Liver
Love Up Your Liver
The liver is our primary detox organ. It is in charge of making toxins less dangerous through biochemical processing ...
Read More
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!!
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!!
Incorporating stretches into your daily routine is beneficial in so many ways. Stretching is instrumental in improvin...
Read More
Healthy Snacks on the Go!
Healthy Snacks on the Go!
          We all have busy lives and are constantly on the go! It’s important for our health, energy level, and mood ...
Read More
5 Benefits to Passing on the Booze
5 Benefits to Passing on the Booze
Uncorking the wine bottle or having a few beers is the way that many people “unwind”. While this seems like a great w...
Read More
Keeping your Immune System Healthy
Keeping your Immune System Healthy
If this last two years have taught us anything it is that COVID affects each of us differently and our immune systems...
Read More
Maintain Balance During the Holidays to Lower Stress
Maintain Balance During the Holidays to Lower Stress
Whether we are ready for the holidays or not, they are here!! That means a time for family gatherings, great food, fr...
Read More
2 Day Juice Cleanse
2 Day Juice Cleanse
I recently did a juice cleanse in which you drink one gallon of juice per day for a two day period. The two gallons o...
Read More
Fitness Challenge Ideas
Fitness Challenge Ideas
Fitness challenges are a great way to stay in shape during the Summer. Here are some great fitness challenges to look...
Read More
Wellness Wednesday Tips
Wellness Wednesday Tips
Tips for living a healthier life start with taking action. As life returns back to normal, it's hard staying on track...
Read More


Christina Wilson
Christina Wilson

Author


close-icon