Carb Counters - Critique my low carb diet?

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04-08-2011, 06:45 PM
Hi all,
I'm new to low carb, actually I haven't even calculated what my intake is because I don't really know where to start.

With some of you who have had success and who have experience, could you critique my meals? I'd like to know if it's considered low carb and if I'm eating too much fruit.

Drink only water about 160 oz. a day. Sometimes a little more.

Breakfast: I mix this all up
1/4 cup low fat ricotta (60 calories)
handful of blueberries (about 20)
between 7-10 raspberries
about 2 tbsp of almonds (in pieces not whole)
about 2 tbsp of unsweetened dried coconut
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

half an avocado: ill either wrap it up with green onions with nori rolls usually eat two sheets with half an avocado.
Slice or two of oven roasted turkey breast (not deli meat)
One hard boiled egg
Half a grapefruit

Snack: about 3-4 times a week only
One pop (used instead of bread. It's 10 calories an 3 carbs)
Tsp or less of fresh roasted honey peanut butter

Dinner: Salad
A cup of cabbage (napa, red and green that i mix with cilantro and green onions)
about 5-10 small cubes of baked tofu marinated with about a tspn of dijon mustard
5 roasted brussel sprouts, baked with 1/2 tspn of olive oil and 1 tbsn peach balsamic vinegar
1/2-1 tbsp(never more) Dressing is super light and barely any oil. It's sesame lime that is made fresh everyday.

Sometimes I like to add 1/2 of a large apple during dinner with my salad. But im not sure if I'm already eating too much fruit. Would you guys say this is low carb?

04-08-2011, 07:04 PM
Have you put this in a tracker? Seems like a lot of fruit for low carb for me. I'd cut out the grapefruit and add in some more veggies like celery or cauliflower (not carrots they are high carb).

04-08-2011, 11:14 PM
Low-carb diets come in a variety of carb-levels. Even 200g has been considered low-carb by some definitions (the average is over 250g, and 400g isn't unusual at all). Under 100g is one of the more common definitions, and it looks to me like you're staying under that, but a nutrition analyzer would tell you for sure.

From everything I've read, heard and experienced, carb-levels are very individual. Depending on your age, weight, health, diet, activity level, how often you eat, and who knows what else, you might feel best on a carb level much different than someone else. You'll probably need to judge by results, rather than absolutes.

I'd recommend a food journal and would suggest that you document physical and emotional feelings too (for example I get severe headaches when my carb level is too low. However, I'm also very fat and diabetic, and on blood sugar lowering medication. Although I got low-carb headaches even as a teenager long before the diabetes).

04-12-2011, 01:08 AM
I've cut out the grapefruit and flaxseeds and added up my carbs and it comes out to 43. I'm surprised at how high the number is considering how careful and clean my choices are. I also don't eat apples often maybe once a month and only half. The only fruit I consume are berries. Does this number seem right and does it seem high for a low carb diet?

Instead of eating grapefruit and flaxseeds or anything else with carbs I've replaced it with oven roasted turkey (not deli meat) and eggs.

04-13-2011, 04:10 PM
Cutting out the grapefruit and apple is good enough. I wouldn't cut out the flax cuz it adds essential fiber :) I just know for me with my low carb eating fruit seems to stall my weight loss. I eat very little fruit, if any.

I'm not sure what your goal is but 43 grams of carbs is good to me. I low carb and aim for under 100 grams a day :) When I get under 75 I'm doing awesome!

When you say 43 grams of carbs did you subtract out your fiber?

04-13-2011, 11:29 PM
I really only cut out the grapefruit, the 1/2 apple was only eaten about once a week or once every two weeks. However, I was eating half a grapfruit a day.

I don't have an exact number in mind for how many carbs a day. I know I can't do only 20 carbs a day. I would like to keep it between 40-50. I would LOVE to keep it at 40 but im not sure what else to cut. I'm only eating 10 raspberries, two tbsn of blueberries, 3-5 blueberries and half an avocado. Sometimes I don't have the avocado, but it's a staple in my diet. I hope that's ok and not going to harm me.

I cut out the flaxseed and now feel guilty and hope I didn't do damage these last few days by skipping it in fear of the high calories and carbs.

I had no idea that I was supposed to subtract fiber carbs. I've seen it on the boards but didnt think it had anything to do with what I was doing. Are there really 100-110 calories in two tablespoons of ground flaxseed and 6 grams of carbs? This is hard for me to swallow.

Could someone please explain how, what, why I should be doing this? Do I do this for every piece of food I eat? I still really don't understand it.

04-14-2011, 04:49 AM
Here's why you can subtract fiber carbs. Fiber is technically a carbohydrate that does have calories, but they're calories humans can't access. So they don't "count" because they leave our bodies, unburned and therefore unused (Gross - but it's why some animals and birds will sift through other creatures poop' to eat the seeds and other undigested matter in it. Those are calories that the original creature didn't burn, because they're still in the stuff the birds are picking out of the poop).

Some animals don't burn a lot of the calories they eat. We learned this the hard way, when my parent's dog used the cat's litter box as his personal buffet. The vet told us that cats have very inefficient digestive systems. Their poop has so much undigested calories in it, that the dog smells food, not poop.

Human bodies aren't furnaces, and we don't always burn all the calories we eat either, but to find out how much went through our digestive systems undigested we'd have to collect our urine and feces and somehow measure the "calories" left in our waste. That's just yucky (and not possible outside a specific type of sophisticated laboratory).

It's also why calories may not be the best way to measure food's energy potential in the human body either - because some of those calories don't get absorbed.

Calories are just a measure of heat (not how much of the heat, the human body is actually going to use from that food. We assume that we burn it all, but that's probably not technically true).

Anything that can burn has calories. Wood has calories, but if you ate ground up wood, you wouldn't absorb any of those calories. Your stomach would be full, but you would starve to death, because you can't digest cellulose (fiber).

Measuring the usable calories in food, can be a bit complicated. In the USA food companies are allowed to subtract fiber calories from the total calorie count (which makes sense. If we can't digest them, why count them). However, they're not obligated to. This becomes confusing, because they don't have to tell you which math they're using. Did they subtract the fiber calories, or not?

There's no way to tell, except by double checking their math. It's not hard, but it is tedious (and for low fiber foods, largely pointless because the calorie difference won't be enough to warrant the time it takes to do the math):

Each gram of fat has 9 calories, and each gram of carbohydrate (including fiber) and protein has 4 calories, but you can subtract the fiber calories.

As an example I looked up flax seeds. I didn't find any that listed the calorie count for 2 tbs (14g) at more than 75 calories. I checked five sites.

Most listed it at 60. The fiber count is 4g, which means there's 16 calories that could be subtracted (and if you subtract 16 from 75, you get 59 - which rounds to 60. When I double checked the label math, that's exactly what happened. Some subtracted the fiber calories, and some didn't).

If all of that is too confusing, don't worry about it, and just use your best judgement. Count calories and/or carbs, in any way you want to, just be consistent and realize no matter which method you use, you're estimating. That's ok. Many people just use the food labels and a calorie or carb counting book or website.

Also remember that flax seed has to be ground for you to digest any of it. If you eat whole seeds, they'll pass through your gut intact, and you won't absorb any of the calories (or any of the nutrients either).

I've probably overexplained this, and only made the situation muddier so I'll try to summarize. Don't worry too much about minute details, because even the most precise calorie counting (or carb counting) is at best an estimate.

You don't have to be precisely accurate, you only have to "close enough" and you'll reach "close enough" just by being consistent.

I think you're overworrying about about "damage." Your body isn't that fragile. Neither is your metabolism. Sure you can do damage over time with an inadequate diet, but not over the course of a few days, a few weeks, or probably even a few months, maybe even a few years.

If you're meaning that you fear you might not lose as much weight as you possibly could have, I wouldn't worry so much about that either. You can't ever insure that you're losing at the absolute optimum rate possible, you can only do your best and take whatever results that yields.

Even if you do somehow manage to "damage" to your body or metabolism, it's probably not irreversible. I suspect that years and years of crash dieting has erroded my metabolism, but I'm seeing signs of that reversing. I'm now losing faster (on the same calorie level) than I did when I started, and I'm expecting that trend to continue.

A large part of metabolic decline is attributed to muscle loss. If that's true, I'd expect to see my metabolism improve as my fitness improves. That is what I'm seeing, so I personally don't believe I damaged my metabolism beyond repair or at least improvement (and if anyone could damage a metabolism beyond repair, I think it would be me, as I've been dieting, especially crash diting, and mostly failing at it since I was 5 years old. In the past 40 years, only the past 5 have been any permanent success).

Don't let yourself get into either guilt or panic mode. Guilt, fear, frustration, and other negative emotions are enemies of sustained weight loss. They make weight loss so unpleasant that quitting eventually seems the saner option. And they also release the stress hormones that have been proven to lower metabolism and inhibit weight loss.

Hang in there, and do your best, and be happy with it. You may even see more success, just by reducing the stress. Staying positive, can actually burn extra calories.

Do your best, and forget the rest. Try it, and you'll be surprised at how much pain it takes out of the weight loss process. We treat weight loss as if it's something that won't work unless we make ourselves miserable, and it's so not true. The more fun and stress-free you make it, the easier it is to keep at it, and persistence really is the only universal key to weight loss.

The rest you'll figure out as you go.

04-14-2011, 06:37 PM
You don't have to subtract fiber from carbs, I was just curious if you did- I don't. :)

04-15-2011, 06:49 PM
kaplods gave an excellent answer. I do what she suggests and have had excellent results.