Doing it By The Numbers- Portion Sizes and Net Carbs


Yes, size DOES matter. The problem with many of us who have been doing any conscious eating plan for more than a little while, is that we tend to ‘figure’ our portions based on best guess and pipe dreams. Notice I didn’t say ‘diet’. Diet, by design, is something that we have defined as having an end point. Low-carb should never have an ‘end point’, unless your goal is to regain lost pounds.

So, bearing in mind that I just ate ‘a portion’ of the pictured No-Sugar-Added ice cream right out of the carton, (gross, except nobody else here eats it, preferring Heath Crunch and Chocolate Chip Mint with full carb content) I thought it would be helpful for all of us, myself included, to refresh what recommended portion sizes are in order to actually get the numbers right. So, your carton will show you a carbohydrate count. As you can see, all the important numbers are here. In case you didn’t know already, that number 16 is about to shrink significantly. First, you need to subtract any fiber gram content from your net carb intake total. So, right off the top, we take off 4 grams, so now the carb count is 12. So, 12 then? No! Another great thing is that now, we get to subtract all the sugar alcohols. Unlike a popular myth goes, though, we do NOT subtract the protein grams. So, another 4 grams gets to go away. So, we are left with a NET carb intake of only 8 grams. Here’s the kicker. What does a portion look like? It’s 1/2 cup in this case- the usual amount for all ice-cream portion sizes. If you ate from the container, or just heaped it into a bowl because it’s ‘low-carb ice cream’, you may actually be eating much more in carbohydrate than you thought. So, here’s what your portion should look like. Imagine one decent size scoop on an ice cream cone, or simply use a 1/2 cup. I will show you what this looks like, in the event you simply don’t want to pull out the measuring device- which I highly recommend…

As you can see, I have displayed the one-cup measure beside the 1/2 cup, with the full cup being the preferred portion size for most people. If you have a spare 16 grams of carbs to use on this ice cream, by all means, scoop it up. I don’t. But, who knows how much I ate today, because I did not measure. This is a bad habit to get into if you’re trying to maintain any accuracy in counting your carbs. The first photo below shows what one tablespoon looks like. The top measure of my shot-glass here shows what about two tablespoons of sugar-free caramel sauce looks like. Or Ranch dressing, or any other item you get ‘2 tablespoons’ of for a serving. Again, I just kind of squirted some caramel on  today…The good news is I will survive it, and probably not gain any weight. The bad news is, I won’t need any more fiber today, either, if you get my drift. Ahem…back to more sweet ideas.

Coming next week: Product and company review of Lo-Carb-U, and the $75 order I placed. There is a plethora of product to test and review for you here to make low-carb a lot less monotonous. If you think all you can eat is salads, steak, and chicken, with variations on the theme, you will find this to be a nice bit of information.* (not indicated for Atkins’ Induction Phase*)

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