It is no secret. A low-carbohydrate and/or a ketogenic lifestyle promotes weight loss and has a profound improvement in overall health and well-being. Some of the many benefits include improvement with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, insulin resistance and glucose control, hypertension, and inflammatory markers. Moreover, a low-carbohydrate diet can even enhance your cognitive function and memory.
Consequently, everyone is noticing, including the food industry. There is an overwhelming number of processed foods available. In fact, more than half of the American diet comes from ultra-processed foods. This can simply be identified as not real food, often achieved through unnatural processing with added chemicals. This includes various keto products on the market. They are easily accessible, convenient, and offered in a variety of ways.
To optimize your metabolic health, a low-carbohydrate diet achieved through minimally processed food is the ideal approach. Accordingly, most of the human diet should come from whole, real, or natural foods; however, it is reasonable to assume products will be purchased from time to time. Should you purchase them? If so, how do you know which one to choose? Here are simple guidelines to help you choose both products with quality ingredients and low-carbohydrate content.
What do you look for when reading nutrition labels?
- Strive for whole and/or natural ingredients. Look for foods found in nature.
Excellent ingredients include nuts or seeds, healthy fats like avocado or olive oil, unsweetened butters, nut or seed milk, non-wheat flours like almond or coconut flour, and natural sweeteners like Monk Fruit or Stevia.
- The less ingredients the better.
- Know your ingredients. If you do not recognize it, do your research.
Determine if it sounds more like a chemical or a natural.
Avoid common food additives such as Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), sodium nitrates, sulfites, trans fat, and FD&C Yellow no.5 and no.6 food dyes.
What should you limit or avoid on your ingredient list?
- Excessive Starch– count your net carbohydrates.
Limiting carbohydrate intake reduces inflammation and insulin resistance.
Net carbs are the carbohydrates our body does not digest.
The desired net carbs per serving depends on your dietary goals.
Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber
- Refined oils and Refined Sugars
Highly processed oils and trans-fat, such as soybean oil and margarine, are linked to inflammation and disease.
Limit Sugars-including white, brown, or syrups. Avoid Fructose.
- Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar Alcohols. Many keto products misrepresent the net carb content when considering sugar alcohols. Be cautious- only subtract half of the sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates.
Can cause an insulin and/or blood glucose response or trigger cravings.
Avoid Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, and Acesulfame Potassium.
Limit sugar alcohols like Erythritol and Xylitol. Avoid Maltitol, Sorbitol and Isomalt.
- Wheat, Gluten, and Corn
Increases carbohydrate content and can cause inflammation, especially if you have an intolerance.
Contains isoflavones that have estrogenic properties and can disrupt normal bodily function.
Here are a few products we have researched that have both quality ingredients and minimal carb content:
- Base Culture 7 Nut and Seed Bread: 4g net carbs per serving
- Outer Aisle Cauliflower Sandwich Thins, Everything: 4g net carbs per serving
- Flackers Flax Seed Crackers, Sea Salt: 1g net carbs per serving
- Whisps Cheese Crisps, Parmesan: 1g net carbs per serving
- Miracle Noodle: 1g net carbs per serving
- Evolved Keto Cups, Coconut Butter: 1g net carbs per serving
- Natural and minimally processed ingredients- recognizable and found in nature
- No refined oils or sugars
- No artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols
- No wheat, gluten, corn, or soy
- Low carbohydrate content
Figure 1: Example of Quality Keto Ingredients
Base Culture 7 Nut and Seed Bread
There are a few ways to navigate the market when it comes to keto products. When looking at nutrition labels, a simpleand healthful approach is to aim for naturally derived ingredients that are recognizable, avoiding ultra-processed items. Most keto products are designed to be hyperpalatable and satiating, without regard to nutritive value. Many are full of highly processed ingredients like artificial preservatives, refined oils, excessive sugars, artificial sweeteners, and soy. These ingredients are undoubtedly counterintuitive to our metabolic health, capable of causing inflammation and several disease processes. As a consumer, we want you to feel confident and savvy when reviewing products. The quality of our food is equally important as the carbohydrate content. Human nutrition should be primarily obtained through whole foods; however, it is possible to occasionally consume delicious, nutritious items and navigate a keto or low-carb lifestyle.
Promotional Item: Outer Aisle Cauliflower Sandwich Thins
We are happy to share the following discount code for Outer Aisle Cauliflower Sandwich Thins! They are delicious, made with natural or naturally derived ingredients, and have only 2g net carbs per piece. They can be purchased online, the Outer Aisle app, or even in retail stores like Costco, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. They are a great alternative to traditional wraps for sandwiches and make great little pizza crusts too!
- Please enjoy 10% off your first online purchase with code customerlove10 (excludes subscription).
- You may also download the mobile app for a “BOGO” coupon as well.
Test Your Knowledge
1. What are 3 things you should aim for when purchasing keto and/or low-carb products?
Naturally derived ingredients. Less ingredients. Recognizable ingredients.
2. Name 3 things you should limit or even avoid when purchasing products?
Any 3 of the following: net carbohydrates, excessive starch, refined oils or sugars, artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, wheat, gluten, corn, and soy.
3. Give an example of a current keto product on the market that has both quality ingredients and minimal carbohydrate content.
Any of the following: Base Culture 7 Nut and Seed Bread, Outer Aisle Cauliflower Sandwich Thins, Flackers Flax Seed Crackers, Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps, Miracle Noodle, and Evolved Coconut Butter Keto Cups.
7 nut & seed bread. BaseCulture. (n.d.). Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://baseculture.com/products/7-nut-seed-bread.
Monteiro, C. A., Cannon, G., Levy, R. B., Moubarac, J.-C., Louzada, M. L. C., Rauber, F., Khandpur, N., Cediel, G., Neri, D., Martinez-Steele, E., Baraldi, L. G., & Jaime, P. C. (2019, February 12). Ultra-processed foods: What they are and how to identify them: Public health nutrition. Cambridge Core. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/ultraprocessed-foods-what-they-are-and-how-to-identify-them/E6D744D714B1FF09D5BCA3E74D53A185.
Oh, R. (2021, July 12). Low carbohydrate diet. StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537084/.
Straight talk about soy. The Nutrition Source. (2021, March 3). Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/soy/.
Team, H. and V. (2020, December 29). 5 food additives you should avoid. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-food-additives-you-should-avoid/.
Volek, J. S., Phinney, S. D., Kossoff, E., Eberstein, J., & Moore, J. (2011). The art and science of low carbohydrate living: An expert guide to making the life-saving benefits of carbohydrate restriction sustainable and enjoyable. Beyond Obesity.
What is a “dirty” Keto Diet vs a “clean” Keto diet? KETO. (2021, September 1). Retrieved October 31, 2021, from https://keto-mojo.com/article/what-is-dirty-clean-keto-diet/.