Counting macros can be challenging, especially when you’re eating heaps of vegetables throughout the day. Considering that vegetables have a ton of fiber, do you count total carbohydrates? Or do you subtract the fiber and only count net carbs? Or do vegetables even count at all? The simple answer is yes you need to count vegetables in your macros.
“Most people, in general, don’t eat enough vegetables as it is, so some are better than none. All vegetables have macros, protein, fats, and carbs. However, some vegetables have more fiber than others. So, which does do you track, and which ones don’t you track? While it may seem confusing at first, it’s really quite simple”, says Founder and CEO of The Swole Kitchen Alexandria Best.
“Technically you want to track everything, because if something went into your mouth then it’s now part of your diet. The more honest you can be about what you eat the better results you’re going to get. Vegetables that have higher fiber content, do not count towards your daily carbohydrate intake. Vegetables that have lower fiber content or that are more starch-based, such as potatoes, and rice, do count towards your daily carbohydrate intake. A simple way to remember this is that green vegetables, whether they’re leafy or cruciferous do not count towards your daily carb total.”
Vegetables You Should Track In Your Macros
There are literally thousands of different varieties of vegetables, yet there are only a handful of vegetables commonly found in a western diet. Vegetables that are starchier in nature or have a lower content of fiber are the ones you should track. Those vegetables include
Vegetables You Should Track
Vegetables You Should Not Track
Starchier low fiber
Free Veggies more fiber
Salad Greens (arugula, spinach, kale, etc.)
Vegetables You Don’t Have To Track ‘Free Veggies’
Free veggies are vegetables that are rich in nutrients, high in fiber, and ones that you don’t necessarily have to track when you’re counting your macros. Fiber is unique. Your body does not absorb fiber and it passes straight through your gastrointestinal tract (GI). Since fiber passes straight through your GI you can’t really have a fiber deficiency, yet it can have a dramatic impact on overall health. That also means that vegetables high in fiber are not metabolized like other types of vegetables which raise your blood insulin levels and aid in body fat accumulation
RELATED ARTICLE How Much Fiber Do You Really Need?
What’s The Deal With Net Carbs?
This is where the term net carbs comes into play. Net carbs are simply the number of carbs found in a nutrition product or food that your body can fully absorb and use as energy.
NET CARBS = TOTAL CARBS – FIBER – SUGAR ALCOHOLS - (MALITOL/2)
Net carbs result when you subtract fiber and artificial sugar alcohols such as Maltitol, Erythritol, etc. which are only partially absorbed by the body from total carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols are commonly found in nutrition products such as protein bars and protein cookies.
The logic behind net carbs is that carbohydrates that do not spike blood sugar levels, should not contribute to overall carbohydrate intake. However, the problem is that there isn’t enough clinical research to support that the total carbs found in a food product won’t affect your body when you’re trying to enter ketosis or restrict your carbohydrate intake when you’re counting macros, or on a low-carb diet.
The fact of the matter is, the better you keep track of your macros, and actually count them, the better results you’re going to get.
“Counting macros are a great way to be aware of what you’re eating and, in the amount, you’re eating them so you can reach your physical and performance goals. The downside of tracking macros is that they can become restrictive, and people can become obsessive by just trying to hit the numbers, rather than focusing on the quality of the macros or foods they’re eating. The average person regardless of how active they are should consume 4-6 fist-size portions of vegetables per day”, says Best.
RELATED ARTICLE The Truth Behind Net Carbs Vs. Total Carbs: Which One Should You Be Tracking?
Should I Track Vegetables In My Macros? Takeaway
The simple answer is YES! You should be tracking your vegetables when you count your macros. Free veggies or not, by consistently tracking what you eat, you can better adjust your body composition and athletic performance goals. Keep in mind, veggies high in fiber don’t necessarily need to be tracked since they directly pass through your GI tract and do not spike blood glucose levels.
Having trouble meeting your body composition and performance goals? Have specific questions about your macros and how to get better results?
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