Do I eat low carb?

I’ve read that one of the advantages of intermittent fasting is that you end up eating fewer calories during the course of your day. In my experience, however, I’m not so sure.

When I break my fast each day, after 18 or 24 hours, I am famished. I work my way through huge plates of food, often with gusto and noises that startle those around me.

Our ancestors would have eaten the same way. You finally caught the wild animal, now it’s time to gorge yourself.

Nevertheless, given the large portion sizes (realistic portion sizes) that I enjoy, I wonder whether I am truly low carb.

By way of reference, here’s what I’d consider the spectrum of low carb:

  • 20g or less per day – Extreme hardcore. You are in ketosis.
  • 50g or less per day – You plan your lifestyle around healthy eating.
  • 100g or less per day – You can say fairly that you eat low carb, especially in comparison to the standard American diet, which can easily contain 250g or more of carbs in a day.

When writing this post, I learned something important about fermented dairy (cheese, yogurt). Cheese has far few carbs than yogurt because of how these foods are made.

Both yogurt and cheese are made by adding bacteria or “starter cultures” to milk. This fermentation process converts lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, which is not a carbohydrate. 

  • In yogurt, the fermentation process is stalled well before all the lactose has been converted into lactic acid so that the bacteria do not continue to ferment the milk after packaging.
  • In cheese, the fermenting process is allowed to continue for several months, and as a result, the lactose virtually disappears. In addition, during the cheese-making process, the milk solids (which become the cheese) must be separated from the whey, which is high in lactose.

In any event, here are the amounts of net carbs I’m consuming at a meal with any one of these side dishes:

Cheese: Eight slices of cheddar cheese – 3g


  • Stonyfield Organic 100% Grassfed Plain Greek (half of the 24 oz container) – 14g
  • Icelandic Provisions Plain Skyr (half of the 24 oz container) – 18g

Avocados – I make a great guacamole using four avocados, sea salt, olive oil, apple cider vinegar –  16g

Dark chocolate – A realistic serving size is 1 bar of 85% or more dark chocolate – approximately 18g (depending upon the size of the bar)

Cauliflower crust pizza – 4 slices (1/2) pizza is – 31g

Pint of blueberries – one pint = 2 cups, each cup has 18g net carbs – 36g

Sweet potato – One medium sweet potato has 20g net carbs. When I cut and bake them as sweet potato fries (butter, sea salt, 425 degrees for 90 minutes), I probably eat the equivalent of two potatoes – 40g

Cashews – A realistic serving size is half the bag, or 8 servings – 72g

Looks like it’s time for me to up my cheese intake, and stop buying nuts. Add cashews to the list of things you can’t stop eating at just one, or 10.

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