One of the things that many people find tough about beginning the Keto diet is the fact that carbs make up a large part of the average diet and it can be difficult to give these foods up. If you’re considering starting Keto or if you’re looking for a Keto-friendly way to enjoy a tortilla you might be wondering if low carb tortillas are an option on Keto. The short answer is yes. The following article will help you understand why low carb tortillas are allowed on Keto and what types of low carb tortillas are best for you and your diet.
A traditional diet and carbs
Traditional diets tend to be heavily weighted toward carbohydrates. Popular foods such as fries, pizza, bread, wraps and crackers are all loaded with carbs. This makes your body very happy in the short term because carbs are turned into glucose which is your body’s primary source of energy. Every time you eat a carb-rich meal it is quickly converted to glucose with any glucose that’s not used immediately is stored in your body as fat for a later date. This gives you a sugar high; however, it’s quickly followed by a sugar low as your body burns through the available glucose in only a few hours promoting it to send you hunger signals for more carbs.
The problem with this approach to dieting is that you don’t have a steady supply of energy. You suffer the highs and lows that come with carbs. Your body is also constantly telling you that you’re hungry and that you need more food. This can be a big problem for someone who’s trying to limit their calories in order to lose weight. The fat that’s stored by your body for a rainy day is also never used. It just sits there and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t burn that fat because your body is geared for survival and it stubbornly holds onto it so you don’t starve if there’s a famine or food shortage.
Keto and carbs
Keto’s approach to the ratio of macronutrients is radically different from a traditional diet. The purpose of Keto is to eliminate the sugar highs and lows, brain fog, difficulty burning stored fat and constant hunger that’s associated with a high carb diet. Keto does this by reducing the number of carbs you eat daily to 20g of net carbs for men and 25g of net carbs for women. The macronutrient ratio switches in favor of healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein and very few carbs.
When your body stops receiving a large supply of carbohydrates it’s forced to switch to its backup mode of creating energy. This process is called ketosis. The great thing about ketosis is that your body begins using up those stored fat cells in order to create ketones. This is part of the reason why the Keto diet is so high in healthy fats.
When your body begins burning its stored fat in the form of ketones you begin to lose weight. Because the majority of us have a large supply of stored fat available for energy the hunger signals that your body used to send you disappear as well. This can help you lose weight. In addition, you have more energy. Ketones are slow to create and slow to burn. It’s kind of like the difference between burning a pile of leaves and burning a wax candle. The flame on a wax candle will stay lit a lot longer than the flame on your pile of leaves. This means that you’re not going to have the highs and lows that are associated with carbs and glucose. Instead, you’ll have a steady supply of energy that you can turn to which often leads to weight loss because people who have more energy tend to move more.
The daily recommended limit of net carbs for a person on Keto is 20-25g. But what are net carbs? Your body doesn’t have the ability to turn every carbohydrate into glucose for fuel. Both sugar alcohols and fibre pass through your digestive tract without being absorbed by your body which means that they don’t have the ability to kick your body out of ketosis. It also means that they’re not counted towards your daily carb limit.
When you’re looking to figure out your net carbs you take the total number of carbs in a food item and you subtract the grams of fibre and sugar alcohols from this total. For example, if a given food item had 25g of total carbs listed along with 4g of fibre and 1g of sugar alcohols, this doesn’t mean that it has 25g of net carbs. Instead, you’d take the 25g and subtract the 4g of fibre and the 1g of sugar alcohol in order to get the 20g of net carbs that the food contains.
It’s important to pay close attention to your net carbs on Keto because if you go over the recommended amount you might give your body enough carbohydrates that it switches out of ketosis and begins burning glucose again.
Are low carb tortillas Keto?
The short answer is, yes, low carb tortillas can be Keto friendly. However, there’s a wide range of so-called “Keto-friendly” tortilla options and it’s important to know which ones are the real deal and which ones are processed Keto junk food. Clean Keto asks that you focus on whole foods that haven’t been processed and don’t contain any hidden sugar, chemicals or bad fats. In order to make Keto-friendly options, some brands load their products with ingredients that aren’t truly Keto friendly.
When looking at low carb tortillas you need to calculate the net carbs for yourself. Don’t trust the label on the front of the package that claims there’s less than one carb per tortilla because remember, carbs and net carbs are different. After you’ve calculated out the net carbs look at the other ingredients. If the label is full of ingredients that you don’t recognize (or that you can’t pronounce) then steer clear and go with another brand, or better yet, make some yourself.
Try to keep in mind your total carb count when you’re determining if a low carb tortilla will fit in. Even if there are less than 1g of net carbs in a tortilla, if you’re already maxed out on your net carb count with the rest of your daily meal plan then it’s best to skip the tortilla instead of risking throwing your body out of ketosis.
Store-bought low carb tortillas
In order to help you sort through the low carb claims, I’ve compiled a list of store-bought tortillas that are truly Keto friendly. All of these tortillas and wraps can work with your Keto diet if you plan your net carbs carefully. They’re made with a variety of healthy ingredients that often include healthy fats such as coconut or vegetables such as kale or cauliflower.
- NUCO Organic Coconut wraps-1g of net carbs per wrap
- Outer Isle Plant Power Sandwich Thins-1g of net carbs per wrap
- Joseph’s Lavash Bread-5g of net carbs/half a wrap
- Cali’flour Foods Flatbread-2g of net carbs per wrap
- Raw Wraps Kale Tacos-4g of net carbs per wrap
- Julian Bakery Paleo Thin Traditional Wraps-6g of net carbs per wrap
- Coco Nori Paleo Coconut Wraps-2g of net carbs per wrap
- Mama Lupe’s Low-Carb Fresh Tortillas-3g of net carbs per wrap
- New Gem Foods All Natural Wraps-4g of net carbs per wrap
Homemade low carb tortillas
If you’d rather use the ingredients that you have at home to make your own wrap, the recipes are simple and often use common Keto ingredients that you have in your own home. Making your own wraps allows you to enjoy freshly baked tortillas while benefiting from the security that comes with knowing exactly what ingredients went into the food you’re eating. A lot of recipes allow you to substitute ingredients so if you don’t have one, or you’d prefer not to use one it’s easy to swap it out for something that you do enjoy cooking with.
Google is full of keto-friendly tortilla recipes and although the ingredients differ slightly from recipe to recipe you can make pretty much any one you chose as long as you have a few common ingredients at home. Be sure that you’re stocked up on coconut flour, almond flour, apple cider vinegar, xanthan gum, egg whites, coconut milk, cream cheese, psyllium husk powder, flax meal, ground chia seeds and cheese.
Other options for low carb tortillas
If you’re looking for something a little different you can branch out into the world of vegetables. A large leaf of lettuce or cabbage can make a fresh alternative to a wrap that you can layer with cheese, meats and a few more vegetables. Cauliflower can be used to make a tortilla-like shell for tacos, burritos and even as the base for a keto-friendly pizza. Spinach can also be used to make tortillas with the addition of some keto-friendly flour and a few other ingredients and zucchini can make a great substitute for little sandwich wraps when you slice it with a vegetable peeler and roll it up with some cheese and meat.
There are a variety of low-carb tortilla options available. Between the store-bought tortillas, the homemade ones and the alternate vegetable options you’re bound to find one that fits your Keto meal plan and satisfies your cravings.