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A diet low in carbohydrates typically contains a variety of proteins such as meat, cheese, eggs, and leafy greens. These foods are low in starch and sugars, unlike grains, which contain many carbohydrates. Regular granola typically contains various kinds of grains, such as rolled oats and kernels of wheat, as well as sugars, including brown sugar and honey. Low-carb granola avoids these ingredients as much as possible. Other, lower carbohydrate foods are used instead.
There are a number of different recipes for low-carb granola, as well as various commercial versions that are available. A standard ingredient for many kinds of low-carb granola is soy. It is added to the granola in the form of textured vegetable protein, which provides bulk and crunch with a minimum of added carbohydrates. Soy itself is mostly protein and is relatively low in carbohydrates, so it makes a good addition to many kinds of low carb foods. Flax seed is often used as well, for similar reasons.
Nuts are another ingredient of many types of low-carb granola mixes. Since nuts are typically naturally high in both fiber and fats, they tend to be lower in carbohydrates than many other foods. This feature, combined with the fact that they provide plenty of flavor and a chewy texture, makes them a good choice for granola. Almost any kind of nuts will work; almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are often used. It is important to consider the ultimate carbohydrate count when adding nuts to any food, since the carbs can add up fast.
Many types of low-carb granola also contain some kind of a sweetener. Honey is a very high carb sweetener, but can be used in extremely limited amounts. Sucralose is a more popular choice, as are naturally sweet foods such as coconut and raisins, though these do have carbs that need to be carefully considered. One advantage of a food like low-carb granola is that the ingredients tend to be high in fiber, which has an impact on the overall carb count of the mix. When figuring out the number of carbohydrates in any food, the first step is to calculate the total number of carbs, subtracting the carbs that come directly from fiber.
This method works because this type of carbohydrate does not have a significant impact on blood sugar and insulin and can be usually be safely eaten by low carb dieters. Any carbs that come from sugar alcohols, typically the result of artificial sweeteners, can also be subtracted. This results in the total net carbs, or those that should be counted, for the low-carb granola.