Carb counting: Net or Total

By SunnyMoon Latest Reply 2008-09-30 04:02:13 -0500
Started 2008-09-29 06:19:21 -0500

I've seen products boasting low "net" carbs, which is where they subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of carbs. How do you count? "NET" carbs or total carbs. Has anyone noticed a difference in sugar levels couting either way?

2 replies

kdroberts 2008-09-30 04:02:13 -0500 Report

It's a complicated issue and is entirely the fault of the FDA. For some reason they set up the food label so fiber is counted as part of the carbohydrate. Most other countries in the world don't do this, they have carb and fiber separated. They also have a rather odd way of counting carbs which is partially done by subtraction rather that actual measuring. This means that for the same item, the carb content on the nutritional label will most likely be different in the US and say, the UK. The higher fiber something is, the more different the carb content is.

The rationale about net carbs is that fiber acts very differently to other carb when it's digested and really doesn't effect blood sugar. I've seen many different ways of calculating net carbs. If the fiber is more than 5g subtract it from the carb, if it's more than 5g subtract half the amount of it from the total carb, subtract the entire amount of fiber from the carb. Personally I just take what's listed as carb and use that. I figure that's the highest number of carb there could be in whatever I'm eating and I'd rather overestimate the carbs I'm eating than underestimate.

The only way it will get less complicated is if the US nutritional labeling regulations are overhauled. That would be a good thing in general since there are many problems with them. Ever notice how the listing for saturated fat and the listing for unsaturated fat on a label doesn't always add up to the total fat or how you only see whole numbers or .5? Did you know that the regulations allow something to be labeled as fat free that actually contains fat, sometimes in quite large amounts?

Becca66 2008-09-29 16:57:43 -0500 Report

you should count total carbs. should be written in bold letters. not the net because they break down the things in the carbs. go with the total carbs.

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