When it comes to calculating the net carbs, it is often a subject to confusion for many people initially but with practice comes ease. Basically, net carbs can be defined as the carbohydrates that are digested by our bodies and transformed into simpler sugars. On the other hand, total carbs comprise of fibers, sugars or indigestible starch.
Fiber is that carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the body and therefore, it does not get transformed into sugars so it is needed to deduct the amount of fiber from the total carbohydrates.
Types of Fibers:
Generally speaking, there are two types of fibers: Soluble fibers and the insoluble fibers.
- Soluble fiber, as the name suggests, can be dissolved in water. It rather assists in bringing down the cholesterol levels in the body and improves blood sugar levels as well.
- Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, cannot be dissolved in water. The significance of this type lies in the fact that they help uniformity by improving motility and helping the food move effectively through your digestive tract, thus preventing constipation.
The carbs that can be digested by the body (net carbs), in excess, obstruct ketosis and may even bring any weight-loss efforts to no avail.
To Calculate the Net Carbs for Most of the Natural Foods:
As it has been mentioned formerly, in order to calculate the net carbs, the amount of fiber needs to be deducted from the total carbohydrates content in your body at a time on the nutrition label as follows:
Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber
There exist many smart companies that have already started to add up a net carbs line on the nutrition label. This makes it far easier than otherwise. Though what is still needed is that one needs to stay rather attentive and alert about the nutrition label since this is a quite confusing concept. There are various nutrition labels. Some kinds show a total carbs value, whereas the others show a net carbs value, depending on the country that one resides in, the different companies, as well as the site of production of a certain kind of a food. For instance, in countries like, Europe and Australia, the content of fiber in a food item is typically deducted from the total carbs so that no calculation is required from your side. In the nutrition label, the carbohydrate amount actually corresponds to the value of net carbs.
However, as far as countries like the US and Canada, the majority of the companies show total carbs with the amount of fiber included in it. In this case, it one becomes obliged to subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbs to get the value for net carbs.
Note: To make life simpler for yourself and make this quicker, you may also keep in mind that if subtracting the fiber from the total carbs gives you a value that is less than zero, which makes it a negative value, called “negative net carbs”, you may deduce from this negative value that the fiber has already been deducted from the total carbs so the value is actually the value of net carbs.
So just for the gist of all that has been mentioned formerly, you need to keep in mind that it is important for you to read the label cautiously. This depends on different factors and may be different according to the country that you reside in, the type of manufacturers, whether they are local or international ones, or whether the products have been imported or are produced locally. In case of any doubts, you need to check thoroughly with other nutrition labels or survey and have your own research on it.
To Calculate Net Carbs of Foods with Sugar Alcohols
To begin with, one may ask what sugar alcohols are. These are actually neither sugars nor alcoholic beverages. People do not become drunk on consuming sugar alcohols. They can be defined in proper terms as organic compounds that are found naturally in vegetables, fruits as well as many “sugar-free” or “sugarless” products. The examples of a few popularly known sugar alcohols comprise of mannitol, erythritol, sorbitol, isomalt, lactitol, xylitol, and maltitol, though among these, the most common keto-approved sugar alcohol is erythritol which is used in low carb recipes.
The sugar alcohols are not easily digested by our bodies and therefore, the excessive uptake of sugar alcohols may result in increasing problems for the digestive tract, for example, cramping, gas, and diarrhea. As compared to the regular, standard sugars that are in most foods, sugar alcohols do not affect the sugar levels a lot. This makes it one of the reasons as to why it is suggested by the experts to deduct the number of sugar alcohols entirely from the total carbs so as to get a value for net carbs. Following is the most suitable formula for most people:
Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols.
But for some people, sugar alcohols may sometimes alter the blood sugar levels because they still are a type of carbohydrate.
There are many people who follow a ketogenic diet and if they wish to play it safe, they must count just half the amount of sugar alcohol as carbohydrate. This would thus result in the following formula for calculating net carbs in such people:
Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber – 1/2 Sugar Alcohols
To wrap up this article, it would be fair to say that the concept of calculating net carbs is actually quite confusing for a beginner. But what makes it a whole lot easier is that you always keep in mind the 3 basic things as enumerated:
- Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber
- The nutrition labels must be read off very cautiously and when there are doubts, proper research must be first conducted.
- The consumption of sugar alcohols must be minimum.