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Thread: Net Carbs, Added Sugar and Label Reading

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 09, 2003

    Default Net Carbs, Added Sugar and Label Reading


    Net carbs represent the carbs that affect your blood sugar and are therefore counted. They are calculated thusly:

    NET Carbs = Total Carbs - Fiber grams- (sugar alcohols*)

    Fiber is a type of carbohydrate (see Ch. 8 DANDR 2002 for a complete explanation of fiber) which has little effect on blood sugar, so it is subtracted from the Total carb amount.

    Sugar alcohols, or polyols, are a controversial topic in low carbing. They are artificial sweeteners that mimic the baking qualities of sugar. They supposedly have little effect on the blood sugar too, which leads some low carb product manufacturers to subtract these substances from the Total carbs. However, some low carbers experience weight loss stalls or slow downs when using these products. Not to mention sugar alcohols are notorious for causing diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and gassy discomfort.

    Due to the effects on weight loss, some low carbers will either subtract
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Net Carbs, Added Sugar, Labels

    As not2late wrote above, The carbohydrates listed on European and most international labels are net carbs, not total carbs. This means that dietary fibre was already deducted and the carbohydrates on the label are net carbs.

    For an example, let's look at the carbohydrates in NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Latte Macchiato: (click on the "Ingredients" link to view the nutrition label)

    100 grams of powder contain 46.9 grams of carbohydrate (out of which 44.3 grams are sugar) and 3.2 grams of fibre. The net carbs, i.e. the carbs those of us who follow Atkins should count, are the 46.9 grams, NOT 43.7 grams (46.9 minus 3.2).

    Below is another example for our members in the UK. Spinach and ricotta pizza from Sainsbury's.

    In 100 grams, this pizza has 28.7 grams of carbohydrate and 2.3 grams of fibre, which means that those of us who do Atkins should count 28.7 net carbs if eating 100 grams of it.

    A problem following from this different labelling style appears when someone uses tools like FitDay to track their meals. FitDay and most other online tools list foods in the way they are labelled in the US (where fibre is included in the carbohydrate count) and therefore expects you to do the same when entering a custom food.

    Let's say you want to add the pizza above to your custom foods list in FitDay. To do this, first click on the "Create a Custom Food" option appearing in the left sidebar. You will then be asked to fill in a form with several entries. For the pizza, what you would have to enter if you want to use the 100 grams serving size is (leave unknown info set to zero):

    Name: Sainsbury's Spinach and Ricotta Pizza (100 g)
    Amount: 1 serving

    Nutrition Facts
    Amount Per Serving

    Calories: 238
    Fat: 9.6 g

    Saturated Fat: 3.7 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g
    Monounsaturated Fat: 4.0 g
    Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
    Sodium: 400 mg
    Potassium: 0.0 mg
    Carbohydrate: 31.0 g

    Dietary Fiber: 2.3 g
    Protein: 9.3 g
    Alcohol: 0.0 g

    On some European labels, fibre is not listed at all. For example (from a German food label):

    In this case, you don't know the total carbohydrate content of the food in question, only its net carbs. If you wanted to add this food in FitDay as a custom entry, the way you would have to do it is by entering the carbohydrates (Kohlenhydrate) on the label as total carbohydrates (in the "Carbohydrate" field) and setting fibre to zero (in the "Dietary Fiber" field).
    Last edited by Elizellen; November 19th, 2013 at 08:50 AM. Reason: To fix broken links
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