What Does The Term "Net Carbs" Mean?

As a low carb dieter, you have probably been bombarded with all sorts of new food terminology. One of the phrases youíve probably heard time and time again is "net carbs." Net carbs is the new term food producers are using to describe the amount of carbohydrates in food that have a significant impact on blood sugar levels.



Food producers use a relatively simple formula to determine net carbs. They take the total amount of carbohydrates and then subtract the amount of carbohydrates that have a "negligible" effect on blood sugar.

For instance, letís say a food producer makes a candy bar that contains 20 grams of carbohydrates. Two grams of those carbohydrates are in the form of fiber. Fifteen grams are in the form of various sugar alcohols. That makes a total of 17 grams of carbohydrates that have a "negligible" effect on blood sugar. Subtract 17 from 20 and you have your total amount of "net carbs"--three.

While the advent of "net carb" labels may seem like a godsend as a low carb dieter, it is important to realize that these labels are somewhat deceptive.

To begin with, different types of "negligible" carbohydrates have different effects on blood sugar levels.

Whereas fiber may have a truly negligible effect on blood sugar levels, sugar alcohols are an entirely different story.

According to experts, sugar alcohols affect blood sugar levels at a slower and less complete rate than normal sugars do-- and also in a different manner from person to person. Some diabetics claim that they feel an immediate sugar rush after consuming small amounts of sugar alcohol while others report no change whatsoever.

Whatever the case is for you, it is probably better to ignore the "net carb" labels on products--and instead go straight to the nutritional information panel. Figure out exactly why the product is "low carb."

If there are no sugar alcohols, you can eat the product without thinking twice; if the product has a significant amount of sugar alcohol, you should either skip it entirely or count each gram of the sugar alcohol as 1/4 to 1/3 of a gram of carbohydrates. If you follow this approach to assessing "net carbs," you will avoid unnecessary cravings and seemingly inexplicable weight-loss stalls.



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