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
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