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Fiber calories

lmf1012lmf1012 Member Posts: 392 Member Member Posts: 392 Member
So, in doing some basic math on macro to calories, it appears a lot of foods do not count the fiber grams into their calculation of calories. Now, for me, at around 25-30 fiber grams per day, that is roughly 100-120 not being factored into the daily calorie budget. That may not be a lot when you have a lot to lose and a larger deficit to work with, but as we get closer to our goals and precision counts more, it could be impactful.

I have read that non-soluble fiber is not absorbed by the body, hence not calculating the calories. But it seems most of the foods I have used in my diary, to not differentiate between soluble and non-soluble.

My question is... does anyone account for the under calculated calories in their goal or diaries somehow? I would certainly rather overestimate my calorie intake than underestimate.
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Replies

  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,352 Member Member Posts: 24,352 Member
    lmf1012 wrote: »
    So, in doing some basic math on macro to calories, it appears a lot of foods do not count the fiber grams into their calculation of calories. Now, for me, at around 25-30 fiber grams per day, that is roughly 100-120 not being factored into the daily calorie budget. That may not be a lot when you have a lot to lose and a larger deficit to work with, but as we get closer to our goals and precision counts more, it could be impactful.

    I have read that non-soluble fiber is not absorbed by the body, hence not calculating the calories. But it seems most of the foods I have used in my diary, to not differentiate between soluble and non-soluble.

    My question is... does anyone account for the under calculated calories in their goal or diaries somehow? I would certainly rather overestimate my calorie intake than underestimate.

    I see that you are in the US. While some countries outside the US handle fiber differently, the entries that come from US food labels will all have total calories, as do the entries for foods that MFP pulled from the USDA database. (There may be some issues with rounding that do not make the numbers match 100%.)

    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov

    Unfortunately, the green check marks in the MFP database are used for both USER-created entries and ADMIN-created entries that MFP pulled from the USDA database. A green check mark for USER-created entries just means enough people have upvoted the entry - it is not necessarily correct.

    To find ADMIN entries for whole foods, I get the syntax from the USDA database and paste that into MFP.

    The USDA changed the platform for their database in 2019 and it is unfortunately a little more difficult to use. I use the “SR Legacy” tab - that seems to be what MFP used to pull in entries.
  • rosebarnalicerosebarnalice Member Posts: 3,300 Member Member Posts: 3,300 Member
    Similar to @kshama2001, when I search for produce and other fresh foods, I add the term "USDA" to the searg (e.g., green beans USDA, spinach raw USDA, etc . .) and that USUALLY brings up at least one option of an admin entry imported directly from the USDA site.

    I average 40 - 50 g of fiber a day, and don't account for it any other way.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,892 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,892 Member
    lmf1012 wrote: »
    So, in doing some basic math on macro to calories, it appears a lot of foods do not count the fiber grams into their calculation of calories. Now, for me, at around 25-30 fiber grams per day, that is roughly 100-120 not being factored into the daily calorie budget. That may not be a lot when you have a lot to lose and a larger deficit to work with, but as we get closer to our goals and precision counts more, it could be impactful.

    I have read that non-soluble fiber is not absorbed by the body, hence not calculating the calories. But it seems most of the foods I have used in my diary, to not differentiate between soluble and non-soluble.

    My question is... does anyone account for the under calculated calories in their goal or diaries somehow? I would certainly rather overestimate my calorie intake than underestimate.

    I mostly use US food entries, but occasionally use ones from other countries if they look more accurate overall. I eat 40-50g+ of fiber most days. I've never done anything special to adjust fiber calories. After figuring out experientially how much my base calories deviated from MFP's estimates, my weight loss rate was what I expected based on my intake.

    I don't think it's a big factor, personally.

    Just a P.S. so you don't assume that "my base calories deviated from MFP's estimates" means I had to eat less than MFP thought, to lose weight, maybe because of the "extra" fiber calories: Nope. I lost too fast at first when I test-drove MFP's estimates - its estimate of my needs was way too low. That's rare, but it can happen. I don't think, in my case, that the reason has anything to do with the fact that I have high fiber intake, but I can't prove it. There's some indication that higher fiber (less refined) foods may have a higher TEF, i.e., that those foods are more biochemically complicated to break down, so the body spends a little more energy to do it. (There's some tiny preliminary research suggesting non-definitively that that might maybe just possibly perhaps be the case. 😉 But I wouldn't count on that, either.)

    Honestly, we could drive ourselves mad thinking about all these small differences accountable to food choices . . . I think it's majoring in the minors, pretty much averages out to "close enough". Just my opinion, though. 🤷‍♀️
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 2,481 Member Member Posts: 2,481 Member
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.
    edited June 7
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,892 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,892 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.
    Lietchi wrote: »
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.

    I would hope they'd count alcohol as a pseudo-macro if they were estimating "based on macros". It has about 7 calories per gram.
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 2,481 Member Member Posts: 2,481 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Lietchi wrote: »
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.
    Lietchi wrote: »
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.

    I would hope they'd count alcohol as a pseudo-macro if they were estimating "based on macros". It has about 7 calories per gram.

    Alcohol isn't part of most nutritional labels though (at least not here), so they'd need to base the calories on more than the macros stated on the label, that's what I was thinking of.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,892 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,892 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Lietchi wrote: »
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.
    Lietchi wrote: »
    As far as I know, fiber has 0 or 2 kcal per gram depending on insoluble or soluble.

    I just checked an entry for endives (from a Belgian supermarket) and the fiber is included in the calorie count. But my banana entry doesn't seem to include it. Perhaps it depends on how they do their calorie estimates: based on the macros or through actual caloric measurement?
    I would hope that would do actual measurements, otherwise alcoholic drinks would calories missing, since alcohol isn't a 'real' macro.

    I would hope they'd count alcohol as a pseudo-macro if they were estimating "based on macros". It has about 7 calories per gram.

    Alcohol isn't part of most nutritional labels though (at least not here), so they'd need to base the calories on more than the macros stated on the label, that's what I was thinking of.

    I suppose that's true. About the only "food" I have the contains alcohol is vanilla extract, and it isn't even labeled with calories. Most of the alcohol-containing things I consume list a proof, ABV, or alcohol %, so estimating the alcohol part of the calories is the easy part. 😉

    In the US, I don't think the manufacturer would be permitted to ignore alcohol calories in a "food", if it put them outside the accuracy tolerances for labeling . . . though I don't know for sure. They do know how much alcohol is in the product, even if they don't tell us.
  • chris89topherchris89topher Member, Premium Posts: 313 Member Member, Premium Posts: 313 Member
    This post brings up a thought about the bread that I eat a lot of.

    https://extraordinarybites.com/

    It's keto bread where it subtracts fiber from the carbs to get "net carb", and I guess that's how they get 30 calories per slice. I'm not keto but really like this bread. Since I have read above and elsewhere that calories are calculated based on the "4-4-9 method", is this bread truly only 30 calories per slice or is it really much higher and they're fibbing? When they advertise these products, are we eating much more calories than is on the label or is the label calorie count correct?
    edited June 8
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 764 Member Member Posts: 764 Member
    This post brings up a thought about the bread that I eat a lot of.

    https://extraordinarybites.com/

    It's keto bread where it subtracts fiber from the carbs to get "net carb", and I guess that's how they get 30 calories per slice. I'm not keto but really like this bread. Since I have read above and elsewhere that calories are calculated based on the "4-4-9 method", is this bread truly only 30 calories per slice or is it really much higher and they're fibbing? When they advertise these products, are we eating much more calories than is on the label or is the label calorie count correct?

    So I've never done keto or low-carb, but I think when it's a certain type of carb (like fiber instead of sugar) it subtracts the fiber from the total carb count? I think the calorie count would still be the same.

    I just always assumed fiber was a subcount of the total carb count, which is included in the calculation when counting the total number of calories. In any case, I never gave it a second thought. Of course, I'm one of those who rarely measures (here and then just to check myself) and almost never weighs her food and have still managed to get to a BMI of 20.2 and maintain...
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Member Posts: 10,247 Member Member Posts: 10,247 Member
    Curious: are calories on labels calculated based on macros or are they measured independently? I've seen more than one case of calories deviating from macros a little bit and I always assumed it was rounding errors + fiber.

    For what it's worth, I average 45-50 grams of fiber a day and I use all kinds of labels and entries with all kinds of different formats and calculations. I lost weight (and currently maintaining it) just fine. If you're consistently wrong by a consistent average of calories, you'll be fine. It's easy to calculate the deviation. You will probably want to re-evaluate your calories at some point and adjust anyway if you're losing too fast/too slow.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,442 Member Member Posts: 7,442 Member
    Calories never add up based on macros. I assume they may be measured independently, but fiber is also not allotted 4 cals per gram for sure if you look at the USDA site or labels.
  • GlenG1969GlenG1969 Member Posts: 31 Member Member Posts: 31 Member
    Personally I wouldn't worry about it too much. As already mentioned non soluble fibre isnt broken down in the digestive system, so zero calories. Soluble is broken down however only releases a few calories in the process. Calorie counting is never going to be exact, cooking methods change the calorie content of food and labels on goods are only about 80% accurate. Good luck.
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 895 Member Member Posts: 895 Member
    Well that is annoying - it never occurred to me that those calories wouldn't be already included in the total.

    I also am a little confused by the answers to just not worry about it, since generally the answer to calorie deficit questions is to carefully weigh and measure all foods.
  • amusedmonkeyamusedmonkey Member Posts: 10,247 Member Member Posts: 10,247 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    Well that is annoying - it never occurred to me that those calories wouldn't be already included in the total.

    I also am a little confused by the answers to just not worry about it, since generally the answer to calorie deficit questions is to carefully weigh and measure all foods.

    According to @lemurcat2, they are. Calories are measured independently.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Member Posts: 8,472 Member Member Posts: 8,472 Member
    My observation is that fiber that should be counted as calories isn't always counted. And that the majority of products would under count (surprisingly a very few appear to do the opposite for no discernible reason)

    I drink negligible alcohol on a yearly basis, so in my (progress accuracy double check) calculations I've often used macros multiplied + 50% fiber as carbs as compared to straight mfp caloric values
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 895 Member Member Posts: 895 Member
    33gail33 wrote: »
    Well that is annoying - it never occurred to me that those calories wouldn't be already included in the total.

    I also am a little confused by the answers to just not worry about it, since generally the answer to calorie deficit questions is to carefully weigh and measure all foods.

    According to @lemurcat2, they are. Calories are measured independently.

    I added a couple of mine up and they don't seem to be included. Maybe it depends on the entry.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 19,044 Member Member Posts: 19,044 Member
    Curious: are calories on labels calculated based on macros or are they measured independently? I've seen more than one case of calories deviating from macros a little bit and I always assumed it was rounding errors + fiber.

    For what it's worth, I average 45-50 grams of fiber a day and I use all kinds of labels and entries with all kinds of different formats and calculations. I lost weight (and currently maintaining it) just fine. If you're consistently wrong by a consistent average of calories, you'll be fine. It's easy to calculate the deviation. You will probably want to re-evaluate your calories at some point and adjust anyway if you're losing too fast/too slow.

    Few years ago when I read through the rules, 2 basic methods for US.

    Get your food tested and burned and there's your calories and other items.

    Or build your food from already tested foods and their counts.

    Both methods mean fiber counts towards calories because they do burn, but in reality your body won't absorb some and some calories really don't count.

    Not sure how other countries do it, likely just back out some fiber from the calories for the label.
  • chris89topherchris89topher Member, Premium Posts: 313 Member Member, Premium Posts: 313 Member
    Not to hijack this thread, but I'm still confused. So if the package on my bread says 30 calories, the carbs are 13 and fiber is 12, which then they advertise as 1 net carb. Is that 30 calories accurate or is it actually higher?? One slice is no big deal yes, but if I eat, say, 6 (don't judge! Lol) it would definitely make a difference. Thoughts?
    edited June 8
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