When counting carbs...

When counting carbs to hit your macro target, do you count carbs or net carbs?


  • Cp731
    Cp731 Posts: 3,195 Member
    Depends on the food.

    There are three types of carbohydrates: starches, sugars and fiber. All three types of carbs are added up and listed as Total Carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts Label of a food product.

    The concept of net carbs is based on the fact that, although it is considered a carbohydrate, dietary fiber is not digested the same way the other two types of carbohydrates (starches and sugars) are. While starches and sugars are broken down into glucose (blood sugar), fiber isn't treated the same way. The fiber you eat passes through the body undigested and helps add bulk to your stool (among other benefits). The indigestibility of fiber is where the idea of "net carbs" comes in. In fact, sometimes, net carbs are sometimes referred to as "digestible carbs.''
    While the concept of net carbs can be utilized in diabetes meal planning, read labels with a discerning eye. At present there are no mandated rules for calculating or labeling net carbs on food packages. The FDA does not regulate or oversee the use of these terms, and exactly what is listed as "net carbs" can vary dramatically from product to product. Some products calculate net carbs as total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber, other labels reflect net carbs as total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber minus sugar alcohols, and still others calculate net carbs as total carbohydrates, minus dietary fiber minus sugar alcohols minus grams of protein.

    Here's how a person with diabetes can count net carbs safely and effectively: The food in question must contain at least 5 grams of dietary fiber in the serving size you are planning to eat.
    Read the Nutrition Facts label or look up the nutrition facts of the food to find both the total carbohydrates and total fiber for the serving size you plan to eat.
    Subtract HALF the total grams of fiber from the total grams of carbohydrates to calculate the net carbs in your food serving.
    Always perform this calculation yourself and do not rely on "net carb" totals listed on any food label.
    Take the following example (see food label, left):

    This product has 5 grams of dietary fiber, which means you can subtract half that amount (2.5 grams) from the total carbohydrate (23 grams) to calculate net carbs, which equals 20.5 grams per serving.

    The whole point of counting net carbs versus total carbs is to allow someone to eat more of a carbohydrate-containing food without adversely affecting their blood sugar levels.
  • d_Mode
    d_Mode Posts: 880 Member
    I only count carbs...but I'm a type 2 diabetic.
  • ahmadfahmy
    ahmadfahmy Posts: 214 Member
    When counting carbs to hit your macro target, do you count carbs or net carbs?

    only to hit macros..i dont see the point otherwise unless its for some health condition
  • jacksonpt
    jacksonpt Posts: 10,413 Member
    Carbs. What the hell is a net carb? Somehow only certain carbs have calories???
  • My wife has had diabetes for 19 years with many trips to different doctors. Only to get different advice from different doctors. So, how does a diabetic count carbs? For more information go to: http://ezinearticles.com/?How-Does-a-Diabetic-Count-Carbs&id=7987500
  • LolBroScience
    LolBroScience Posts: 4,537 Member
    Carbs. Fiber still has calories.
  • yarwell
    yarwell Posts: 10,478 Member
    Carbohydrates, in the UK (and probably EU) we measure it differently and analyse separately for carbohydrate and fibre, whereas in the US your "carbohydrates" number is actually dry ash free weight minus protein minus fat ie not specifically analysed.

    So I just look at the label and "ta da" I see the carbohydrate content without it including the fibre.

    Makes transatlantic comparisons challenging though.