We all have heard about Net and Effective Carbs. But what are they and what is all the fuss about?

The concept of net carbs is based on the principle that not all carbohydrates affect the body in the same manner.

When digested, most carbohydrate turns into glucose, hence the name – digestible carbohydrate. Your body also digests some “sneaky” carbs, but they refuse to turn into glucose (glycerin is one example). The real “rebels” (fiber) put out a good fight and are not digested at all.

These non-metabolized and non-digestible carbohydrates, often referred as “Net”, “Effective” or “Digestive”  carb, but it is all the same thing.

Some carbohydrates, like simple or refined starches and sugars, are absorbed rapidly and have a high glycemic index, meaning they cause blood sugar levels to quickly rise after eating. Excess simple carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat. Examples of these include potatoes, white bread, white rice, and sweets.

Other carbohydrates, such as the fiber found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, move slowly through the digestive system, and much of it isn’t digested at all (insoluble fiber)

Also in this category of largely indigestible carbohydrates are sugar alcohols, such as mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other polyols, which are modified alcohol molecules that resemble sugar. These substances are commonly used as artificial sweeteners.

In calculating net carbs, take the total number of carbohydrates a product contains and subtract fiber and sugar alcohols because these types of carbohydrates are thought to have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

For example a Russell Stover Milk Chocolate bar has per serving 23g of carbs, 2g of fiber and 19g of Sugar alcohol, so you take total carbs-fiber-sugar alcohols an get your net carb total, which is 2g of digestable carbs.

Some people who follow a low carb diet do not use net carbs but count all carbs fully with no subtracting.  Do you count net carbs or not?


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