Net Carbs

What are NET CARBS?

plus-161829_960_720Actually, first, what are carbohydrates or “carbs”?  In short, they are the sugar, starches and fiber found in foods, both natural and created.

Some foods, mostly sugar, potatoes and rices have a lot of carbs. Some foods don’t even have carbs, like meats, cheeses and pork rinds.

Carbs are a pretty important source of energy for your body.  It is important to balance these carbs out for your body to function optimally.  I know that I had such an imbalance of carbs for so long that I am now suffering from it in the form of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Don’t let that happen to you!  Or if it already has, come along on the ride with me here!

NET CARBS are the Total Carbohydrates MINUS the Dietary Fiber and the Sugar alcohols.

The Nutrition Facts will usually list Total Carbohydrates with subcategories of Dietary Fiber (sometimes dividing them into soluble and insoluble fiber), Sugars and sometimes Sugar Alcohols or Sugar Alc.

For example:

  • A cup of fresh broccoli florets contains 5.0 grams of total carbs and 2.0 grams of fiber.  5.0 grams of total carbs – 2.0 grams of fiber = 3.0 NET CARBS.
  • Olé’s Extreme Wellness Spinach and Herbs Tortilla Wraps contains 16.0 grams of total carbs and 11.0 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble). 16.0 grams of total carbs – 11.0 grams of fiber = 5.0 grams of NET CARBS.
Not everything has sugar alcohols, but when they do, you get to count them.  You DO NOT get to count “sugars”… only “sugar alcohols” or “sugar alc”!  So be careful about that!
  • Atkins Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch Bar contains 17.0 grams of total carbs, 8.0 grams of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble), 2.0 grams of sugar and 6.0 grams of sugar alcohols. 17.0 grams of total carbs – 8.0 grams of fiber – 6.0 grams of sugar alcohols = 3.0 grams of NET CARBS.  Notice the sugars were not counted.  (And by the way, these bars are delicious.  I thought they were going to taste terrible like the old diet bars in the 1990’s… the last time I tried a commercial “diet” concoction… but it didn’t!  It is now my go to dessert bar/sweet/movie candy.)
Some will say you only get to count half the sugar alcohols over 5 grams, but I am following Atkin’s lead on counting all sugar alcohols.
Carb Apps are helpful when you are mathematically challenged, you find all this confusing or you are just being lazy.  (We all have our moments.)  Try out some of these apps for your phone:

  • Atkins Carb Tracker
  • Atkins Dine Out
  • Carb Calculator
  • Carb Manager

I found that I use one or all of these carb apps EVERY day!


Or the ultimate app for those without a phone, a smart phone or who hate using their phones… a carb counter book would come in handy. You can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other book sellers and get books like:

There are more.
So hopefully this gets you on your way to checking Nutrition Fact labels and getting your true Net Carb counts!
I never thought I’d be one of those women or men that looks at the label of everything they pick up in the grocery, but I now do it and am an advocate.  DO IT!  Then you will get used to it and feel more comfortable with your Net Carb counts.


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