carbs vs net carbs

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carbs vs net carbs

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Old 12-05-2013, 16:11   #1
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Default carbs vs net carbs

could someone please explain the difference between carbs and net carbs? how one arrives at the net carb number, and which is more important when considering what impact it may have on blood sugar? carbs or net carbs?


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Old 12-05-2013, 16:16   #2
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Total carbs minus fiber = net carbs.

Some people do well using net carbs; I like to err on the safe side, so I use total carbs.

Just because the food industry says I can't digest all this fiber, doesn't seem to mean that my body won't give it the old college try.

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Old 12-05-2013, 16:16   #3
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Net carbs are (I think) another marketing game.

You have total carbs. A proportion of these are fibre - non absorbed (by some), so they are deducted from "total carbs" to give you "net carbs".

I totally ignore them in my calculations and rely on my meter to give me some good news when the fibre really does pass straight through.

Atkins uses the concept in their dietary advice but that was developed before the marketing boys spotted another way to generate a lower carbohydrate product. But bear in mind - I'm a nasty cynic with the marketing boys.

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Old 12-05-2013, 17:29   #4
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thank you!

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Old 12-05-2013, 22:04   #5
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I just go by total carbs as I have found on many occasions that a product purporting to have low net carbs will spike my readings


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Old 12-06-2013, 04:20   #6
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I think this depends more on the individual rather than any convention.

For example. When I was using insulin, I could subtract fiber from the listed total carbs for my bolus doses. Now that I'm not taking any medication I have to account for all carbs to achieve the same level of control.

We each just have to determine our own responses and go from there.

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Old 12-06-2013, 04:49   #7
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I use very few manufactured/packaged items. So far after 2 years, I have been fine subtracting the fiber from the items I eat. I end up around 20 net carbs a day,so maybe 30 or a bit more carbs. Either way my numbers are stabilized and consistent.


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Old 12-06-2013, 07:48   #8
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Not everything subtracted from total carbs is the same. Actual fiber is regarded as indigestible. That includes soluble and insoluble. It moves right through the small intestine unchanged until it gets to the colon. There, we still don't digest it, but resident bacteria eat it in a process like fermentation. This happens many hours after eating (3 - 24) at times when very few of us ever test.

The colon is anaerobic (no-oxygen) and production of glucose from anything is chemically impossible. The fermentation of fiber (and some starches which for one reason or another failed to get digested higher up) produces gas and short-chain-fatty acids. Much of the SCFAs are utilized by cells in the colon wall itself, some are excreted with waste and some gets into the blood stream. Various cells can use SCFAs directly for energy and do. Since we know that humans can thrive without any of this, clearly these SCFAs (and fiber itself) are not essential nutrients.

Many products also subtract things like sugar alcohols and glycerine 100% from the carb count - a notorious example is Atkins bars. This is not accurate. Sugar alcohols produce glucose at somewhere between 10% to 60% relative to digestible carbs. Glycerine, last time I checked, is officially "unknown" as to how much it can affect glucose, but educated guesses from various quarters put it at about 50%. So, counting all those as "zero" is not accurate.

Counting regular old fiber (soluble and unsoluble) as zero carbs probably IS accurate and other than urban legends and meter readings (20% margin of error and after mixed meals), I have yet to see anything to dispute that. As I've said several times, the only way to really test that (even with our shoddy meters) is repeated ISOLATED tests of various fibers where on eats a large quantity of ONLY the fiber in question. If a rise in blood sugar can be reliably produced in this way then (and only then) will you know that you are digesting fiber. So far, no takers :-(

Of course, eating can have OTHER effects on blood sugar not directly related to nutritional content. See Dr. Bernstein's "discovery" and description of Chinese Restaurant Effect where low nutritional density plant matter has a curious effect via intestinal stretching. But this glucose came from storage (glycogen), not the food itself.

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Old 12-06-2013, 08:18   #9
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Fiber once again. !!!
Adding to everything mentioned so far - Food labels can be misleading by another factor. "Functional" fiber. This is the fiber added to a food product during processing. By law it is not required to be listed, only the dietary fiber is. Whether it is soluble/insoluble/digestible or not is another story and would need testing like Salim recommended.

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