Eating with Diabetes: Counting ''Net'' Carbs
What Are Net Carbs? How Do They Affect Blood Sugar?
Since low carbohydrate diets became popular, the phrase "net carbs" has become a fairly regular fixture on the labels of food products. But, if you are not familiar with the term you may be wondering what in the world it means!
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.''
In recent years, food manufacturers have started including net carbs in addition to total carbs when labeling products. Many foods proudly display net carbs on their labels to entice both low-carb diet fans and people with diabetes.
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 fro Continue reading