# How To Calculate Net Carbs And Sugar Alcohol? A Full Guide

Are you trying to keep track of your carb intake but feeling confused by the concept of net carbs and sugar alcohols?

You’re not alone! With so many products on the market claiming to be “low-carb” or “keto-friendly,” it can be challenging to know how to calculate your carb intake accurately.

In this article, we’ll break down the science behind net carbs and sugar alcohols and provide you with a simple formula to help you calculate your carb intake like a pro.

So, let’s dive in and learn how to make sense of those nutrition labels!

## How To Calculate Net Carbs And Sugar Alcohol?

To calculate net carbs, start by looking at the total amount of carbohydrates listed on the nutrition label. Next, subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbs. This will give you the total amount of non-fiber carbohydrates in the product.

If the product contains sugar alcohols, you’ll need to subtract a portion of those as well. Generally speaking, you can subtract half of the grams of sugar alcohols from the total carbs. However, erythritol is an exception to this rule. If it’s the only sugar alcohol listed in the ingredients, you can subtract all of its carbs from the total carbs.

It’s important to note that not all products calculate net carbs in the same way. Some companies subtract all fiber and sugar alcohol carbs when calculating net carbs, while others only subtract a portion. So, it’s essential to read labels carefully and understand how a particular product calculates its net carbs.

## Understanding Net Carbs And Sugar Alcohols

The concept of net carbs is based on the idea that not all carbohydrates affect the body in the same way. Simple or refined starches and sugars are absorbed quickly and have a high glycemic index, causing blood sugar levels to rise rapidly after eating. These excess simple carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat. Examples of these include white bread, white rice, potatoes, and sweets.

On the other hand, fiber found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables moves slowly through the digestive system, and much of it isn’t digested at all (insoluble fiber). Similarly, sugar alcohols such as mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other polyols are modified alcohol molecules that resemble sugar. These substances are commonly used as artificial sweeteners.

In calculating net carbs, most manufacturers 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, if a product has 30 grams of total carbohydrates and 27 grams of sugar alcohols and 1 gram of fiber, the “impact carb facts” box provided by the manufacturer explains that “Fiber and sugar alcohols have a minimal effect on blood sugar. For those watching their carb intake, count 2 grams.”

However, it’s essential to note that not all sugar alcohols are created equal. Erythritol is an exception to the rule of subtracting half the grams of sugar alcohols from total carbs. If it’s the only sugar alcohol listed in the ingredients list, you can subtract all of its carbs from total carbs.

## Why Net Carbs Matter For Low-Carb Diets

Net carbs are a crucial consideration for anyone following a low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet. The concept of net carbs is based on the principle that not all carbohydrates affect the body in the same way. Simple or refined starches and sugars, like those found in white bread, white rice, and sweets, are absorbed rapidly and cause blood sugar levels to quickly rise after eating. These excess simple carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat. On the other hand, fiber and sugar alcohols move slowly through the digestive system and have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

By calculating net carbs, individuals can track the number of carbohydrates that their body actually processes and uses for energy. This method encourages eating more whole foods and vegetables that are high in fiber, which is beneficial for most people. Counting net carbs also helps individuals avoid consuming excess simple carbohydrates that are stored as fat in the body.

For those following a low-carb diet like keto, tracking net carbs is essential to reaching and maintaining ketosis. By keeping net carbs low, individuals can force their body to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. However, it’s important to note that not all sugar alcohols are truly low-carb. Erythritol is an exception and can be subtracted from total carbs without any issues. But other sugar alcohols like maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol can have a significant impact on blood sugar levels and should be counted towards total carbs.

## The Difference Between Total Carbs And Net Carbs

Total carbs refer to the total amount of carbohydrates present in a food, including starches, dietary fiber, sugars, and sugar alcohols. On the other hand, net carbs are the total carbs minus the indigestible carbs such as fiber and sugar alcohols. The concept of net carbs is based on the principle that not all carbohydrates affect the body in the same manner. 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.

By counting net carbs instead of total carbs on carbohydrate-restricted diets such as the Keto Diet, Atkins Diet, and AIP Diet, people can eat a wider range of foods while still maintaining a low-carb diet. However, there is considerable debate on the value of using net carbs versus total carbs. Many scientists and healthcare professionals do not recognize the concept of net carbs. For this reason, it remains unclear if there are any confirmed benefits of calculating them.

Food manufacturers aren’t required to list net carbs on their nutrition labels. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not officially recognize the term “net carbs.” The only categories of carbs the FDA requires on food labels are sugars, added sugars, and fiber. That said, some food producers elect to list net carbs on their packaging—especially if their product is geared towards a carb-savvy customer. If a product doesn’t list net carbs, simply subtract all the grams of fiber and half the grams of sugar alcohols (if there are any) from the total grams of carbohydrates to arrive at the net carb value.

## How To Calculate Net Carbs

To calculate net carbs, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps. First, take a look at the nutrition label and find the total amount of carbohydrates per serving. Next, find the amount of fiber per serving and subtract it from the total carbs. This will give you the total amount of non-fiber carbohydrates in the product.

If the product contains sugar alcohols, you’ll need to subtract a portion of those as well. Generally speaking, you can subtract half of the grams of sugar alcohols from the total carbs. However, erythritol is an exception to this rule. If it’s the only sugar alcohol listed in the ingredients, you can subtract all of its carbs from the total carbs.

It’s important to note that not all products calculate net carbs in the same way. Some companies subtract all fiber and sugar alcohol carbs when calculating net carbs, while others only subtract a portion. So, it’s essential to read labels carefully and understand how a particular product calculates its net carbs.

## What Are Sugar Alcohols?

Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that are commonly used as artificial sweeteners in many low-carb and sugar-free products. They are modified alcohol molecules that resemble sugar, but they don’t have the same impact on blood sugar levels as regular sugar.

Examples of sugar alcohols include mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other polyols. They are often found in products like chewing gum, candy, and baked goods. While they do contain calories and carbohydrates, they are not fully absorbed by the body, which is why they have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.

When calculating net carbs, it’s important to subtract a portion of the grams of sugar alcohols from the total carbs. Generally speaking, you can subtract half of the grams of sugar alcohols from the total carbs. However, erythritol is an exception to this rule. If it’s the only sugar alcohol listed in the ingredients, you can subtract all of its carbs from the total carbs.

It’s worth noting that while sugar alcohols can be a useful tool for those on a low-carb or keto diet, they can also cause digestive issues in some people if consumed in large amounts. So, it’s important to consume them in moderation and pay attention to how your body reacts to them.

## How To Calculate Sugar Alcohol Intake

If you’re managing diabetes or following a low-carb diet, it’s important to keep track of your sugar alcohol intake. Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that can raise blood sugar levels, although not as much as regular sugar. To calculate your sugar alcohol intake, follow these steps:

1. Look at the nutrition label and find the total grams of sugar alcohols per serving.

2. Divide the total grams of sugar alcohols by two. This is because only half of the sugar alcohol grams count towards your total carb intake.

3. Subtract the result from step 2 from the total carbohydrate count listed on the label. This will give you the net carbs per serving.

For example, if a product has 20 grams of total carbs and 10 grams of sugar alcohols per serving, you would divide 10 by 2 to get 5. Then, subtract 5 from 20 to get a net carb count of 15 grams per serving.

It’s important to note that some sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect and cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. If you experience these side effects, try reducing your serving size or avoiding products with high amounts of sugar alcohols.