Net Carbs: How Do You Calculate Net Carbs?

net carbs various carbs on a table

Managing carbohydrate intake can help maintain stable blood glucose levels. It's important to note that not all carbs are the same-- that's because the body processes fibers, starches, and sugars in different ways and each impacts blood sugar in a different way. Being able to calculate net carbs can help us better understand just how a specific food may affect your blood glucose. 


The net carb calculation:

Total Carbohydrates - Fiber - Sugar Alcohols = Net Carbs


Net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates in a food item minus the fiber and sugar alcohols. This means that net carbs represent the amount of carbohydrates that are actually absorbed and digested by the body. 

Fiber and sugar alcohols are not fully absorbed by the body and therefore do not have the same impact on blood sugar levels as other carbohydrates. This is why they are subtracted from the total amount of carbohydrates in a food item to calculate net carbs.  

It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sugary snacks, can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and should be limited in a healthy diet. 

On the other hand, carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide important nutrients and should not be completely eliminated from the diet. 

Net carbs have become a popular way of tracking carbohydrate intake for those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. However, it is important to remember that not all carbohydrates are created equal and a balanced diet should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods.