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How to Calculate Net Carbs

How to Calculate Net Carbs? Net carb calculation is an important part of a ketogenic diet. To establish and maintain a state of ketosis, you should learn how to count carbs. But don’t worry, you won’t be counting every carb you eat. You just need to count net carbs. So what are net carbs?

After subtracting fiber from a food’s total carbohydrates, the remaining carbohydrate is its net carbohydrate.

Our body cannot fully digest the fibers contained in foods. This slows down its absorption or even makes it impossible to digest. When you eat ketogenic vegetables, you consume plenty of fiber. But your blood sugar does not rise. Since fibers do not raise blood sugar, there is no harm in leaving them out of the calculation. This means that net carbs are actually the amount of carbohydrates absorbed by our body.

If you want to follow a keto diet, you have to make this calculation every day. All the other low-carb diets contain more carbohydrates than the ketogenic diet. But on keto, between 20 and 50 grams of carbohydrates should be consumed. Although it varies from person to person, it is much more appropriate to keep carb intake in the 20-30 grams range to ensure you stay in ketosis.

In such a limited diet, you really don’t have the option of going on an uncontrolled diet without making calculations. You can get out of ketosis very easily. Then your efforts and diet will be in vain.

If you do not want to make this calculation yourself, you can of course consult a dietitian. But if you want to do it yourself, you can learn how it is calculated later in the article.

For more information about the ketogenic diet, see What Is a Ketogenic Diet? | The Ultimate Guide To Keto


How to calculate Net Carbs?

The value obtained by subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrate value in a food item is the net carbohydrate of that food. Since fibers or polyols have minimal effect on blood sugar, the correct value is achieved by removing them completely or partially.

NET CARBOHYDRATE = Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber

For example; In 100 grams of cauliflower, total carbohydrate = 5 g, dietary fiber = 2 g
So its net carbs are 5-2=3.
You need to calculate the nets in this way for all foods, regardless of whether they are natural or processed.

Dietary Fibers | Pulp


How to Calculate Net Carbs? We call carbohydrates that the body can digest, whether simple or complex, as net carbohydrates. We call carbohydrates consisting of only 1-2 sugar units simple carbohydrates, and those consisting of more units we call complex carbohydrates.

For example; fruit, sugar, honey is simple carbs. Potatoes, grains, legumes are complex carbs.

When we eat a food containing carbs, we break it into small pieces with an enzyme produced in our small intestine. So that it is absorbed and mixed into the blood. However, there are some carbs that we cannot fully break down into smaller pieces.

We can break down some of the dietary fibers completely and others partially.

Since we cannot break down the bonds in its structure, this group of dietary fibers cannot be absorbed from the small intestine. So they don’t have an effect on blood sugar. This is exactly why we don’t include fiber in the net carb count on keto.

Fibers are of 2 types. There are soluble and insoluble fibers. Those that cannot be dissolved in water swell in the intestines and allow easy defecation. Thus, they prevent constipation. Water-soluble ones form a gel and allow food to move slowly through the digestive system. In this way, they give the person a feeling of fullness.

Click to learn about Keto Friendly Foods

Net Carbs in Packaged Foods


How to Calculate Net Carbs? You should calculate the same way when choosing packaged foods at the market. The values found in 100 grams of most products are put in the nutritional value table. Don’t let this mislead you. You should calculate the net carbs in the entire product by dividing it by the portion you will consume.

In the sample table above, values for 1 serving (28g) are given. When we subtract dietary fiber from total carbohydrates, you can see that the net carbohydrates are 5-1=4.

All fiber and half of sugar alcohols should be deducted from the account. (except erythritol)

Sugar Alcohols

What are Sugar Alcohols?

First of all, sugar alcohols have nothing to do with alcohol. Sugar alcohols are called alcohols because of their chemical structure. They are similar to dietary fiber, but they are different components than fiber. They are especially used as sweeteners.

How to Calculate Net Carbs? Sugar alcohols have become a part of low-carb diets. These sweeteners are preferred due to their low calorie content and low glucose effect.

Sugar alcohols are sweeteners naturally found in some plants and obtained by chemical modification of sugar. These sweeteners mimic the taste of sugar while containing fewer calories. Sugar alcohols are also often called “sugar alcohol” or “polyol“.

The most commonly used sugar alcohols include xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol and maltitol. While these sweeteners are similar in sweetness, their effects on the body are slightly different.


How to Calculate Net Carbs : Sweeteners

When consuming sugar alcohols (polyols), you should make sure that you calculate net carbohydrates correctly.

Polyols are partially absorbed in the intestine and come in many varieties. 2-90% of it is absorbed in the intestine and then excreted in the urine.

The following sugar alcohols do not count towards net carbohydrates:

  • Erythritol
  • Xylitol
  • Mannitol
  • Lactitol

The following sugar alcohols are also partially accounted for:

  • Maltitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Isomalt

You should always be careful to consume less than 15g of sugar alcohol. Your intestinal bacteria can ferment sugar alcohols. So they can cause bloating in your small intestine when consumed in excess.

Maltitol, which we encounter most in packaged foods, is partially absorbed and 1 gram contains 3 – 3.5 calories. In fact, normal sugar contains 4 calories per gram. While there is no significant difference in calories, maltitol can also increase blood sugar to a certain extent by mimicking carbohydrates. Therefore, it is useful to be careful about mannitol, maltitol and sorbitol.

Glycemic index of sugar alcohols

  • Erythritol: Glycemic index = 0
  • Isomalt: Glycemic index = 9
  • Maltitol: Glycemic index = 35
  • Sorbitol: Glycemic index = 9
  • Xylitol: Glycemic index = 13

Among sugar alcohols, the most logical choice as a net carbohydrate would be erythritol. Each 1 gram of maltitol, sorbitol or isomalt counts as approximately half a gram of carbohydrate. Meaning they have effects on blood sugar. 90% of erythritol is absorbed in the small intestine and excreted in the urine. The remaining 10% is fermented in the large intestine and converted into short-chain fatty acids. In other words, it is a polyol that is carbohydrate-free, calorie-free. It has a very low probability of disrupting the intestines.

When calculating the net carbohydrates in a packaged food, we generally subtract the fiber and half of the sugar alcohols from the total carbohydrates. Except erythritol. You can remove erythritol completely from total carbs. Like this:

Net carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber – (Maltitol/2)

This calculation more accurately represents the carbohydrate impact of food on the body.

How to Calculate Net Carbs : guide

  • Check the Nutrition Label: First, examine the nutrition label on the food packaging. Find the total amount of carbs per serving.
  • Identify Dietary Fiber: Find the dietary fiber content on the same food label. Dietary fiber is not absorbed by the body and does not negatively affect blood sugar. Subtract dietary fiber from total carbohydrates.

Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Dietary Fiber

  • Consider Sugar Alcohols: If the product contains sugar alcohols (e.g. xylitol or mannitol), subtract half of them from total carbohydrates. In conclusion;

Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Dietary Fiber – Sugar Alcohols/2

  • Watch Out for Hidden Carbs: Watch out for hidden carbs in processed foods. In some products, ingredients like maltodextrin or certain additives can add to the carb count. So check ingredients that contain these ingredients.
  • Calculate Portion Sizes: Remember the serving size stated on the nutrition label. A serving is not always 100 grams. First of all, you should calculate the carbohydrates per serving. If you’re consuming more than one serving, you’ll need to multiply the net carbs per serving by the number of servings you consume.

Net Carbs per Serving = Net Per Serving x Number of Servings Consumed

  • Use Online Resources: There are a variety of apps and online resources to help you track and calculate your carbohydrate intake. These tools often offer a practical way to record your daily nutrition. Plus they calculate net carbs automatically. Keeping a diary of what you eat every day allows you to have a more controlled and conscious diet.

Websites I recommend:

To give an example of the websites I mentioned where you can count calories and carbohydrates;

You can learn the macros of the foods you consume from websites such as.

How to Calculate Net Carbs? Everyone’s tolerance to carbohydrates is different. So you should monitor your body’s response and adjust your carbohydrate intake accordingly. You should always consult your doctor first before making any major dietary changes. Especially if you have underlying health problems. If your doctor sees no harm and gives permission, you can follow this type of diet for therapeutic purposes for a certain period of time.

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