How to Calculate Net Carbs

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Learn how to calculate your net carb intake.

Dieters often find success once they learn how to calculate net carbs. We'll help you count those carbs as you start on the road to a new way of living. Not only can you lose weight, but you can also live a healthier lifestyle!

The Truth About Carbs

In today's diet conscious world, those who don't know how to calculate net carbs may not know the true definition of carbohydrates. As a result, they often aren't familiar with high carb foods either. Before you can begin counting those carbs, you need to understand a little bit about them. Carbohydrates are sometimes referred to as saccharides. These are starches and sugars found in certain foods. Our bodies actually need certain carbs to remain healthy, but how do you know the difference? Basically, there are two kind of carbs: 'simple and complex.

Simple Carbs

Simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides and are typically found in dairy products and fruits. They are also found in pastas and foods made with white sugar and white flour. Many people assume that simple carbs aren't good for them, and if they are processed within certain foods, this is often the case. This is why many diets suggest that dieters steer clear of anything containing white flour and white sugar, like cakes, cookies, breads, white rice, and puddings. Simple carbs can be good for you, however, if they are found in natural foods, like strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, and other fruits.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are what serious dieters tend to look for when dieting. These carbohydrates are typically found in whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals, and in vegetables, brown rice, and legumes (beans like pintos, kidney, etc.). These carbs don't digest as quickly as simple carbs, and this allows you to satisfy your hunger and maintain your energy for longer periods of time than if you eat foods made up of simple carbs.

Impact on the Body's Health

So, why all the fuss about carb intake? The process of your liver breaking down the carbs during digestion actually stimulates the production of insulin. Because insulin is designed to move the sugar that is left over from the digestion of carbs into the body's cells, the type of carbs you eat affects your insulin levels. Simple carbs result in a quick insulin spike. While you might feel an energy boost after eating a candy bar or drinking a soft drink, that boost will disappear quickly. If you focus on eating foods made up of complex carbohydrates, you'll find your energy level lasts much longer.

How to Calculate Net Carbs

So, now that you know the difference between simple and complex carbs, what are net carbs? This is something you need to know if you want to calculate net carbs in your diet. If you haven't already encountered this term in the world of dieting, don't worry…you will. Net carbs refer to the amount of carbs available in a food product. It is the actual amount of carbohydrates available after carbs from fiber, glycerin, and sugar alcohols have been subtracted. Basically, when you learn how to calculate net carbs you are simply subtracting the number of grams of fiber from the number of grams of carbohydrates.

Before you spend hours at the grocery store counting net carbs, however, you'll need to remember a couple of important points. While a product might have a low number of net carbs, this doesn't necessarily mean it has a low number of calories. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn't adopted the net carb concept as of yet, and there isn't an approved net carb term that is officially used in food labeling. You'll still need to be conscious of your calorie intake.

That being said, you will still be eating a much healthier and weight conscious diet if you focus on foods that contain complex carbs, such as whole grains and vegetables and simple carbs in their natural state, such as fruits. Don't think of your new eating habits as a diet, but instead look at them as a healthier lifestyle change.

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How to Calculate Net Carbs