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"Net Carbs" - Marketing ploy or real thing?

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Old 06-11-2011, 12:34 AM   #1
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Default "Net Carbs" - Marketing ploy or real thing?

I'm just starting on my diet, this week it has been my own counting of calories and keeping my carbs under 100 (usually 50-75). I know carbs are an issue for me so I need to start learning to not have to eat them all the time.

I'm confused by this "net carb" thing - I've read on the Atkins forums and online that certain carbs are "ok", that you subtract fiber and sugar alcohol from the carb count. I purchased an Atkins diet bar today, partly because in the morning I am so used to having a granola bar - but it seems to be high in carbs but not net carbs.

Should I really take the "net" into account? Does a lower carb diet still work when you do that?


Thank you!!

Laurie
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:54 AM   #2
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I use net carbs, but I only subtract fiber. Sugar alcohols stall many people, & I hardly ever eat them anyway.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:14 AM   #3
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So basically any of the meal replacement bars (Atkins etc) or the desserts that have sugar alcohols should be avoided? It seems disingenuous to offer a line of products that really make the diet stall.
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Old 06-12-2011, 07:05 AM   #4
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So basically any of the meal replacement bars (Atkins etc) or the desserts that have sugar alcohols should be avoided? It seems disingenuous to offer a line of products that really make the diet stall.
Hello Laurie,

I think you may find this helpful

http://www.phlaunt.com/lowcarb/19059967.php

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Old 06-12-2011, 05:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for that link - I found it very interesting. I guess the one hitch for me trying to live a low carb lifestyle is breakfast, similar to many people I would guess. I usually eat a granola bar in the morning on my way to work - is there anything that can substitute for that in the low carb world?

Thanks!
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:05 PM   #6
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You always can subtract the fiber, because humans can't digest any of the calories in fiber. If you're a cow, the calories and carbohydrates count, but if you're human or any other animal that can't digest cellulose, they don't.

The sugar alcohols are a lot iffier.

What's REALLY confusing is that in the USA companies are allowed (but not required) to subtract the fiber calories from the calorie count of the product - but they don't have to tell you whether they did that bit of math or not (you can double check the math, but for items with only a gram or two of fiber, that doesn't make any sense).

That's one of the reasons that the calorie counts are so wide-ranging when you look up whole, natural foods. Some of the calorie counting sites count the fiber calories, and some do not. Ironically, the foods most likely to have had the fiber calories subtracted (or at least it seems so, when I've double checked the math) are the processed foods. Which makes whole, high fiber foods seem to contain more (digestible) calories than they actually do.

I tend to avoid most of the sugar alcohols because they tend to have a significant laxative effect, and as a person with IBS, I have enough bathroom issues without volunteering for diarrhea.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:47 PM   #7
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Hello Laurie,

I think you may find this helpful



That was a very interesting read - thank you for posting the link.
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:20 AM   #8
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Hello Laurie,

I think you may find this helpful

I too loved the article, JerseyGyrl ... the reports were fabulous too. Question though: in your opinion, if I'm experiencing the laxative effect, does that mean the sugar alcohols are just passing through, rather than breaking down and affecting my blood sugar? I'm confused because I thought it seemed to say it was one or the other.

Thanks for your thoughts in advance!
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:47 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mexigrl64 View Post
Thanks for that link - I found it very interesting. I guess the one hitch for me trying to live a low carb lifestyle is breakfast, similar to many people I would guess. I usually eat a granola bar in the morning on my way to work - is there anything that can substitute for that in the low carb world?

Thanks!
Boiled eggs. Cook them the night before then peel them and put them in the fridge in a sandwich baggie. They will be ready for the car.

You can also eat leftover meats the same way. Leftover steak strips, a couple of sausages with a boiled egg or two, chunks of chicken or even an Atkins shake. Cheees works well too. Mix and match.

Last edited by canadianwoman : 06-20-2011 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:50 PM   #10
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I too loved the article, JerseyGyrl ... the reports were fabulous too. Question though: in your opinion, if I'm experiencing the laxative effect, does that mean the sugar alcohols are just passing through, rather than breaking down and affecting my blood sugar? I'm confused because I thought it seemed to say it was one or the other.

Thanks for your thoughts in advance!
MissSea

It's a reasonable theory, and a common one, but I don't know if there's been any research proving or disproving it (if anyone knows of such research, and can give a link or a tip as to where or when it was done, that would be great).

Although even if it's true, I'm not sure how much it helps, because many of the sugar alcohols are known to be partially digested. That means instead of 4 calories per gram, you may be able to digest anwhere from 0-4. Diarrhea may tell you that you can't digest all 4 calories per gram, but it probably won't tell you how many calories you could digest. You could be absorbing none of the sugar alcohol calories, or 3/4 of them and still get diarrhea.

It's just another matter of trial and error (if you want to experiment). Two ways to experiment would be to assume zero and see if your weight is affected by the assumption. Or you could buy a blood sugar monitor and test it after eating (you might ask your doctor or a diabetic educatior when and how to test, essentially what to look for).
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mexigrl64 View Post
Thanks for that link - I found it very interesting. I guess the one hitch for me trying to live a low carb lifestyle is breakfast, similar to many people I would guess. I usually eat a granola bar in the morning on my way to work - is there anything that can substitute for that in the low carb world?

Thanks!
Breakfast idea - I used to do the following:

Take a few eggs (depending on how many servings you do) whisk them up, add cream cheese (if allowed), added thinly slice green onions, bacon bits (if allowed), pepper. I would then bake in a muffin cooking tray sprayed with PAM or oil spray. I would top them off with a few sprinkles of sharp cheddar cheese and cook in the oven.

I could eat then for a few days as my breakfast!
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:06 PM   #12
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i do okay with sugar alcohols, i still lose with eating them, and i count net carbs, but i don't eat enough sugar alcohol for the laxative effect to happen, like i will have a piece of sugar free candy, not five..etc.....normally i just eat a lot of spinach salads with sunflower seeds and tuna, its simple and i don't have to spend time thinking about what i want to eat,
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:33 PM   #13
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The sugar free chocolates that they make now are so much better than years ago. My daughter got me hooked and I found out the hard way how too many and my gut felt like it was going to explode! One or two pieces were ok......4 or 5 (or more) were NOT! I have read that the Atkins bars are stretching the truth about the carb count and the formulas have changed since Atkins himself approved them.

I had already been on a long stall, so I cannot vouch if sugar alcohols kept me there or not. But what I do know that for myself, "diety" foods make me play head games with myself. I want more if I know they are less than the original food item is. I gave up the sugar free candies, soda pop and such for the simpler real stuff. I allow myself an occasional 85% dark chocolate and can be satisfied with a square or two. I even stopped using stevia when whipping cream, I just don't want a sweet taste anymore. I adore coconut cream right out of the can for a dessert. I haven't had the 85% in 4 months.

I use net carbs, subtracting out the fiber. But I cannot be 100% sure on whether the manufacturer is being truthful, whether they rounded up or down to have a better look to their nutritional labeling. I use a nutritional software for my foods and let it figure out the net carbs. Any low carb food that gets me too interested in having too much, I let go of for awhile...never banning it completely, but putting it aside until weight loss starts up again. I suspect the sugar free candies did keep me in the stall longer, but cannot say for sure. I do not bother with most of the low carb products out there, I base most of my foods on meats, cheese, eggs, produce and nuts/seeds and healthy fats like virgin olive and coconut oils oh, and butter. I find enough variety by being creative with the real foods. I pretty much leave the manufactured stuff alone.
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Old 07-09-2011, 04:50 PM   #14
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Except for sugar free beverages and softdrinks, and occasionally sugar free gelatin and pudding, and very rarely no sugar added ice creams to use in smoothies, I don't use any of the low-carb products.

Recently I've started looking for low- or moderate-carb breakfast cereal or bar for quick breakfasts and road trips and except for online products (way expensive) I haven't found any. I bought a high-protein meal bar at Target (I don't remember the brand. Cliff or Lara possibly, but I don't think so. It was from the bins). It was so oversweetened that it was very unpleasant, even with a glass of milk to wash it down.

I've never been a huge fan of most desserts, especially super sweet ones. I'm more a fan of less sweet cheesecake, creme brulee, very tart key lime pie, strawberry shortcake (if it's on biscuits, not cake - but now I can't eat wheat so that's out).
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