Carb counting

(Kimberley moore) #1

Hello, I’m am doing this diet to support my daughter who suffers with cluster headaches and we believe it may have some,positive benefits. I have no one to talk to about the diet and although we have just completed our first week (steep curve, hungry but ok) I am simply overwhelmed with the advice regarding counting carbs. Do we subtract the fibre? Do I only count the sugar in the carb details? Everytime I tried to educate myself I become more and more confused …alcohol sugar, digestible sugars…can anyone offer simple clear guidelines pleas? Kim and Ellie


Going by your spelling, the carbs on your labels are already net carbs :wink: Welcome to the Forum!

(Kimberley moore) #3

Hey thanks for replying. I’m not sure what you mean by your reply though! (I did warn you that I’m confused and overwhelmed! ) . So, I see tomatoes have 3.6 g of carbs with 1.3g of fibre…does that mean I count 2.3g? what about an item that says 10g of carbs of which 6g are sugar, do I count the 6g or all of it?


“Net carbs” are basically “digestible carbs”.

Generally, there are three things to be concerned about for net carbs:

  • Fiber. Most forms are not digestible, so they can generally be subtracted out.
  • Sugar alcohols vary in digestibility. Some, like erythritol, can be subtracted out completely. Others, like Xylitol and Sorbitol and Maltitol, still have over 2 calories per gram, so should really only be half-subtracted. A comparison of Glycemic Index for sweeteners.
  • Allulose is a sugar, but has nearly no digestible component (1/10th that of regular sugar). But because it’s listed on nutritional labels as part of the carbohydrates, there’s no way to subtract it out (I think this is changing). But most products using Allulose will state the net carbs on their packaging.

Also, be aware that most countries outside of the USA already subtract out non-digestible carbohydrates on their labels, so you would do no subtracting. That’s why you can sometimes find nutritional labels where there are more fiber grams than carbohydrate grams.

(Kimberley moore) #5

Thank you. I purchased erythritol and use it in cooking. Otherwise we have stayed off anything in a packet…it’s just the basics so we could understand it, this however is proving very repetitive.

(Allie) #6

For recipe ideas. There’s nothing repetitive about keto once you’re used to it.


Your spelling of Fiber tells me your probably in the UK or somewhere else in Europe? Nutrition Labels over there show Net Carbs on the labels so you don’t need to do any math. In the US we list all of it.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #8

Whether to count total carbohydrate or net carbohydrate is your choice, but be aware of the labeling laws in your jurisdiction. In North America, fibre is included in the amount listed as “carbohydrate,” but it’s also listed below, so you subtract the fibre amount from the carbohydrate amount if you want to count net carbs, or use the carbohydrate amount if you want to count total carbs.

In Europe, Britain, and elsewhere, the carbohydrate amount on the nutrition label is the net carb count with the fibre already subtracted, which is fine if you want to count net carbs, but if you want total carbs you have to add the fibre amount back in. Whew!

In both types of labels, the sugar amount is already included in the “carbohydrate” amount; it’s just there for your information. The U.S. has started requiring the amount of “added sugar,” which is helpful to know.

There is some evidence that all non-sugar sweeteners may stimulate insulin to some extent, so different experts give different advice on how to handle them. The old advice was that you could subtract the non-sugar sweeteners from your carb count, except for sugar alcohols (the name always ends in “-ol”), which you counted as half. Now, people like Dr. Westman are telling their patients to count all sweeteners at full value.

One further note about non-sugar sweeteners: In the U.S. they cannot be sold unless the manufacturer can show that the sweetener does not raise blood glucose levels. However, the Food & Drug Administration has no regulation regarding their effect on insulin, so no testing has ever been done to show whether or not the affect insulin (though some researchers are slowly starting to look at this question). There is plenty of anecdotal evidence, especially on these forums, to show that every non-sugar sweetener affects someone’s insulin level, and that a lot of people find that at least one non-sugar sweetener has an effect on their insulin. The good news, such as it is, is that no one appears to have an insulin reaction to all non-sugar sweeteners, so if you use one and it appears to stall your progress, switch to another one, and you should be fine. Further research may, of course, change this picture.

(Kimberley moore) #9

Thank you Paul L,
I clearly have to read lots more in this!

(Marianne) #10

I know it’s overwhelming when you are just starting out. What I have learned after being on this over a year is that it actually can be very easy, especially the cleaner you eat. Now we eat one meal a day, but that developed over time after we became fat adapted. It is natural and you shouldn’t feel hungry or deprived - that is what ample fat will do for you (carry you comfortably to your next meal).

In the beginning, breakfast was pretty much eggs and bacon and/or sausage. Lunch was more of the same or chicken/tuna/egg salad, or pepperoni chunk with cheese, or the like - things I threw together out of the fridge. Dinner has always consisted of an ample piece of pan seared meat or pork usually, with a steamed vegetable mixed with butter or bacon grease, tossed salad with home made blue cheese or balsamic vinaigrette, or cole slaw. If you want chicken breast, supplement it with a luscious cheese sauce or something with fat. I like to whip up dinner quickly and don’t like to cook elaborate recipes. Our meals are still extremely delicious. As long as you keep the carbs low, you can get creative with throwing acceptable foods together. I stick to just a few veggies I know are low - spinach, cabbage, asperagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce.

One thing we do love is keto pizza - tastes very similar to the real thing. I make the one with the egg and cheese crust. Simple, fast and easy. You can also take some hamburger, fry it up keeping the grease in the pan, season it and then add a bag of cole slaw or broccoli slaw. Put a little tomato sauce and cheese in there and cook, and you have a delicious entree.

Eat enough at your meals where they carry you comfortably to the next. You don’t want to be hungry or craving food. Good luck.

(Kimberley moore) #11

Thank you so much Gingersmommy. I think we are doing roughly the right things looking at your suggestions. Im keen to do it right as we have so much riding on this for my daughter but when I look at keto sites I see posts about body chemical levels etc and feel like I’m missing so much. I’ve already decided that clean eating is the easiest and simplest way but I am also negotiating my daughters food dislikes (hates cheese for example) and she’s Uber slim so I don’t want her to loose weight…no hum. Kim

(Kimberley moore) #12

Yep, from a little island (isle of wight ) in the UK. Looks like our system is simpler but less informative…

(Allie) #13

My son lives in Bembridge :heart:


I wouldn’t do this to myself LOL

I truly would count total carbs. It is so simple, you don’t have to ‘play the fiber game’ and just knowing you are all in with total carb count per day makes life so easy.

Thing is the better your food choices the more you can eat for your carb count.

like 1 cup green beans has around 8g total carbs. (now 4 of that is fiber and can be ‘netted down to 4 grams’ but why bother?)

1 cup of potatoes has like 24 total carbs. (also has like only 4 grams of fiber in that so the ‘netting’ is way different and carbs are a lot higher in that tater)

So thing is food choices. Higher carb counts means there will be way less netting to start and if you just count total carbs, you can never ever go wrong truly.

best of luck :slight_smile: as you learn you just soak up more info on how ya wanna handle your carbs.

like if you want 20 ‘net’…heck eat 30 total carbs and you will be in that same ball park. You can net down 30 easily to that 20 range without going bonkers trying to play fiber and subtract games.

hang in there, you will get it, just some time to walk around the low carb train and learn.

(Marianne) #15

Check out Best site for information, in my opinion. Lots of short, informational videos that are understandable and in laymen’s terms.


It’s only easy in the USA. For most other countries, the “Total carbohydrates” line on a nutritional label already is net (aka “digestible”) carbs, so it already excludes things like fiber and sugar alcohol. That’s why some labels can show more grams of fiber than there are of carbs.

So for someone in the UK to do total carbs, they’d have to add all of those things together…

Just like with the metric system, the USA is a backward and stubborn country.


holy cow, the old simple days are gone I guess every where LOL


No, to me tracking only net carbs is simpler and makes more sense anyway…

For total carbs, I would have to make zillion own food item on the page I use. Well I had to make them for net carbs when I started keto… The data was in between net and total for most vegetables, total for flax seeds… But that work was nothing compared to every day tracking with zillion weighing all the time and I needed net carbs.

So it’s quite personal. I am glad I live in Europe though my food rarely has a package with carb infos but when it has, it’s useful to see the net carbs.


funny thing is we shouldn’t be eating packaged crap anyway and our food choices should be kinda more minimal that when we do the work on it, heck our meals should be kinda repeating and we know what is what on carb counts kinda.

drop packaged crap. eat fresh everyone…screw things with labels LOL


Forget who said it, but so true. It was something to the effect of “having a nutritional label is all you need to see to know it’s not nutritional”. Took me a second to get it.