Net Carbs - is it a real thing?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #34

At work so can’t respond in detail. We probably agree on most. I’ll only point out now that were all carbs generally about the same in digestive results - good or bad for whomever - the human species would be out grazing with the cows, not eating them. The complexity of specific carbs matters, from the simplest single glucose molecule to the most chained, branched and convoluted. The simpler the overall molecular structure the more we can extract (ie ‘digest’) out of it. But maybe absolute zero is a moving target.


oh I think we sure agree on most and I get you can’t respond thru work and all.

all good always!!

key being I want the darn proof on that net carb stuff but darn if I can’t find any solid info on it at all in real science…and believe me thru the years I looked LOL

all cool M!

(Joey) #36

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this exchange.

Not sure I would readily agree. But then again, I think our general understanding of the role of fiber in a “healthy” diet falls well short of the mark. Perhaps these papers might be of some interest? (I’ve highlighted the more salient passages for your convenience)…

DietaryFiber-Cnstipation.pdf (787.2 KB)

Fiber-H2O-Magnesium-Constipation.pdf (111.7 KB)

Fiber-ColorectalCancer.pdf (584.8 KB)

Finally, this paper is tucked behind a pay-wall, but the abstract is readable and may be of some interest…

Spoiler: Here’s the final sentence…

“There is growing evidence of the high impact of dietary fiber and foods with a low GI on single risk factors (e.g., lipid pattern, diabetes, inflammation, endothelial function etc.) as well as also the development of the endpoints of atherosclerosis especially CHD.”

Onward we go :vulcan_salute:


So agree that Fiber? in our digestive tracks and what humans require is a guess…darn a good guess at that but? :slight_smile: cause ALL this fiber talk is bunk point blank for those who don’t require it and studies never show truths on it as it should be shown…but if the majority rules or corp greed plays the funding game then?

(Todd Chester) #38

Straw or saw dust or toothpicks sautéd in butter are “indigestable carbs”. They go right through you. "Soluble fiber” such as inulin, etc. as “polysaccharides” and are converted to sugar by the your microbiom in your intestines. A slow, gently “historically appropriate” release.

What the “Net Carb” scam purports is that you can subtract polysaccharides from your carb count. Good luck with that. If you do not have blood sugar issues and are not one of the eleven that will get diabetes, more power to you. You still need to watch out for the inflammation problems a high glycemic diet will cause (damage to your heart and circulatory system, etc.), not to mention the T3 diabetes (alzheimer’s). You will not get the benefits of the “historically appropriate human diet”

Next prepackaged “granola” bar you see in the supermarket touting “Keto” and “zero net carb”, check out the ingredient list. Lots and lots of sugars and carbs. It is a scam.

(Todd Chester) #39

“Net carbs” does not differentiate between “indigestible” and microbiome digestible “polysaccharides”. “Net carbs” is a marketing scam to get you to consume cheap, easy to store high glycemic carbs that keep you addicted and keep you buying their high margin historically inappropriate products.

(Todd Chester) #40

“Diarrhea” is your body ejecting something it thinks is toxic. Indigestible fiber helps you crap, but that is not diarrhea (no yellow bile). If you are having troubles with your microbiome and can’t properly digest polyacrylamide, the tip off is that you FART like crazy, not diarrhea.


until some one EVER shows proof to me I sure agree :sunny:
yup, ALL about the products thru company greed vs. a shred, a literal shred of the tiniest bit of small truth and away we go…net the world on carbs to line the corps pocket! Works so well on packaged frozen meals and bars and desserts and more, that darn, under ‘this code of food choice’ is WAY more higher expensive…ugh

yet again not one shred of real study that can prove ever that net is real…ain’t gonna be either if one asks me :sunny:

(Todd Chester) #42

Ya, no fooling.

Oh no one waxed anyone’s palms there, did they ! Now we suddenly have an epidemic of obesity, heart disease, Diabetes, T3 (Alzheimer’s), etc…

As a T2 Diabetic (drug free for over 8 years now), I have to tell you, sugar alcohols send my blood sugar through the roof. I avoid them like the plague.

What did me in was believing “healthy carbs” (total B**** S***) was real. Follow the money.

I adore the polysaccharide slight sweet taste in jicama. But if you are doing “Net carbs” and remain addicted to high glycemic carbs, your sense of taste won’t reset and jicama will taste like paper.
1 cup slices (120 g)
Glycemic load = 2 Yippee! Polysaccharides!
calories = 45.6 kcal
carbs = 10.6

Eat a whole cup of jicama and your jaw will be sore for a week! I max at half a cup.

You want Keto to actually work for you, DUMP NET CARBS and switch to GLYCEMIC LOAD (GL). And cook your own food.

You can find GL at

Here is the definition of GL:

“Net Carbs” is a scam, just like “healthy carbs”.

(Bacon enough and time) #43

The points several people have made are good reasons for counting total carb intake rather than net. Plus, Dr. Westman suggested at Ketofest a few years ago that fibre, which by definition is supposed to be indigestible, may not be as indigestible as we have hitherto believed (though I don’t recall he gave a study reference to back up that assertion).

Michael’s point that you can’t change net carbs by adding fibre to food is an important one, because it is a persistent belief that crops up every so often on these forums. (As he points out, the total carb number increases from the added fibre; it is the net that does not change.)

Another point that always needs to be made is that the “carbohydrate” number on European nutrition labels is the net carb number (i.e., the fibre has already been subtracted), which means that those counting total carbs need to add the fibre number back in. In North America, however, the “carbohydrate” number is the total amount of carbohydrate. This difference in practice does not help matters.

As a practical matter, then, we should just eat as little carbohydrate as we can manage. After all, we evolved away from being primarily herbivores to being primarily carnivores, so it’s not as though we need carbohydrate to survive.

(Joey) #44

“Scam” sounds a bit off the mark, but I fully accept your larger point. Still, carbs with lower glycemic index are less ideal than no carbs.

Yeah. Simply put. This. :point_up_2:

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #45

As I noted above:

@ToddAndMargo I don’t deny that many ‘polysaccharides’ are partially and/or fully digestible. All I’m saying is that completely indigestible ones can be ignored and subtracted from total carbs to get a net carb number. That net number is not a scam and it was not invented by devious food manufacturers. Equally importantly, I’m talking about real food, not manufactured concoctions aimed at the low carb and diabetic community. As pointed out by @PaulL some folks confuse and some manufacturers obfuscate carb content by averaging non-digestible and digestible carbs.

For example, the carbs that I consume daily come almost exclusively from dairy (lactose): whipping cream, cream cheese and a few semi and hard cheeses (3.3 gr digestible carbs per 100 grams). I also eat a number of cheeses that are zero carb. Some brands and varieties contain more carbs, but I don’t eat those. I also eat poached eggs that contain approx .7 gr carbs per 100 grams. I do not eat fruit and vegetables since they all contain more carbs per 100 grams than I want to consume. I also do not eat ‘keto’ concoctions, be they ‘energy bars’, drinks or whatever. I think all these concoctions are junk food. I’ve organized my dietary regimen not to require any of this sort of stuff.

All I mean by this is ‘your mileage may vary’.

(Todd Chester) #46

Hi Anwassil,

We are on the same page as far as cooking your own food as well as those “keto concoctions”, which are marketing fraud. My saying about the supermarket is that only the meat and the produce section are actual food and some of them are not food either.

Now the formula for Net Carbs is
Net Carbs = actual carbs - fiber - sugar alcohols

As you can see from


Yes they do affect your blood sugar, albeit slowly. They are still carbs. So, subtracting sugar alcohols is a scam.

For the following I will refer to soluble fiber (inulin, etc.) as “polysaccharides” and insoluble / indigestible (cellulose, etc.) fiber as “bran”

Now for subtracting fiber, I will give you that is there is no sugar value in “bran”. But here is the thing, how and where do you tell the two apart? What deceleration label separates them for you? I always presume that they can not. So “fiber” subtraction is also a scam.

I always presume fiber polysaccharides on a label as I really do not know of any technique to measure bran.

Now here is the thing. Why revert to the Historically Appropriate Human Diet (HAHD)? The answer is because the Standard American Diet (SAD) is slowly killing us. The “healthy carbs” scam personally gave me T2 Diabetes.

To get HAHD (Keto) to work properly, we have to consume things that are human appropriate. And these do not raise our blood sugar to dangerous levels or have wild blood sugar swings and all the consequent health problems.

The way to do this is not “net carbs”. It is the “Glycemic Load” (GL). Rather than “guessing” at what is bran and what is polysaccharides in your food, Glycemic Load has already measured it for you. It tells you pretty accurately what the blood sugar impact will be of what you are consuming. Everything you consume needs to be ran by GL. GL is as important as your carb count – USE BOTH!

“Net Carbs” is just a way of cheating on your diet. And you are guessing at your numbers. It is a scam. Every HAHD Keto need to switch to GL and forget they EVER heard of Net Carbs.

I also should point out that if you are craving those extra carbs you get with Net Carbs, then you are still addicted. It took me three weeks to kick it. I felt like things were crawling on my skin. Emotionally, I was afraid I would starve to death when logically I knew I was surrounded by tons of food I could eat. It wasn’t pretty. It would have never happened with Net Carbs, which is the scam’s point.

After kicking the addiction, suddenly, I could taste my food again. And whole new world opened up: better health, food I enjoyed, you know the drill.

By the way, there are a lot of very low GL plant material out there you can consume. You can broaden your diet. And yes, I also love my cheeses. They go great on my cauliflower crust pizzas.

Thriving, not just surviving!



So it means I am in ketosis if I eat 100g carbs? I never believed that… If I could test it, I probably would, it’s interesting - but alas, I don’t have any way to tell if I am in ketosis anymore and I don’t actually desire to go over 100g total carbs with a very low net anyway…
Eating lots of erythritol and fiber all the time (well, in my still big eating window, at least) definitely worked for me in the sense that ketosis and fat adaptation was fine. It wasn’t ideal but lowering only my total carbs don’t seem to help with that. Maybe I still can do experiments. I don’t really care so much how human function (it’s interesting and may give a hint but we are too different), I am interested about what works for my individual self.

Maybe I will try 10g net carbs with 40g total for a while… Going higher is tricky without eating sweets all the time. Even with it. And I have no erythritol anymore as it doesn’t reallty matter what I use, erythritol or xylitol (if it makes my total carbs too high, I eat way too much of it) and the latter is way tastier. So I will use fiber, my newest, pretty good breads uses it anyway and I have a bag that would last forever without efforts put into its use…

In the past I used a significant amount of flax too. 27.5g total carbs, 1.5g net carbs per 100g, something like that. Total vs net was highly important there. But it mattered with my vegetables too. And it worked so I am very glad I used net carbs and I keep using them though it’s almost a moot point now that I try to stay close to carnivore :smiley: (Yeah, the mentioned xylitol will go into my SO’s food, it’s too extreme for even my most relaxed carnivore-ish. I only eat sugar now as it’s inevitable. I tried to skip dairy but I got super bored and had to stop eat meat for a while.)

(Bacon enough and time) #48

Just a note to add that some people would say it should be 1/2(sugar alcohols), because they are somewhat digestible.

(Bacon enough and time) #49

You may or may not be; it would depend on how insulin-resistant you are, among other things. In some of the early lectures I watched by Dr. Phinney (they’d be about ten years old by now), I could swear he was talking about 100-125 g/day of carbohydrate as being ketogenic. Although he told me at Ketofest one year that he never said that, so who knows what I am remembering.

But in any case, it is certainly true that some people have a higher carb tolerance than the 20 g/day we recommend, because their metabolisms aren’t so badly damaged as other people’s. The converse is also true, and some people’s carb tolerance is even lower than 20 g/day. These would be people who are badly insulin-resistant.

In any case, for newcomers who are reading this thread, our advice is to stick to 20 g/day, going lower as necessary, and increase your carb intake only after becoming fat-adapted and accustomed to the diet.

However, I find that although I can now eat a fair amount of carbohydrate and remain in ketosis, there is a point where a number of symptoms return that I don’t like, so I still try to keep my intake as low as possible.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #50

Were I coming from a place of metabolic syndrome and/or diabetes - I’d also use glycemic load as my primary food guide, not ‘net carbs’. I’d consider there are no healthy carbs, only maybe some that aren’t so bad as others. I’d also eat nearly exclusively animal sourced food, with the addition of coconut oil and red palm/kernel oils. No grains/legumes, no nuts, no fruits, no vegetables, no ‘fiber’, no ‘sweeteners’. No ethanol. In other words, the so-called Historically Appropriate Human Diet (HAHD).

I also think that so-called sugar alcohols and sweeteners deserve their own discussion.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #51

I just created the following topic, which I think may be relevant to the discussion here. If interested, please check it out. Thanks.


I know some people can pull it off, I just doubt I am among them. Not much muscle, no big activity, I am even short! And healthy, yep, I have that, at least.
I am really curious now so I will try out high total with low net and higher net and total (but with way less total than in the first case). It seems I got back my water weight changes (just 1kg between a carby diet and keto) so I can use it as a sign of ketosis or lack of it. It may be not correct but I can’t have a better one. I feel exactly the same in and out of ketosis nowadays except if I cross one of my more important limits and probably some other factors interfere too.
When I still had a better idea about when I was in ketosis, I surely went out of it when I went above about 45g net, I felt the changes. But I never tracked my total and whenever my net went up, my total went up too. Now it’s different but I am clueless about me being in ketosis. So I use my weight as an indicator until I still have this (but WHY I have this, I eat less carbs then when I slowly lost my water weight changes…).

I already know I don’t need 20g for ketosis as I never ever went close to that and got fat adapted just fine. I just don’t know if the circa 45g net is my limit or the way higher total… (These numbers didn’t seem to change during the years but as I hardly can tell if I am in ketosis I am unsure. I still felt something different in certain circumstances so I base my hypothesis on those experiences.)

Yes, this is what is odd to me. It makes sense that I started higher (as it was the minimum I could do at least for some weeks) and went lower as I got used to it (and realized that less is better, mere ketosis isn’t enough). But I understand some people need the opposite, I think…

I have lots of healthy carbs :slight_smile: Egg carbs (I have a lot from them) never caused any problem. Or my liver carbs and that would be a lot if I could eat much liver at once…
I am more wary with dairy carbs… And have no problem with the tiny spice/raw vegs carbs. Amounts matter a lot.
And while I avoid starches, they are loads better than sugars (even though the animal carbs are sugars too. amounts matter, again).
And it matters a lot if I eat the carbs alone or with fat. I never forget what I learned about that and my body 1-2 years ago… It turned out that while I handle sugars way better than someone with diabetes who eats a waaaaay carbier diet than me normally… I can sugar poison myself with extremely little sugar, way below my ketosis carb limit. I just need to consume it alone. It’s not fun. But with some fatty protein? Nothing. But I never couldn’t notice this in a bigger scale. I always ate a lot of fat when I ate much carbs, I couldn’t even avoid it. Fat balances out carbs somewhat, mitigate the problems (while causing massive overeating but it still feels better than HCLF, not like I know what that is like. I just know my body screams for a lot of fat after much carbs and little fat, each and every time). Has this some scientific explanation…? Or why some of us feel that while others can do HCLF without feeling totally awful, craving fat like crazy? It’s the strongest compulsion ever for me, I can’t resist. I crave fat on keto and carnivore too but not as much as on a carbier diet. And not because I am hungry, I need protein for that. It’s to sooth the imbalance caused by carbs, not ideal, the carbs stay but better than without.

I could use more simple short videos and rather articles to understand things more. The too scientific, lengthy, boring things aren’t for me and I feel a bit bad when wondering about things here… Oh well.

But this very topic… At least it doesn’t matter so much to me as my best woe is very low net and total at the same time. I need some more variety sometimes but even then, my total is still below my old net… I am just curious.

(Wendy) #53

:grimacing: heck no. Would be a wise choice to consume as little carbs, and to stay away from counting net carbs if at all possible.