Total carbs VS net carbs


I am learning and trying a I go. I started Keto mid Nov '18 and have lost 16lbs. I have 30 to go. But I don’t understand the total carbs VS the net carbs. Can someone explain this to me? Which should I be following? I have been trying for the total carbs.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #2

Net carbs are what is left when dietary fiber is subtracted

(John) #3

Net = total minus fiber.

(less is more, more or less) #4

This is a frequent question here, no need to start a new thread:

(Running from stupidity) #5



I don’t have good results at all if I use net carbs. I think you just have to experiment with your body and see what works for you.

(Empress of the Unexpected) #7

Using the search function is very helpful. I have received so many answers through it. Just click on the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner and type in your concern.

(David Cooke) #8

I was using “My Fitness Pal” for a month before I realised that it was listing net total carbs and not net carbs.


In most countries the food label shows - Total Carbs on the label.

Then you subtract fibre from that because unlike sugar and wheat, fibre is good for you and essentially goes in one door and out the other.

So Net Carbs is Total Carbs minus Fibre.

For example an Avocado might have 10g Total Carbs but 8g Fibre so you only count it as 10-8 = 2g net carbs.

For keto we often use 20g Net Carbs as the speed limit.

BTW - most of those should come from vegetables (who knew).

BUT Phinney (the guy who coined the term “nutritional ketosis”) and his partner Volek have started to use 50g Total Carbs as per “The Art and Science … Performance”. Whereas in “The Art and Science … Living” (the first book) 20g net was often used.

We had a survey here a while ago, it was about 60:40% in favour of Net Carbs.

Hope that helps.

(Richard M) #10

Yes. I just noticed that now. I’m a newbie. I have been having great success using MFP as a counter. So I guess I will stick with total carb counting and consider it a win win if I stay within 20-25g and keep losing weight. It also means That my carbs are low.

(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #11

That sounds like a good strategy. Everyone’s carb threshold (the amount they can eat without triggering a major insulin response) is different. We recommend a limit of 20 g/day because it is guaranteed to get almost everyone successfully into ketosis (though some people with bad insulin resistance may need to eat less).

Once you are fat-adapted, you can try eating a bit more carbohydrate, if you want to at that point, to see how your body reacts. Many people find that by that point they no longer want a significant amount of carbohydrate in their diet. And of course, the body has no need of carbohydrate in the diet at all.


a carb is a carb
no use pretending it isn’t if we ‘net it out’ LOL

count total carbs and you can never go wrong :slight_smile:


It’s individual. I never cared about my total as they always seemed irrelevant to me and I couldn’t keep them low anyway. We have very different starting points on keto, our body works differently too. It’s nice and safe to go below 20g total so if someone can do it, go for it. I needed (and could afford, thankfully) a higher than usual net and unlimited total (with way less benefits but still better than no change) before I could drastically lower both on my good days. It would have been great to do it from the beginning but some of us has these limits…