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Caution! Watch Out For The Net Carb Trap!

As a low carb dieter, you have probablybeen bombarded with all sorts of newfood terminology. One of the phrasesyou've probably heard time and time again is"net carbs." Net carbs is the newterm food producers are usingto describe the amount of carbohydrates in food that have a significant impacton blood sugar levels.

Food producers use a relatively simple formula to determinenet carbs. They take the totalamount of carbohydrates andthen subtract the amount ofcarbohydrates that have a "negligible"effect on blood sugar.

For instance, let's say a food producermakes a candy bar that contains 20 gramsof carbohydrates. Two grams of thosecarbohydrates are in the form offiber. Fifteen grams are in the formof various sugar alcohols. That makesa total of 17 grams of carbohydratesthat have a "negligible" effect onblood sugar. Subtract 17 from 20and you have your total amountof "net carbs"--three.

While the advent of "net carb" labels may seem like a godsendas a low carb dieter, it is importantto realize that these labelsare somewhat deceptive.

To begin with, different types of "negligible"carbohydrates have different effectson blood sugar levels.

Whereas fiber may have a truly negligibleeffect on blood sugar levels,sugar alcohols are an entirely different story.

According to experts, sugar alcoholsaffect blood sugar levels at a slower andless complete rate than normal sugars do--and also in a different manner from person toperson. Some diabetics claim that theyfeel an immediate sugar rush after consumingsmall amounts of sugar alcohol while othersreport no change whatsoever.

Whatever the case is for you, it is probablybetter to ignore the "net carb" labelson products--and instead go straight tothe nutritional information panel. Figure outexactly why the product is "low carb."

If there are no sugar alcohols, you caneat the product without thinkingtwice; if the product has a significantamount of sugar alcohol, you should eitherskip it entirely or count each gram of thesugar alcohol as 1/4 to 1/3 of a gram ofcarbohydrates. If you follow thisapproach to assessing "net carbs," youwill avoid unnecessary cravings andseemingly inexplicable weight-lossstalls.

Benji Paras runs, specializing in the benefits of the low-carb lifestyle. The site contains a treasure trove of information for losing weight, and includes a list of low carb foods along with informative articles and the latest low-carb headlines.


New York Times (blog)

Well | Counting Your Bites for Weight Loss
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Medical News Today

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