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Total Carbs vs Net Carbs… What Really Counts?

By on March 5, 2018
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by Tami Mungenast CPT CNWC

With the growing popularity of a healthier carbohydrate life style for weight management and improved health, we often hear the term “Net Carbs” or “Impact Carbs.” This terminology can leave people confused as to what the difference is and how it affects them. The truth is all carbs are not created equal. An impact carb or net carb is basically any type of carbohydrate that has a high impact on your blood sugar level. These carbohydrates digest rapidly and go into the blood stream and create an insulin spike. They are converted into immediate energy, stored energy or stored as body fat in the presence of a higher carb intake. Basically too many net carbs can be damaging not only to your waistline but also to your health leading to illnesses like obesity, metabolic resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Non-impact carbs on the other hand enter the blood stream at a much slower rate and typically do not cause an insulin spike or lead to fat storage.

images-5To determine what the net carbs or impact carbs of a food are you subtract the grams of fiber per serving from the total carbohydrates per serving. For example if a food item has 15 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fiber, it has 10 net carbs.That means only 10 of those carbs will impact blood sugar. Fiber does not spike blood sugar. Fiber is essential for internal organ function and in the carb counting world it’s considered a “free carb.” Consuming foods with fiber make this type of carb a win-win for those who are health conscience.   Foods that are low in net carbs such as nutrient dense vegetables and fruits have a minimal impact on blood sugar and are excellent choices for anyone looking to achieve a healthy weight and better health.