Total Carbs vs. Net Carbs

I often get the question from people who are new to Keto the difference between counting total carbs and counting net carbs. 

This is a topic that is widely debated in Keto circles, so for a lot of people it’s up to personal preference.  People who want to be a bit stricter for health purposes find that counting TOTAL carbs works best for them.

However, if you are new to Keto, I highly suggest you start off by counting Net Carbs.  The reason is simple.  

You need to know exactly what you are putting in your body.  By counting Net Carbs, you are actively paying attention to the amount of Dietary Fiber, Sugar, and Sugar Alcohols that you put into your body. This is an important aspect to Keto that you really need to pay attention to when you first start out.

A lot of companies sneak sugars into their foods for flavor purposes and if you don’t know what to look for, it can be very confusing.  They may call it something different besides sugar, or you may have a sugar alcohol that isn’t keto at all!  Xylitol, Erithrytol, and Stevia are all Keto friendly.  Maltodextrin, Sucralose, and anything glucose related are NOT.  Educate yourself on the difference and pay attention to the keto friendly ones when you consume them.  Sometimes even though they don’t kick one person out of ketosis, they may have a different effect on you.

For me, it is a personal preference that I count Net Carbs and keep those under 20 grams of carbs per day. I try to only use Stevia in my recipes. 

So, how do you calculate Net Carbs?  

It’s so easy!!  All it takes is some simple math!  I know…math is a bad word for some, but seriously…so easy.

You take the total carbs on the nutrition facts label and subtract the dietary fiber.

Voila! You have net carbs!

There are a couple of instances in which you’ll need to do a bit more math.  If the item you’re eating has any sugar alcohols in it, then you will need to subtract half of that number.  NOTE: If you buy something from a store that advertises how many net carbs it contains, be aware that they subtract ALL sugar alcohols.  This is also debated in Keto circles as to how to subtract these.

Personally, I choose to subtract half because that way I can make sure not to go over my carb intake in other areas.  Keto baked goods and treats are not something you want to overeat.  They’re typically higher in carbs anyway, and I’d prefer to use those carbs in my vegetables.

Calculating net carbs is easy!  Subtract any dietary grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs and you have your net grams of carbs!

Calculating net carbs is easy!  Subtract any dietary grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs and you have your net grams of carbs!

It's that simple!  Still have questions?  Leave me a comment and I'll be happy to answer!

Until then, let's keep it keto!