What Are Net Carbs?


Written by Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc. on November 24, 2014.

Scientifically reviewed by

Jonathan Clinthorne, Ph.D. Human Nutrition.

When you follow the Atkins diet, aka the Atkins Nutrition Approach, you actually count grams of net carbs, which represent the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content and sugar alcohols (if in the product). 1 The net carbs number reflects the grams of carbohydrate that significantly impact your blood sugar level and therefore are the only carbs you need to count when you do Atkins. Foods that are low in net carbs, such as nutrient-dense vegetables and low glycemic fruits like berries, don’t have a significant impact on blood sugar and therefore are less likely to interfere with weight loss. 2 3

How to Calculate Net Carbs

You can calculate the approximate number of net carb grams of a low carb product yourself by looking at the information provided on a food label:

Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols (if applicable)

Calculating the net carbs for foods without labels, such as fruits and vegetables, is easy, too. The Atkins Carb Counter assists with portioning food and tracking carbs that impact blood sugar.

Atkins science allows us to calculate net carbs in our products more accurately. In the case of Atkins bars, shakes, and other products, the glycemic (blood sugar) impact has been directly tested on volunteers, and the net carb count reflects the glycemic load test results. So you can rely on the accuracy of the stated net carb count.

Register with Atkins today to learn more about carbohydrates.

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2006: Equivalent glycemic load (EGL): a method for quantifying the glycemic responses elicited by low carbohydrate foods

Glycemic load (GL) is used to quantify the glycemic impact of high-carbohydrate (CHO) foods, but cannot be used for low-CHO foods. Therefore, we evaluated the accuracy of equivalent-glycemic-load (EGL), a measure of the glycemic impact of low-CHO foods defined as the amount of CHO from white-bread (WB) with the same glycemic impact as one serving of food…

Evidence Based
Sydney University Glycemic Index Research Service, Everything you need to know about GI
Search our comprehensive database of GI tested foods. Complete with data for Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, serving size, direct references to the studies used to CALCULATE the VALUES, and more…

Evidence Based
PubMed Central, National Library of Medicine,
2014: Effect of the glycemic index of the diet on weight loss, modulation of satiety, inflammation, and other metabolic risk factors: a randomized controlled trial

Low-glycemic index (GI) diets have been proven to have beneficial effects in such chronic conditions as type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and some types of cancer, but the effect of low-GI diets on weight loss, satiety, and inflammation is still controversial… A low-GI and energy-restricted diet containing moderate amounts of carbohydrates may be more effective than a high-GI and low-fat diet at reducing body weight and controlling glucose and insulin metabolism.

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