Net Carbohydrate Deception: Reading Food Labels

Food labeling has always been a tricky industry, in theory manufacturers are required to provide accurate information, but the reality is quite different – especially in the natural weight loss department. Manufacturers are required by law to declare all forms of carbohydrates in the "total carbohydrate" number located on the Nutrition Facts label on food packages. However, many manufacturers of protein bars and other food supplements are advertising a reduced carbohydrate number on the package that they refer to as "net", "effective", or "impact" carbohydrates.

Reading Food Labels

For instance the Atkins bar claims that some of their bars such as their S’mores bar contains 27 grams of carbohydrates but they claim the “net carbs” are just 3 grams of carbohydrates. Their view is that the sugar alcohols like glycerin (glycerol), are not metabolized as carbohydrates and, therefore, do not include these carbohydrate grams in their net carbohydrate number.

The truth is sugar alcohols will raise your blood sugars, albeit not as much as table sugar, but will raise your blood sugars nonetheless. A more accurate way of computing net carbs is to take the total carbs and subtract the grams of fiber. Therefore, a S’mores bar with 11 grams of fiber would have 17 grams of net carbs – which is still a very high amount of carbs for a diabetic.

According to Dr. Richard Bernstein, author of Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution:

“I tell my diabetic patients to avoid all snack bars. The ‘net carbohydrates’ claim simply isn’t true. What is true is that the bars actually raise blood sugars to dangerous levels.”

Instead of eating processed snack bars with unhealthy ingredients, we encourage you to stick to whole foods when you feel like having a snack such as deviled eggs, nuts and seeds, fruit, veggies and humus, protein shake etc..


About the Author:
Dr. Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in natural weight loss and food addiction. She created to help millions of people achieve optimal health, natural weight loss and life success with her free weekly e-newsletter (sign up at the top of this page.)