The Truth About Net Carbs

The Truth About Net Carbs

By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S


There is a huge craze right now with fitness bars and food manufacturers labeling their foods with “net carbs.” Let’s discuss this and see what science and application says about the real impact of net carbs.


One big weight loss bar out right now is the Quest Bar. Crossfit fanatics, fitness pros, and people wanting to lose weight are eating bars like these every day, and even twice a day because they are “low carb” and easy to eat on the go.


The Quest Bar says on the label there are only 3g of “net carbs”. What does that even mean?


Well, the truth shall set you free.


These companies are using “net carbs” on labels because some of the carbs found in the bar supposedly don’t affect blood sugar levels in the same way as normal carbs or “impact carbs.”


Net carbs are labeled so because carbs such as alcohol sugars (mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and other polyols) and fiber are insoluble. This means theses types of carbs often pass through the intestinal tract without being absorbed for nutrients.


However, to consume alcohol sugars in large amounts starts to degrade the health of our guts and causes a cascade of events because of this disrupted gut health.


Sugar alcohols create a “laxative effect” much like high fructose fruits. This includes diarrhea and bloating. So all the ladies out there that feel like their tummies are sticking out further than normal, you may be bloated from excessive alcohol sugars.


Before, we mentioned how some of these food companies say sugar alcohols don’t raise blood sugar like normal carbs, so they don’t count them. However, we have found research that shows otherwise. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that sugar alcohols still contain calories. Although 1g of normal carbs contain 4 calories, sugar alcohols contain 2-3 calories, which means it still can affect blood sugar levels.


Moral of the story:




All the fast bars and quick protein drinks and things are great if used very sparingly and as a last resort, but eating excessive amounts of these “net carbs”, which we now know are real carbs still, can affect our digestive health, blood sugar, and ultimately our continuous weight gain.


Instead, eat a hefty portion of protein, a thumb size portion of omega-3 fats, a hefty portion of veggies, and moderate starchy carbs, fruits, and sugars.


You may have no clue where to begin in terms of picking the right foods and the right amounts. Sign up for a free fat loss strategy call with us and we can help you find a way to eat real food and what your nutrition and training should look like to achieve your dream body.


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