Skip Nav

How to Calculate Net Carbs

How Do You Calculate Net Carbs? This Formula Breaks It Down

Photographer: Maria del RioEditorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.Photographer: Maria del RioInternal and Editorial use approved. OK for Native and Co-Branded use.

Whether you're following the keto diet or just want to eat low-carb for weight loss, you are probably all too familiar with counting your carbs and staying within a certain threshold for the day. But what about net carbs? Usually reserved for people who are diabetic, net carbs can actually be helpful if you want to know how the food you eat will impact your blood sugar.

The most basic way to calculate net carbs is by subtracting the dietary fibre from the overall carbs. (Net Carbs = Total Carbs - Dietary Fibre.) For example, an apple has 25 grams of carbs and four grams of dietary fibre, which means a apple has around 21 net carbs. Another way to calculate net carbs is by subtracting the fibre and sugar alcohols from total carbohydrates (Net Carbs = Total Carbs - Dietary Fibre - Sugar Alcohols); a Quest Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough protein bar has 21 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fibre, and three grams of erythritol, so it has just four grams of net carbs. The problem with this is many foods don't list the amount of sugar alcohols on the nutrition label.

Since fibre isn't fully digested by your body, proponents of counting net carbs say it's a more accurate way of determining how food will affect your blood sugar. A high-fibre food, such as black beans, won't spike your blood sugar as much as a food made of more simple carbs, such as a slice of white bread. However, net carbs is not a term recognised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

While some diets, such as the Atkins diet, rely on calculating net carbs as part of the program, it's not typically advised for the keto diet. If you think counting net carbs would be helpful for you, be sure to speak to a registered dietitian or your doctor about it. Otherwise, it's best to stick to counting total carbs as part of your macros or calorie counting and staying within your daily target.

More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
Best Low-Carb Pasta Sauces
Best Foods For Joint Health, According to a Dietitian
Best Juicers on Amazon
Here’s When to Reach For a Sports Drink Over Water
Does Stress Impact Your Energy?
Registered Dietitians' Tips For Manageing Loss of Appetite
Low-Carb Meal-Prep Recipes
How to Stop Overeating When You're at Home
Healthy Eating Tips For When You're Working From Home
Can Intermittent Fasting Cause Nausea?
How to Make Breakfast More Filling
A Dietitian Explains the Rule of Fists For Macros on TikTok
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds