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Old 05-12-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
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Net carbs?

Is there really validity to the concept of "net carbs"? I bought some low carb tortillas that have 6g "net carbs". They actually have 32g carbs, and 26g fiber. From the ingredients list, it looks like cellulose has been added to increase the fiber content.

I'm having a hard time believing that I can maintain my low carb WOE with these. I apologize if this has been addressed before. But, what is the current verdict on "net carbs" from the LCF experts?
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:02 AM   #2
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Depends what plan you follow. I tend to eat in accordance to Nutritional Ketosis recommendations, so I pretty much stay at less than 50 g total carbs a day (usually much less). Some people only worry about net carbs (subtracting fiber and sugar alchohols) Others subtract fiber but not sugar alcohols. Others subtract fiber but only half of the sugar alcohols. Personally I would not, at this point anyway, touch the tortillas you are describing. But YMMV.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:07 AM   #3
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Only way you will know is to see if they stall you when eaten..If you are doing atkins and they contain wheat they shouldn't be added until you are in maintenance any way... this way of eating is all trial and error...you have to see what works for you... I count net carbs but that seems like alot of fiber in one shell...if it doesn't stall you I would think it would give you some tummy troubles if nothing else. Too much fiber too fast gives me gut trouble.

As for net and actuual carbs, some count net and some who are more sensetive to carbs count actual... it all relative...you have to find how many of either you tolerate to lose and stay below that number...I hope that make sense...an example would be that I can lose steady on 20 net carbs or 40 actual carbs...its an individual thing...the carbs people subtract can make a huge difference too...the only carbs I really subtract are from carbs I know do not stall me...malitol stalls me so I don't subtract those.

It is very individual and you can only fond out by experimentation...some people can't stop eating the carbs after they have reintroduced them especially wheat and sugar carbs, as they are somewhat addictive to some of us...one bite and I want more.

Good luck and choose wisely.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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there is NO GOOD REASON to count fiber carbs. they are not digested as carbs.

I just don't understand how this can be an issue so many years after this was understood. to me it's as old fashioned as bleeding people with leeches to cure them of disease. *sigh*

the trouble with net carbs comes from OTHER things people try to subtract, mainly sugar alcohols. those are a different matter.

the other issue is that European labels do NOT add the fiber into the total carb count, so if you subtract it you will be counting the carbs wrong. European labeling reflects the actual metabolism of carbs, while American labels are behind the science by many decades.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:15 AM   #5
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there is NO GOOD REASON to count fiber carbs. they are not digested as carbs.
So, this assumes that the 32g of carbs in these tortillas, consists of 26g of fiber carbs; leaving 6g that are actually digested as carbs.

As opposed to 32g of carbs, that are somehow "offset" by an additional 26g of fiber carbs. Correct?
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:34 AM   #6
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Dh is type one diabetic. So he has to take insulin anytime he eats carbs, for the amount of carbs he has eaten. He subtracts fiber from the total carb count. If it is just 1 or 2 g fiber he doesn't, but 26g, he would.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:59 AM   #7
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there is NO GOOD REASON to count fiber carbs. they are not digested as carbs.

I just don't understand how this can be an issue so many years after this was understood. to me it's as old fashioned as bleeding people with leeches to cure them of disease. *sigh*

the trouble with net carbs comes from OTHER things people try to subtract, mainly sugar alcohols. those are a different matter.

the other issue is that European labels do NOT add the fiber into the total carb count, so if you subtract it you will be counting the carbs wrong. European labeling reflects the actual metabolism of carbs, while American labels are behind the science by many decades.
To me, it's not just about whether the carbs are digested. It's about whether there is a release of insulin and/or a rise in blood glucose following consumption of said product. Post #21 in this thread: Do you or have you eaten low carb tortillas? is a specific example of a person whose blood glucose "skyrockets" after eating LC tortillas. I know personally my fasting insulin has gone up after brushing my teeth with xylitol toothpaste (no other food consumed for at least 12 hours prior). For my health, avoiding foods that raise my insulin or blood glucose is important to me, so I don't risk it by eating "low carb" tortillas.

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Old 05-12-2013, 12:40 PM   #8
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I don't eat those tortillas until I'm well into my weight loss, and then I only eat them rarely. I mostly subtract veggie fiber, but I don't subtract all of the fiber from "LC" products, partially because I don't always trust the labels (google the tests of some popular LC breads and pastas, and you'll see why), and partially because they're not good for me to get too used to eating, and I won't eat them more than once or twice a month, even when I'm well past induction.

Right now, I'm staying away from bread-like products anyway.

And I do not subtract sugar alcohols.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Well, I know this is not a response to your Q, but I would avoid them bc it is so easy to be grain free doing atkins and I really feel that grains, and especially wheat, can cause us problems. I also think that eating that much fiber is one go sounds troublesome.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ntombi View Post
I don't subtract all of the fiber from "LC" products, partially because I don't always trust the labels (google the tests of some popular LC breads and pastas, and you'll see why)


Calculating net carbs is a good think - there's no reason to count carbs from fiber.

But a lot of processed "low-carb" products which list net carbs are, by most accounts, misleadingly labeled.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:55 PM   #11
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I follow the mantra "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" philosophy concerning net carbs. Seven grams total and three fiber? I'll count that as four. 30 grams total and 28 fiber? I'm going to be looking really close. If it's mostly flax seed, I'll probably count it as 2g. If it's mostly franken-wheat, it's going to be considered 30g and I'm not touching it.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Gatton View Post
Is there really validity to the concept of "net carbs"? I bought some low carb tortillas that have 6g "net carbs". They actually have 32g carbs, and 26g fiber. From the ingredients list, it looks like cellulose has been added to increase the fiber content.

I'm having a hard time believing that I can maintain my low carb WOE with these. I apologize if this has been addressed before. But, what is the current verdict on "net carbs" from the LCF experts?
My understanding of net carbs is that it's okay to subtract grams of fiber if they are naturally part of the food, like broccoli or flax seed. Adding fiber like cellulose does not magically subtract carbs from wheat or other grains. I think it's misleading because we don't know how much of the fiber is from cellulose or the other ingredients.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Geekin' in Utah View Post
I follow the mantra "if it's too good to be true, it probably is" philosophy concerning net carbs. Seven grams total and three fiber? I'll count that as four. 30 grams total and 28 fiber? I'm going to be looking really close. If it's mostly flax seed, I'll probably count it as 2g. If it's mostly franken-wheat, it's going to be considered 30g and I'm not touching it.
That's an excellent rule of thumb. Always, always, always check ingredients. If it is something benign, like huge amounts of psyllium husk or flax, you're probably good. But a bunch of modified grain products, sugar alcohols, or other food chemistry ingredients and I'd be wary of how my body might interpret their science experiment
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:10 AM   #14
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In Atkins 72 there was no mention of net carbs.
At one time I believed that Dr. A incorporated the concept in new diet revolution.
Then I bought the book and could find no reference to net carbs in this, later edition of the good doctors master work.
So, unless someone here knows something I don't (and believe me, I realize that this is a likely scenario) I will continue to believe that Dr. Atkins himself did not endorse a "net carb" approach.
I would truly welcome anyone quoting the good doctor, not the corporate "Dr. Atkins" or subsequent low carb guru's, but the actual man himself. If he said anything regarding net carbs, I would very much like to hear it.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:14 AM   #15
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It is in 2002's DANDR, which Dr. Atkins wrote. That's the book I first read, and still follow.

Edited to add pic. Here's a page from my book. Same book I've used for 10+ years.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:25 PM   #16
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Excellent Ntombi.
Was there a narrative in the book as well? I don't recall him ever stating that "digestable carbs" are the only ones to be counted. But I didn't recall seeing the chart you displayed either.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:36 PM   #17
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Well, if you are considering what you will use as fuel then you would not count fiber any more than you would count water that you add to "stretch" your soup or to make your sweet beverage less sweet.

Net carbs is only tricky because of the fuzzy math of some sugar alcohols which react differently in different people based on many things, some of which are how long you've eaten that particular sugar alcohol, whether you take probiotics, how well you digest, how much you eat , etc.

You can look up specific SA's to see their actual calorie count per serving to figure out how many carbs to count. For example if a SA has only 4 calories per serving, you could safely assume that 4 calories is equivalent to 1g of carb since 1g of carbs= 4 calories, and so on and so forth. It's hard to do that with a prepackage item with a blend of sweeteners.

Anyway, The tortillas are not magically subtracting carbs , they are basically just a wee bit of wheat and a whole lot of fiber. That gives the same texture as a a full wheat tortilla, but since you cannot digest fiber you only count the carbs of the wee bit of wheat. so basically there are 6 grams of carbs from the wheat and 26g of carbs from the fiber that you can't digest.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:58 PM   #18
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Excellent Ntombi.
Was there a narrative in the book as well? I don't recall him ever stating that "digestable carbs" are the only ones to be counted. But I didn't recall seeing the chart you displayed either.
Yes. This is a shot from a couple of pages into Chapter 8: "Why Atkins Works."
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:48 AM   #19
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thanks for that Ntombi.
After Dr. Atkins' work became a corporate endeavor and the carby Atkins bars and other foods began being marketed, I became very suspicious of what was being promoted as low carb by the corporate 'Atkins' e.g. deducting sugar alcohols, and what was actually stated by Dr. A himself.

These days it is a rarity for me to go off plan and eat something with processed carbs. My carb intake, which is typically below 30g a day, is almost exclusively from veggies, so the insulin spike is minimal and there is always a fiber discount.

Thanks again for being such a great source of factual information.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:16 AM   #20
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You're very welcome.

I too was very disheartened to see all the crap products that were endorsed and produced by Dr. Atkins before he died, and by the company since. I stay far away.

I will say that I'm happy they have stopped putting soy in every blessed thing! When I first started, it was a soy fest. It actually helped me, since I'm deathly allergic to the stuff, but I also found it disappointing that he was advocating that people eat so much of what can be a harmful ingredient.

Anyway. /rant
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:27 AM   #21
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Well, if you are considering what you will use as fuel then you would not count fiber any more than you would count water that you add to "stretch" your soup or to make your sweet beverage less sweet.

Net carbs is only tricky because of the fuzzy math of some sugar alcohols which react differently in different people based on many things, some of which are how long you've eaten that particular sugar alcohol, whether you take probiotics, how well you digest, how much you eat , etc.

You can look up specific SA's to see their actual calorie count per serving to figure out how many carbs to count. For example if a SA has only 4 calories per serving, you could safely assume that 4 calories is equivalent to 1g of carb since 1g of carbs= 4 calories, and so on and so forth. It's hard to do that with a prepackage item with a blend of sweeteners.

Anyway, The tortillas are not magically subtracting carbs , they are basically just a wee bit of wheat and a whole lot of fiber. That gives the same texture as a a full wheat tortilla, but since you cannot digest fiber you only count the carbs of the wee bit of wheat. so basically there are 6 grams of carbs from the wheat and 26g of carbs from the fiber that you can't digest.
This was an excellent explanation, Metqa!
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