Net vs Total carb

cornylady

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Which should I be looking at? I thought I was looking at total carbs but I have recently learnt that UK packaging actually shows net carbs. I’m a recently diagnosed T2 and just learning what works for my body, but now a bit confused. What should I be checking and how do I know what the package is actually telling me? Thanks all
 
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In Response

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On UK packaging, there is no such thing as "Net carbs". There is only "Total carbs".
Unlike US packaging (and US websites), the UK Total carbs excludes fibre. Fibre is not digested so does not affect BG. Therefore, when counting carbs in the UK (and when using UK websites), you only need to consider "Total carbs".

Take care when looking up anything in the internet as it is common to come across US websites where FibER is included in total carbs. The hint will be with the spelling of FibER.

However, when you are considering the impact of foods on your body when you are not calculating insulin dose based on number of carbs, what is important is how your body reacts to the specific food you are eating. Sure some people aim for a total carbs for the day but the impact will be very different if you eat 100g sweets or 100g porridge or a combination of full far yogurt, strawberries, a small potato, a bit of swede and some roasted squash which adds up to 100g carbs.
 

cornylady

Member
Messages
23
Type of diabetes
Type 2
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Diet only
Dislikes
entitled people, traffic jams, politics
On UK packaging, there is no such thing as "Net carbs". There is only "Total carbs".
Unlike US packaging (and US websites), the UK Total carbs excludes fibre. Fibre is not digested so does not affect BG. Therefore, when counting carbs in the UK (and when using UK websites), you only need to consider "Total carbs".

Take care when looking up anything in the internet as it is common to come across US websites where FibER is included in total carbs. The hint will be with the spelling of FibER.

However, when you are considering the impact of foods on your body when you are not calculating insulin dose based on number of carbs, what is important is how your body reacts to the specific food you are eating. Sure some people aim for a total carbs for the day but the impact will be very different if you eat 100g sweets or 100g porridge or a combination of full far yogurt, strawberries, a small potato, a bit of swede and some roasted squash which adds up to 100g carbs.

Thank you. So when using apps like Carb Manager it’s OK to follow the net carbs and not dig into the stats to find the total carbs? As this is basically what I’m looking at on the on the packaging anyway?
 

In Response

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3,428
Type of diabetes
Type 1
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Thank you. So when using apps like Carb Manager it’s OK to follow the net carbs and not dig into the stats to find the total carbs? As this is basically what I’m looking at on the on the packaging anyway?
Sorry, I have no idea about the app you are using or you usage.
I have Type 1 diabetes and only count carbs to calculate my insulin dose. I do not care about my daily macros, for example.
 

HSSS

Expert
Messages
7,471
Type of diabetes
Type 2
Treatment type
Diet only
On UK packaging, there is no such thing as "Net carbs". There is only "Total carbs".
Unlike US packaging (and US websites), the UK Total carbs excludes fibre. Fibre is not digested so does not affect BG. Therefore, when counting carbs in the UK (and when using UK websites), you only need to consider "Total carbs".

Take care when looking up anything in the internet as it is common to come across US websites where FibER is included in total carbs. The hint will be with the spelling of FibER.

However, when you are considering the impact of foods on your body when you are not calculating insulin dose based on number of carbs, what is important is how your body reacts to the specific food you are eating. Sure some people aim for a total carbs for the day but the impact will be very different if you eat 100g sweets or 100g porridge or a combination of full far yogurt, strawberries, a small potato, a bit of swede and some roasted squash which adds up to 100g carbs.
Agreed. Counting (indigestible and non glucose increasing) fibre in your (total) carb count simply limits fresh vegetable, seeds and nuts unnecessarily.

However
In the UK there is no concept of “total carbs” and to use that specific word is confusing with the USA concept where they mean it includes fiber. UK carbs are just listed as “carbs”. It corresponds the USA net carbs count as no fibre is included. The fibre on our counts are already listed entirely separately so no deductions to be done.

Some UK people use “total carbs” in a different way - to mean the “of which sugars” amount is included in carb count, rather than meaning fibre is included. This causes confusion with the USA definition which is prevalent thanks to the internet. In either continent‘s listing the ”of which sugars” amount can be disregarded for basic type 2 carb counting reasons. It’s only really relevant for insulin users needing to know how fast the carbs will hit them as sugar itself is a fast carb.

Sorry. I’m a pedantic one woman crusade to clarify this issue that I see UK people confused about time after time after time on many groups made worse by use of this one word “total”
 
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HSSS

Expert
Messages
7,471
Type of diabetes
Type 2
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Thank you. So when using apps like Carb Manager it’s OK to follow the net carbs and not dig into the stats to find the total carbs? As this is basically what I’m looking at on the on the packaging anyway?
Yes use net carbs.

But be very careful on carb manager. Many of the pre listed amounts are people confusing the USA and uk carb listings and confusing net and total carb amounts and rarely are these audited to ensure accuracy. So you could end up with accidentally including fibre (ie USA total carbs) and getting much higher carb counts or deducting fibre the American way when looking at a uk label and getting false low amounts.

Always enter the amounts the first time for yourself and save them, or use a clearly UK based listing eg from a uk supermarket to avoid these user errors from others affecting your records.
 
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Damien Dufty

Member
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7
Type of diabetes
Type 2
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Tablets (oral)
Which should I be looking at? I thought I was looking at total carbs but I have recently learnt that UK packaging actually shows net carbs. I’m a recently diagnosed T2 and just learning what works for my body, but now a bit confused. What should I be checking and how do I know what the package is actually telling me? Thanks all
I'm also searching for the answer to this question.
 

HSSS

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I'm also searching for the answer to this question.
Lucky you found this thread then (although it’s a common question)

In the uk look at the number next to carbs. No deductions required. Ignore (for most purposes here as a type 2) the of which sugars bit and the fibRE bit.

If it’s an America website, article, label, recipe check if it’s net carbs (ie the same measure as the uk) or total (in which case deducted the fibER to get net carbs)
 
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Jaylee

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Retired Moderator
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18,224
Type of diabetes
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Agreed. Counting (indigestible and non glucose increasing) fibre in your (total) carb count simply limits fresh vegetable, seeds and nuts unnecessarily.

However
In the UK there is no concept of “total carbs” and to use that specific word is confusing with the USA concept where they mean it includes fiber. UK carbs are just listed as “carbs”. It corresponds the USA net carbs count as no fibre is included. The fibre on our counts are already listed entirely separately so no deductions to be done.

Some UK people use “total carbs” in a different way - to mean the “of which sugars” amount is included in carb count, rather than meaning fibre is included. This causes confusion with the USA definition which is prevalent thanks to the internet. In either continent‘s listing the ”of which sugars” amount can be disregarded for basic type 2 carb counting reasons. It’s only really relevant for insulin users needing to know how fast the carbs will hit them as sugar itself is a fast carb.

Sorry. I’m a pedantic one woman crusade to clarify this issue that I see UK people confused about time after time after time on many groups made worse by use of this one word “total”
Hi,

thanks for posting this.

I see “of which are sugars.” (UK.)
As a heads up on part the total carb count (as an insulin user.) what to expect with my bolus profile. I keep any carbs pretty low for the dose. But avoid any “of which are sugars” snapping at the heels of the overal.
Unless I know it’s a hypo fixer…
 

HSSS

Expert
Messages
7,471
Type of diabetes
Type 2
Treatment type
Diet only
Hi,

thanks for posting this.

I see “of which are sugars.” (UK.)
As a heads up on part the total carb count (as an insulin user.) what to expect with my bolus profile. I keep any carbs pretty low for the dose. But avoid any “of which are sugars” snapping at the heels of the overal.
Unless I know it’s a hypo fixer…
Agreed it has more relevance to a type 1 (or any insulin user I guess) which is why I said for the purposes of basic counting for a type 2 and mentioned the insulin aspect.
Still doesn’t change the main point of the conversation about total, net or plain old carbs on their own nonclemature and the inclusion or not of fibER\fibRE
 
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Type of diabetes
Don't have diabetes
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Which should I be looking at? I thought I was looking at total carbs but I have recently learnt that UK packaging actually shows net carbs. I’m a recently diagnosed T2 and just learning what works for my body, but now a bit confused. What should I be checking and how do I know what the package is actually telling me? Thanks all
I would be very careful with all labels on any food item. The reason being that these labels may or may not be accurate. There is no body scientific that examines or controls the contents of the products sold in supermarkets for their accurateness. Any such quality control of independent research institutions is highly limited in scope and time. Companies can basically state the values they consider accurate, they do not have to prove their accurateness. I have found that the best way to control ingredients and values is by creating everything from scratch in my own kitchen.