When you want to cut down on carbohydrates, it's important to note that there are different types. When you look at a nutrition label, the carbohydrate section is broken down into multiple parts. The amounts are listed in grams as well as percentages. The percentages represent the daily percentage value, typically for a daily diet of 2,000 calories. For this exercise, focus on the number of grams, which are listed by total, dietary fibre and sugars. You can calculate the net carbohydrates in food using these numbers listed on the label. For foods without attached nutrition labels, resources are provided to help you determine the net carbohydrates.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Nutrition label
- Paper and pencil
Locate the nutrition label on the food. For fruits and vegetables, fast foods or other foods without nutrition labels, use a nutrition-fact database. Look up the type of food at Nutritiondata.com or Nal.usda.gov. (See "Additional Resources," below.)
Find the number of total carbohydrates for the food. Total carbohydrates are normally listed in the bottom half of the nutrition label, after the fat grams, cholesterol, sodium and potassium facts.
Subtract the number of fibre grams from the total grams of carbohydrates. For a quick reference you can also use the database at Carb-counter.org. (See "Additional Resources," below.) The net carbohydrates are already factored out on the website, organised by food name.
Figure out how many servings you will eat or have eaten. If you are only having one serving, the number received from Step 3 is the amount of net carbohydrates. If you have two or more servings, multiply the number of servings by the number of net carbohydrates.
Use information about food with net carbohydrates in conjunction with eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly. Use this calculation method to figure out net carbohydrates on your own, rather than falling prey to unchecked "low net carbohydrate" labels on the front of food packages.
Tips and warnings
- Remember to multiply the net carbohydrates by the number of servings you eat to get a more accurate figure.
- Do not eat foods solely based on their net carbohydrates; you also need to consider overall nutritional quality. Low net carbohydrates does not mean a food is low in fat or calories.
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