A ketogenic diet provides a wide variety of foods such as fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds and low carb fruits, and tracking the net carbs of these foods is relatively easy. When it comes to packaged foods, however, it can be confusing as to what piece of nutritional information on the label is net carbs, and if the fiber has already been subtracted.
This confusion comes from the layout of nutritional labels and how countries vary in their presentation of net carbs. Some countries show different values on the carbohydrate line of the nutritional label and it is difficult to determine the exact net carbs due to that variability.
Reading Nutrition Labels
There are usually four different items clearly displayed on a nutritional label and these are:
- Sugar Alcohols
- Dietary Fiber
When a nutritional label lists total carbs with sugars, sugar alcohols and dietary fiber listed underneath, then the total carb label shows total carbohydrates.
This label has 0g Total Carbs and 0g Dietary Fiber.
Net Carbs with Fiber
When the label shows fiber as a separate line, usually shown as “Dietary Fiber”, and is NOT listed as a subsection of carbohydrates, then the carb label is showing net carbohydrates.
This label has 8.7g Total Carbs, 1.7g Net Carbs, and 7g Fiber.
Net Carbs with Fiber AND Sugar Alcohols
When the label shows sugar alcohols as a separate line and is NOT listed as a subsection of carbohydrates, then the label shows net carbohydrates.
This label has 16.g Total Carbs, 1.9g Net Carbs, 7.3g FIber, and 7.3g Sugar Alcohols.
If you are confused about which sugar alcohols are keto friendly, I have a post coming soon all about this.
Nutritional Labels In Different Countries
In the United States of America, nutritional labels generally show total carbohydrates and list the dietary fibre as a part of the carbohydrate content.
Australia and Europe
In Australia, the nutritional labels often show net carbohydrates and list dietary fiber as a separate value that is not a part of the carbohydrate content.
Understanding how to read nutritional labels is a must when shopping for ingredients on a ketogenic diet, especially when it comes to “keto-friendly alternatives” which often contain more carbohydrates than initially expected.
For reference, all nutritional labels on my site show total carbs for the carbohydrate content and fiber as part of that value.
This means for every fatforweightloss recipe, to find the net carbs, you must subtract the fiber from the carbohydrate content.
Hopefully, this post has shed some light on the differences between common nutritional labels and how they list net carbs.