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How To Figure Out Net Carbs

How To Figure Out Net Carbs & Why You Want to Pay Close Attention To Dietary Fiber

If you’ve ever looked at a nutrition label, it’s sort of complicated! There’s measurements for fat, salt, protein and, of course, carbohydrates. That’s the part of the label we’re going to talk about today – the carbs. But not just any carbs – NET carbs and how to figure out net carbs.

Read on to learn how…

Carbohydrates are especially important to ladies with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance.

Why? Because carbohydrates will affect your blood sugar more than fat or protein.

AND refined carbohydrates, when eaten in excess, will also cause you to gain weight, so pay attention!

As a special bonus in this blog post…I’ve also hidden two secrets to you getting your health back. Don’t forget to look for them!

Ok, back to this carbohydrate thing…

Being able to determine how many carbohydrates are in something is super important.

When you look at the label, there isn’t just one measurement for Carbohydrates…now things get even more complicated!

AND if you don’t know how to figure out NET carbs, you’ll miss out on dozens of very healthy foods that’ll help you get better, so keep reading…

Total Carbohydrates

First, look on your Nutrition Facts label and find the Total Carbohydrates – this is the total amount of carbohydrates in the food you’re looking at.

Indented under the Total Carbohydrates is:

  • Dietary Fiber
  • Sugars

We’ll talk about Dietary Fiber in a minute since it’s the most important part of everything you eat.


Sugars = The total natural or added sugar in the food item you’re looking at.

Natural sugars are usually ok and you don’t have to worry about them.

For example, if there was a nutrition facts label stuck to a whole tomato…there would be a wee bit of natural sugar in it.

Natural sugars, when eaten with the whole fruit or veggie, are totally ok for you.


Added refined sugars you definitely need to avoid at all costs! They are very bad for you!

You can learn more about added refined sugars in my blog post: List of Refined Sugar Names

The Dietary Fiber Thing

Now we get to the most important part of the nutritional facts – the Dietary Fiber!

Dietary fiber is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to know about getting healthy again.

The more dietary fiber you eat — the healthier you will be.

Dietary Fiber:

  • Makes you feel full, so you eat less. This very good for weight loss, if you need it.
  • Makes sure you can have at least one bowel movement a day (very important).
  • Feeds all your good gut microbes (bacteria, healthy yeasts and other very tiny living things residing in your intestines). These good gut microbes are the key to you getting healthy.

Your Good Gut Microbes Help You:

  • Become Sensitive to Insulin Again (yup, it’s true)
  • Burn Fat Rather Than Store Fat (yup, again true)

Fiber Feeds Friendly Gut Microbes

Now you see why dietary fiber is your new best friend and you need to make an effort to increase how much dietary fiber you eat!

Ladies, one reason why you have Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance AND have extra weight is the lack of dietary fiber in your diet…

Fiber Target: Eat as much dietary fiber as you can from real whole foods like I talk about in my 95-5 Wellness Solution.

You should eat at least 10-15 grams of dietary fiber per meal.

Aim for at least 50 grams of dietary fiber a day. More would be even better!

I know what you’re thinking…

“OMG! But I thought I was supposed to watch how many carbs I ate! I thought I was supposed to eat less carbs.”

Yup! You’re right… sort of… so then why am I telling you to eat all this fiber? Because:

Dietary Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t digest. This means…you get a free ride with dietary fiber! It doesn’t count!

Now things get very interesting, so pay attention!

How To Figure Out Net Carbs

OK,  you can’t digest dietary fiber – so you don’t count them!

BUT your good gut microbes will happily digest those dietary fibers for you!

Your good gut microbes even make all sorts of very helpful things along the way, like health-promoting short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The more Short-Chain Fatty Acids you have, the better! Your health depends on it!

So, since YOU don’t digest those dietary fibers, you subtract them from the Total Carbohydrates instead of counting them.

You subtract the dietary fiber from the total carbohydrates to get the REAL amount of carbohydrates that will affect your blood sugar.

This is called Net Carbs.

Always figure out the net carbs for all carbohydrate foods you eat.

Secret #1: Remember I promised you 2 secrets in this blog post? Here is #1. Because you’re still reading I’ll tell you something a lot of ladies don’t know: You can eat way more carbs than you think you can…IF you eat carbs with lots of natural dietary fiber, that is.

Why? Because dietary fiber slows down your digestion to a snail’s pace – so you don’t get blood sugar spikes.

Some ladies think all carbs are equal. This isn’t accurate!

Complex carbs full of healthy fiber are great for you and are digested very slowly.

So seek out fibery complex carbs!

Chick Peas Don’t Have As Many Carbs You Think

Let’s look at the Nutrition Facts for Chicks Peas.

Some ladies see that Total Carbohydrate number (45 grams) and run for the hills!

How can 45 grams of carbs be good for Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance?

It’s only good because YOU wouldn’t digest 45 grams of carbs if you ate 1 cup of chick peas — remember, you have to subtract the dietary fiber to get NET CARBS!

45 grams (Total Carbohydrates) minus 12 grams (Dietary Fiber) = 33 grams NET CARBS. (very different amount of carbs, hey!)

Now you can see why you need to know How to Figure Out Net Carbs!

How To Figure Out Net Carbs

So, if you ate one cup of chick peas, you would only digest 33 grams of carbohydrates PLUS you’d get a whole bunch of dietary fiber.

(And really, it’s likely that at a ½ cup of chick peas you’d be totally full.)

So now you can eat hummus, or chick peas on a salad, or chick peas in a chili or stew, or even chick pea pasta because you now you know how to figure out net carbs.

Want to learn how to cook chick peas yourself in an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker? Click here.

I know many ladies who just use the Total Carbohydrate number and don’t count net carbs! This is not smart and will cause you to dismiss many healthy foods like beans, lentils and even some fruit and veggies!

A Nutrition Facts label only works if you know how to use it!

Secret #2: Ok, now I’m really impressed that you’re still reading so I’ll tell you one of the most important things you’ll ever hear about getting your health back and overcoming your Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance: Don’t just dismiss those dietary fibers as something you just subtract when you figure out net carbs.

Instead, choose foods with high amounts of dietary fiber. When you see a nutrition facts label — FIRST look at the dietary fibers, and only then consider everything else.

So now you know how to figure out net carbs, and you know why dietary fiber is so important…AND you’ve learned two very valuable secrets.

Want to learn more about eating foods with lots of dietary fiber — your key to getting healthy again?

Download my FREE 95-5 Wellness Solution – In it you’ll find loads of help about learning how to eat fibery foods, planning meals and getting your health back.

Did you enjoy learning How To Figure Out Net Carbs? Tell us about it in the comments section below!


About the Author Joan Pasay

As a Nutrition & Lifestyle Therapist I felt compelled to start Power In The Group. Why? To guide and support women like you with Prediabetes or Insulin Resistance so you can regain and nourish your health...without all the confusion. Together we can enjoy the richest quality of life for ourselves, with our families, and within our society...wanna come along?

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