the huntered housewife

our family life, our way

Total Carbs or Net Carbs?

on December 2, 2015

If you are delving into the Low Carb High Fat / Banting / Ketogenic (that’s another term for it) way of life and checking out books and websites and Facebook pages then you have probably come across the term “net carbs”.

Net carbs is simply the total carbohydrate grams minus the fibre grams and minus the sugar alcohol grams. All of these can be found on the nutrition panel on a food’s packaging. Apparently in Australia the total carb count on the label is the net amount, with the extras already subtracted. In some countries (like America), that is not the case and you need to make the calculation yourself. Sometimes they end up with a negative carb value after calculating, but that is often due to the sugar alcohols being deducted. Sugar alcohols are used to sweeten things like sugar free chocolate bars, sugar free lollies and Atkins bars and stuff like that. They can stall one’s weightloss and I’m pretty sure they stall mine.

This website tells you more about sugar alcohols and sweeteners and which ones are good and which ones should be avoided. I think one of the main things to remember is that we should be eating real food, not compounds that are designed to look and taste like food. Fresh food doesn’t have packaging that needs a nutrition panel. However we all know that “chocolate is its own food group” and sometimes we just want some. All you can do it see what works for you.

Okay, back to total vs net carbs. I count total, which, as I said earlier, turns out to be net here in Australia. But I count it as total. Because then I don’t have to bother about calculating anything! Whenever I log a meal or snack into the My Fitness Pal App, I always click through to “Nutrition” from the menu, then “Macros” for my pie chart, then “Nutrients” to check out my Carbs & Fibre. No particular reason, just because I can. Today it tells me I have consumed 10 grams of carbohydrates, 4 of which were fibre. Do I now calculate this as 6 grams of carbs for the day? I could, because my carbohydrates and fibre came from vegetables not packaged stuff. No packaging = no nutrition panel to fuss about. Because my carb count is so low today, I’m not even going to bother about subtracting anything. I know it was low enough to be effective. If you are aiming for a very low carb target each day, then I reckon you don’t need to worry about whether it’s total or net, because you will have so much leeway. Lots of people can lose weight on 50 grams of carbohydrates a day and I aim to stay under 20, so even if I consumed 30, I have the room to move and I still have made better carb decisions than I have in the past. Remember, this needs to be do-able, not fanatical. So I just count total, that way it is just one number, easier to keep track of. Anything that could be subtracted is just a bonus.

I thought I’d share the details of tonight’s dinner, no the kids didn’t eat it – they had tacos. They don’t eat as much as us in the LCHF department, I am still working on them. Small changes, wiser decisions for them, not total turn their world upside down changes.

So, here’s what Ray & I had tonight.

front of package steam ezy fish

Some fish from the freezer that we bought at Coles or Woolies, I can’t remember which. Busy people sometimes need the quick way of doing things.

nutrtition panel steam ezy fish

The nutrition panel from the fish. If you are going to buy anything in a packet, read the nutrition panel on the label! Each serve of this fish has less and 1 gram of carbohydrate and less than 1 gram of sugar. That’s a winner in my book and it’s handy to have a packet in the freezer because tonight we needed something quick.

fish & veg dinner

We made the vegetable bake. It contains broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, wombok and zucchini. The sauce is thickened cream and we added some mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan cheeses and of course our staple spices of garlic powder, smoked paprika and Himalayan pink salt. LCHF meals don’t always look the prettiest, but golly, the veggie bake was delicious! I could give or take the fish, but it was what was going to work tonight, one of our busy nights. Usually I would cook a piece of salmon  but I didn’t have any.

Remember to hit me with any questions about this way of eating. I’m not an expert but will happily share what we do in our household.








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