How to Calculate Net Carbs on Keto?

What are net carbohydrates, and why should I care? This is something you’re asking yourself if you’re new to the ketogenic diet. Net carbohydrates vs. total carbs matter a lot when following a lower-carb diet. This article describes net carbohydrates, why they are essential, and how to calculate them using a manual net carb calculator. Let’s see how to calculate net carbs on keto.

You must accurately calculate net carbs to ensure that you don’t exceed your daily carbohydrate allowance since every gram of carbohydrate you consume counts. This article describes net carbohydrates, why they are essential, and how to calculate them using a manual net carb calculator.

What are Net Carbs?

The total number of carbs is only one aspect of a food label. Your net carb consumption may be determined by adding fiber, sugar, and alcohol to that amount. The carbohydrates in meals that you can digest and utilize as fuel are known as net carbs.

Your body doesn’t use every food source may surprise you. Some carbohydrates, such as fiber and sugar alcohol, are complicated for your body to digest and absorb fully. They don’t get digested and go right through your body. Because of this, you may deduct the majority of fiber and sugar alcohols from your daily carb intake.

You can break out of ketosis by consuming too many carbohydrates. You’ll better understand how many carbohydrates you’re consuming once you calculate net carbs on keto.

Difference Between Carbs and Net Carbs:

Difference Between Carbs and Net Carbs

Most packaged goods in the US have nutrition information labels that provide total carbs, dietary fiber, and sugar. The FDA has set out a formal, legal definition for this information.

Different is net carbohydrates. When low-carb diets became popular in the early 2000s, food producers invented “net carbohydrates.”

Even today, the labels of low-carb and ketogenic items may have callouts for net carbs.

Although there isn’t a standard definition of net carbohydrates, firms may use different methods to determine their totals.

You may calculate your own net carbs for keto by taking the total carbohydrates in an item and deducting:

  • Consumable fiber. Although fiber is a carb, your body lacks the enzymes to digest it. The result is that it goes through your digestive system unaltered. This implies that grams of fiber contain no net carbohydrates or calories (at least for keto).
  • Some sugar alcohols have a sweet flavor. However, their molecules differ slightly from sugar molecules in structure. Many sugar alcohols are either completely or almost entirely indigestible for humans.

Be aware that certain sugar alcohols might affect your blood sugar levels, so if you consume a lot of them, you should account for them when calculating your keto carb intake. 

Why Should You Calculate Net Carbs?

Why Should You Calculate Net Carbs?

Your body enters ketosis, a metabolic condition that switches from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat, when net carbs are kept low—typically under 50 grams of net carbs per day.

The entire point of the keto diet is to enter and stay in ketosis. One advantage of ketosis is that you have long-lasting energy, a cognitive boost, and fewer cravings. Even maintaining a healthy weight is possible with keto.

The issue is that consuming too many carbohydrates might keep you from entering and maintaining a state of ketosis. It is crucial to understand how to calculate net carbohydrates because of this.

You’ll lose all the advantages if you go over your carbohydrate restriction, which will cause you to exit ketosis. Our first suggestion is to look at your macronutrient breakdown if you aren’t experiencing benefits from keto (how much carbs, fat, and protein you eat daily). This is true whether you follow a clean or a dirty keto diet.

Regardless of your diet, consuming too many carbohydrates (particularly those that are processed, such as starches and sweets) can potentially have the following adverse effects:

  • Increases in blood sugar,
  • Inflammation
  • Hunger pangs,
  • Disruptions to your hormone levels,
  • Changes in your gut flora,
  • Obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome are examples of health problems

The challenge is determining what your appropriate carb consumption is.

In actuality, carbohydrates are okay in moderation. However, following a rigorous ketogenic diet, you must pay close attention to every gram and how your body reacts to certain foods.

How to Calculate Net Carbs for Keto?

Do you want to know how to calculate carbohydrates while maintaining ketosis? Utilize this manual net carbohydrate calculator:

Grams of total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols = Net carbs.

Here is a crucial component to include in your net carb formula: Not all sugar alcohols genuinely have no carbohydrates.

Some sugar alcohols have a high glycemic load, potentially forcing you to exit ketosis. However, some producers of “low-carb” or “sugar-free” goods will deduct such sugar alcohols from the overall amount of carbohydrates. Products appear to be lower in carbs than they are.

On the other hand, manufacturers may list sugar alcohols that have no impact on blood sugar levels as if they were regular carbohydrates, giving the impression that net carb counts are more extensive.

Understand sugar alcohols:

Let’s start by defining sugar alcohol. It is a sweet-tasting kind of carbohydrate. It has a molecular structure that resembles sugar and alcohol (hence, the name). While certain sugar alcohols are produced during sugar processing, others are found naturally in fruits and vegetables.

But unlike sugar, your body does not process it similarly. The body quickly processes ordinary sugar. Sugar alcohols are utilized in foods with less sugar and fewer carbohydrates since they aren’t as easily digested or absorbed.

So, are sugar alcohols considered carbohydrates? Depending on the kind.

The following sugar alcohols are excluded from net carb calculations for keto. You don’t need to count these sweeteners as part of your total carb intake if you’re eating something with them:

  • Erythritol 
  • Xylitol
  • Mannitol
  • Lactitol

Exception: The following sugar alcohols do contribute to net carbohydrates (at least in part):

  • Maltitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Isomalt
  • Glycerin

For the keto diet, each gram of glycerin, maltitol, sorbitol, or isomalt represents around half a gram of carbohydrates.

Despite not being digested, sugar alcohols may be fermented by your gut flora, which causes gas and bloating in your small intestine. To avoid experiencing stomach discomfort, avoid sorbitol, maltitol, and mannitol.

Whether you follow the keto diet or not, it’s a good idea to limit your intake of sugar and alcohol to no more than 15 grams at a time and pay attention to how you feel afterward.

How to Calculate Sugar Alcohol on Low Carb Diet

Use a slightly modified approach to get total net carbohydrates if the food contains one of these sugar alcohols.

Add the number of grams of sugar alcohol to your total amount of carbohydrates by dividing it by two. For instance:

Grams of total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols + (maltitol / 2) = Net carbs.


Sugars found in food that provide energy in the form of calories are known as carbs or carbohydrates. Starch, fiber, and sugar alcohols are all forms of sugar that fall under this category.

The number of carbohydrates that are really absorbed by your body is supposed to be expressed as “net carbs.” It has been established that low-carb diets are an effective strategy for weight loss. Consuming less than 150 grams of carbohydrates per day is referred to as a “low carb” diet. A low-carbohydrate diet contains no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day are frequently required for very low-carb diets like the keto diet. Even though eating net carbohydrates on the ketogenic diet and other low diets can be challenging, this method enables you to add some extra nutritious carbohydrates to your meals.

A person’s net carbohydrates will always be less than or equal to their total carbohydrates. Take the total carbohydrates and subtract both fiber and sugar.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

How many net carbs could I consume a day?

According to the dietary guidelines for Americans, 45% to 65% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates. Therefore, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, 900 to 1300 of those calories should come from carbohydrates. That equates to 225 to 325 grams of carbohydrates each day.

Will 20 grams of carbohydrates make me lose my ketosis?

Most people will enter ketosis more quickly if net carbohydrates are reduced to fewer than 20 grams. A reliable approach to staying in ketosis is to maintain this level of carbohydrate intake and rarely go above it.

What are carbohydrates?

Sugar molecules make up carbohydrates or carbs. Carbohydrates are one of the three primary nutrients included in food and beverages, along with proteins and fats. Glucose is created by your body’s breakdown of carbs.

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