How to Calculate Net Carbs

How to Calculate Net Carbs

Those of you who are new to Keto may be confused about how to calculate carb count – do we care about Carbs or Net Carbs?  The answer – most definitely – is Net Carbs!   Therefore, it’s essential you have a good understanding how to calculate them because when you’re eating keto, every carb counts.  Net carbs are essentially the subset of carbohydrates that you can digest and use for energy.

You won’t always see Net Carbs listed on a Nutrition label but fortunately the math is super quick/easy:


NET CARBS = [Total Carbs] minus [Fiber] minus [Sugar Alcohols]


Why can you subtract Fiber?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate from plants that people can’t digest, so it essentially passes through your body unchanged.  That means, it provides no energy value and has no impact on blood sugar/ glucose or insulin response. 


Why can you subtract Sugar Alcohols?

Sugar alcohols such as xylitol, erythirol, or monkfruit are sweet like sugar, except they have a different molecular structure and they are also mostly indigestible by humans.  Thus they have little to no impact on your blood sugar or insulin response. 



How many Net Carbs should I target to stay in Keto?

For the average person, aim for no more than 20-25 grams of Net Carbs per day.  Athletes may have higher thresholds for Net Carbs (up to 50g) and still stay in ketosis, but for the majority of us who are more sedentary, you’ll want to stick to the 20-25g limit.   In the beginning, tracking your carb macros along with fat/protein intake is extremely important and I highly recommend using an app such as CarbManager to assist you.  Testing your ketone levels regularly is also a helpful way to determine your carb thresholds to remain in ketosis.  I recommend taking a look at my How to Test Ketone Levels post for some guidance.


Need More Help Tracking Net Carbs?

I highly recommend using a mobile app such as CarbManager to help track against your daily Net Carb goals.   The app has a complete database of foods with net carb counts, macros, and micronutrient values for each so there’s no guessing involved.  Just set your goals, enter your meal info, and it will show you if you’re trending on track or where you’re over so you can make adjustments to your diet as needed.


That’s everything you need to know about How to Calculate Net Carbs! But before you go, don’t forget to check out my Recipes page for some easy & delicious Keto meals.


Or return to my Keto Beginner’s Guide here.


Having trouble remembering all these Keto rules?  Get your Keto ‘Cheat Sheet’  now at KetoHealing’s Etsy Shop.  

Keto Diet Quick Reference     Keto Diet Quick Reference- Fridge Size

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