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Net Carbs & Sugar Alcohols
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Q. What is the deal with "Net Carbs" and "Sugar Alcohols" - I keep seeing them on new food labels.

What's a Net Carb?
Manufacturers get "net carbs" or "impact carbs" by subtracting fiber, sugar alcohols, and other carbs that supposedly have "minimal impact on blood sugar."

The links below are news links; and one of them has an awesome quote:
"At the present time it has no meaning. People shouldn't take it seriously," said FDA Deputy Commissoner Dr. Lester Crawford. ...
"The basic concept is not all carbs are created equal," said Crawford. "Some have an impact on your body's metabolism, some do not."

More reading about net carbs if you're interested:

What's a Sugar alcohol?
For those who don't know; a sugar alcohol is effectively any sugar substitute - some of which are ok (sucralose - aka Splenda - has no calories; and isn't really digested by the body); and some of them need more attention paid - think fructose (fruit sugars) which can impact your blood sugar and TOTALLY impact your carb count. Sugar Alcohols contain anywhere from 2.1 calories per gram to 4 calories per gram.

There's research ongoing about these things; but the current results seem to be mixed. They taste sweet; so for some people they help you stay on a low sugar / low carb diet; but other people report increased carb cravings from them; and if you assume they're all good and all the same you can get burned...

There's a nifty side effect to a bunch of these - they can stimulate... Um... "gastric distress" - meaning many of them have a laxative effect...

The trick at that point is to read the actual list of ingredients and find out which sugar alcohols they are using; because that will have a direct impact on whether you want to try it or not.

For further reading:

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