Many of us are told to watch what we eat in terms of carbohydrate (carb) and sugar levels. But many of us forget that just watching carb and sugar intake isn’t necessarily the whole picture. There are different types of carbohydrates that cause the body to react differently. Simple sugars and starches like those found in white breads or potatoes cause a very different metabolic and insulin reaction compared to complex carbs like those found in steel cut oats and vegetables.
The Net Carbohydrate calculation is an important concept because it takes into account importance of fiber included in a total carbohydrates measurement. This is important because fiber behaves significantly differently in the body than a regular sugar or processed grain. Fiber actually helps to reduce sharp spikes in blood sugar due to glucose release and it slows down the digestive system allowing the nutrients in a food to be fully absorbed into your system. So the net impact of the carbs is decreased thanks to the fiber.
What about sweeteners like sugar alcohols?
These sugar alternatives have proven time and time again to have a relatively neutral effect on blood sugar levels. As a result the carbohydrates in sugar alcohols can be mostly ignored.
Watching your total carbohydrate intake in terms of starches and sugars are extremely important to maintaining a balanced blood sugar level. Adding fiber to this mix helps decrease blood sugar spikes when consuming simple carbohydrates alongside a variety of other health benefits. Eating a balanced diet high in protein, healthy fats/oils and healthy carbs such as fiber and avoiding ‘empty’ calories such as candy or soda can help you maintain a healthy weight and boost energy levels by avoiding sugar spikes. Paying attention to your Net Carb consumption is therefore more ideal for maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.