Week 14 – Net Carbs vs. Total Carbs

Week 14 – Net Carbs Vs. Total Carbs

Video 14 Transcript:

Confused about net carbs vs total carbs and which you should count for your keto diet? Watch this video to learn how counting carbs incorrectly can lead to weight gain on your keto diet! Dum, dum, dum.

Hit the subscribe button and click the bell so you can learn everything I learned about losing more than 100 pounds each Wednesday! I learned how to accurately count carbs so I could find my keto happily ever after…now let’s work on your keto happily ever after! 

Does this sound familiar at all?

You JUST figured out how to count macros, and you’re proud of yourself that you  FINALLY learned the difference between carbs, protein and fat, and which ratio of carbs, protein and fat to eat for ultimate keto success! Hooray for mastering keto!

Then someone throws out the terms net carbs vs total carbs, and now you’re exhausted & confused  and ready to pull the hair you have left on your head out, which isn’t much because it’s falling out in mass quantities since you began keto…and you just want to scream “What in the keto hell!” since you finally figured all of this macro stuff out and now you’re back at square 1 because you’re unsure of which carbs you’re even supposed to count!

Trust me, you’re not alone. After listening to that never ending run on sentence, even I’m confused! 

Watch this full video to learn the difference between total versus net carbs, and which carbs you should count for ultimate keto success. 

Before I get to which carbs you should count, let me take a second to explain the difference between net carbs versus total carbs.

The total carbs in food is just as it sounds – the total amount of carbohydrates in a given food. These are the carbs listed on food labels next to carbohydrates. They’re typically the top number in bold print.

Some people on keto only count net carbs, which some believe are the only carbs your body processes and uses for energy. These are mostly the carbs that come from starches and sugars. Therefore, those who count net carbs don’t count carbs that fall under the sugar alcohols, fiber or other categories listed on a nutrition label. 

Some in the keto community don’t believe their body processes these carbs as energy, so they don’t count them towards their daily total carb intake. 

While I’m not here to tell you which way is the right way to find the most success on keto FOR YOU, as something like this can vary per person, I will take this video to let you in some of the tips we teach our Keto Decoded Members so they find ultimate keto success!

Sugar alcohols

As I mentioned above, many ketoers in all the keto land do not factor sugar alcohols into their carb count for the day. If you look at the nutrition label, sugar alcohols are typically separated out underneath carbs. When looking at the ingredients, you’ll see words that end in “OL” like maltitol, xylitol and erythritol, just to name a few. 

When we research keto, there’s a lot of info out there telling us not to count these into our daily totals. Since sugar alcohols are used in a lot of processed keto substitution foods, like keto candy bars, this means we get to eat all of the keto candy bars and not feel any guilt! 

YAY for us! Let’s eat all of the keto candy bars.

Oh, but wait a second. While we may not feel any guilt because we subtracted out the sugar alcohol carbs, what many of us will feel is stomach cramping and an urgent need to run to the bathroom. So there’s that. 

While some people can seemingly eat sugar alcohols and not have a problem, these innocent “free” carbs cause major digestive distress for others. If you fall into the category of experiencing digestive distress with foods that have added sugar alcohols, not only will you not feel well with the digestive distress you experience, but if your body has a problem digesting something you eat, then you likely won’t see long term weight loss success. Your body will be too focussed on dealing with a problem you’re giving it versus being focussed on burning stored fat. 


Another category of carbs many people subtract out include any fiber listed on food labels or in the nutrition facts. While I think the initial plan for removing fiber from carb counts on a low carb plan was meant to remove naturally occurring fibers from real foods, like leafy green veggies, food manufacturers caught on to this loophole. 

Now you can find plenty of processed “low carb” foods like tortillas, bread and other previously forbidden high carb favorites that are suddenly keto friendly. Even though many of these have higher carb counts on the labels, many of those “can be removed” from our daily counts because they’re listed under fiber.

Food manufacturers now add synthetic fibers to foods in order to boost fiber counts. Let’s take low carb tortillas as an example. When I first began a low carb plan, I loved the tortillas from Mission since I could have my low carb tacos, tortilla included!

When considering the fiber count in a tortilla, it’s pretty obvious fiber in a tortilla isn’t naturally occurring. It’s not like you just go out to a tortilla tree and pick off a tortilla. I mean, if you have a tortilla tree, let me know, because that would be pretty cool. But seeing as most of us don’t have tortilla tress, this means tortillas are a processed food product where synthetic fiber is added.

Upon further review, much of the fiber from low carb Mission Tortillas comes from cellulose powder, which is basically made from wood pulp. Now it’s your turn to ask – is wood pulp keto? 

I don’t remember seeing wood pulp on any keto food lists and it doesn’t naturally occur in foods, so it’s not something I’d personally recommend for ultimate success. Seems to me like another case of something that might cause digestive distress, which can lead once again to a problem your body will have to deal with. If you’re unsure if wood pulp will cause digestive distress for you, go out to the tree in your backyard and nosh on the bark. Come back and let us know in the comments how that went for you.

OK…I’m only kidding. Hopefully you’re still here watching this video and you didn’t run out to chew on some bark to prove a point. Getting back to the point I wanted to make – on keto, you should be following a real food diet. That’s pretty much where the keto magic is found! Getting rid of the junky processed carbs and focussing on real foods that your body has the ability to digest.  Basically, the more real food you can incorporate into your keto diet, the more success you’ll have. 

Sure, some people may find some level of success when adding these highly processed foods that have added wood pulp to their diet, but from what I’ve seen, that’s when many others run into trouble on keto. 

If you decide to keep these highly processed carbs in your plan because you just can’t bare to eat shell less tacos, I’d definitely recommend counting all of the carbs for ultimate keto success since most likely your body is also counting all of the carbs.

Other Carbs

Another category of carbs some ketoers subtract out are the “other carbs” listed on the label. Wait, what? Why is anyone following a keto plan subtracting out carbs that say “other” and what the heck does “other” even mean? 

I don’t know and neither do you! Somewhere along the way someone on a keto message board must have proclaimed “other” carbs as fair territory to subtract and others followed along because there are many people who blindly follow diet advice without doing their own research. These are the same people who cry from the mountain tops that they tried keto and keto doesn’t work!

Of course keto didn’t work for you! That’s because you’re not following a keto diet if you’re cheating on keto every single day by subtracting out carbs that don’t even make sense to subtract out! 

In fact, I’m unsure why anyone would think it’s OK to subtract carbs out of their foods just because the label separates them out as other. While this may seem obvious to most, I can assure you it’s not obvious to all. In case you haven’t figured out my stance on this quite yet, there’s no reason you should subtract the “other” carbs out. While subtracting out sugar alcohols and fiber may be considered a slippery slope for many ketoers, subtracting out the carbs listed as “other” is just plain cheating. 

If someone tells you it’s OK to subtract “other” carbs, alert the keto police at once!

OK, so I obviously have a lot of feelings when it comes to total carbs versus net carbs. Listen to this week’s Chat the Fat to learn all of those feelings, as I devoted an entire episode just to this subject. If you’re counting carbs incorrectly on keto, chances are you won’t find keto success, so be sure to tune in. 

If you have friends who are still eating all of the carbs, while telling the world they’re following a keto plan, be sure to like, comment on and share this video.

Find the ways we can connect below, and let’s connect!  

I’ll see you next Wednesday to talk about exercise. Most health gurus will tell you exercise is important for your weight loss plan, and next week I’ll be back to say, meh, not so much. 

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