Beware: Sugar Alcohols in Low Carb Products May Contain Hidden Calories

It seems that with each trip to the grocery store comes a new variety of low-carb products boasting innocuous-sounding levels of “net carbs” on the front of the package yet 20-30 grams total carbohydrates on the back. So then, what are net carbs? A very simple and potentially deceiving formula:

Net Carbs = Total Carbohydrates MINUS Carbohydrates from Fiber and Sugar Alcohols

Similar to low carb, “net carb” is a marketing term used by proponents of low-carb diets but one that is neither approved nor defined by the FDA. Food manufacturers use the term net carbs to show a reduced amount of carbohydrates. Their justification -- fiber and sugar alcohols (also known as polyols) are forms of carbohydrates that don’t raise blood sugar significantly and therefore should not be tallied when counting carbs. Don’t be misled. Sugar alcohols can raise blood sugar and have between 1.5 – 3 calories/gram (as opposed to 4 calories/gram of the net carbs). In addition to calories, sugar alcohols are known to have a “laxative effect” which can cause diarrhea and has been linked to weight gain when eaten in excessive amounts. The jury is still out on net carbs since not enough research has been done. If you do purchase low carb products, I recommend that you select those that are low in net carbs because they are high fiber NOT because they are high in sugar alcohol. Remember that in the end it is the calories that pack on the pounds, not the net carbs. NU-TRAIN’s Low Carb Product Pick: La Tortilla Factory Tortillas (high fiber and no sugar alcohols)
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