The Skinny on Net Carbs

Cheri received permission from The Atkins Center to re-print this text.

What are Net Carbs?

As you are looking at labels for carb content in certain products one thing to keep in mind is that not all carbohydrates in foods are converted to blood sugar and therefore do not contribute to blood glucose levels. These are considered non-impact carbs. Included in these are both sugar alcohols and fiber. Therefore it stands to reason you may subtract those from the total carb count. When looking at the Atkins Protein Bars there can be a lot of confusion because when you subtract the sugar alcohol and fiber it still doesn't add up to the net carbs in the bar. The following is Atkins Nutritionals explanation of how you can calculate what the Net Carbs are in their protein bars.

Not All Carbs Act the Same Way

At Atkins Nutritionals, controlled-carbohydrate nutritional science underlies the development of every Atkins product we bring you. We specially formulate our products to taste great while using ingredients that minimize the impact of carbohydrates on your blood sugar level. We do this by understanding that not all carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. Most carbs sugar is the best example are digested and turned into glucose, which significantly impacts blood sugar levels. These are the only carbs you need to count when you do Atkins. Other carbs are digested by your body, but are not turned into glucose. And some carbs, such as fiber, are not digested at all and pass through your body as waste. These last two types of carbs have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels, and do not count when you do Atkins.

What Carbs Are in Atkins Products?

We use certain carbohydrates in Atkins products and avoid others. Instead of using sugar, such as glucose, fructose, lactose or maltose, we rely on sweeteners such as sucralose, glycerine and sugar alcohols like maltitol. We also use polydextrose, which is a bulking agent and serves as a source of added fiber. Fiber, glycerine, sugar alcohols and polydextrose are all carbohydrates that have a minimal impact on blood sugar.

The Atkins Net Carbs Seal

To assist you in determining the number of carbs you need to count in our products, we prominently display the Atkins Net Carbs Seal on our packaging. It is required by law to list the percentage and number of grams of total carbohydrates on the Nutrition Facts Panel on the back of the label as well. To calculate the Net Carbs, we've subtracted all carbohydrates such as fiber, glycerine, sugar alcohols and polydextrose from total carbohydrates. These ingredients are not digested, or they are digested but impact blood sugar only negligibly. The number of grams of remaining carbs is what you'll find in the circle, the Atkins Net Carbs Seal, on the package.

Let's take an Atkins Advantage Bar as an example. Positioned next to the ingredients, the Net Carbs Seal, shown above, states that individuals following Atkins or otherwise limiting consumption of carbs need count only 2 grams of Net Carbs per bar.

Now take a look at the Nutrition Facts Panel below. You will see the following:

This is how the Net Carb figure is calculated:

Total Carbohydrate 22 grams


Non-Caloric and/or Non-Blood Sugar-Impacting Carbs 20 grams

Fiber (Polydextrose) 11 grams
Glycerine 9 grams


Net Carbohydrates* 2 grams

(* Mainly from the soy nuggets, cocoa and residual carbs found in the sources for the protein blend.)

Double check to make sure how many servings are included in the package. Some might say there are 2 or 2.5 servings. If this is the case you have to multiply the servings by the net carbs to see how many carbs are in the entire amount. This will help ensure that you not eat more servings then you are allow for that day. Also remember that people that are more active will have less of a problem eating protein bars then people that are much less physical. So if you are going to include protein bars in your diet please make sure you are drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of exercise. If your weightloss slows while eating protein bars you may want to cut down on them to make sure you are consistently losing weight.

Disclaimer: All content found on "A Beginner's Guide to Low Carbing" is the opinion or suggestion of Cheri and therefore is not necessarily that of Netrition. Cheri received permission to reproduce and distribute any content that was not written by her. Netrition is not responsible for any consequences incurred by anyone following directions or instructions found on these pages. Netrition and Cheri do not claim to be health experts, physicians or dietitians. We encourage you to consult your physician if you have any questions or concerns of a medical nature. Netrition is not responsible for the information on these pages and is not responsible for any typographical errors. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, or otherwise used, without written permission of content owners.

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