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     GlucoMenu: New Research: Net Carbs & Diabetes
    Net Carbs - Healthy or Hype?

    The words "Net Carb" or "Low Carb" are everywhere today in food advertisements.  These ads are targeting consumers following low carbohydrate diets.

    The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) indicates such diets may cause fast weight loss BUT most of the weight lost is water and lean muscle instead of body fat.  Further, NIDDK states low carbohydrate/high protein diets often allow a lot of dietary fat which increases risk for heart disease and some cancers.

    Even though groups like NIDDK say these low carb diets are not healthy and that you are more likely to keep weight off if you follow a balanced diet, food advertisements are guiding consumers down the low carb craze.

    What does low carb mean?  Officially, the Food & Drug Administration has not established a definition for low carb or net carb.  Food manufacturers base calculating net carbs on the basis that sugar alcohols and fiber are not digested in the body and therefore should be deducted from the total carbohydrate.  The net carb is supposed to be the amount of carbohydrate that is actually absorbed and affects blood sugar.

    What does this mean if you have diabetes?  In treating diabetes and counting carbohydrates, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) indicates the type of carbohydrate and how it affects blood sugar should be considered. 

    The ADA therefore recommends the following guidelines when reading a food label:
    1. deduct 1/2 the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrates IF the amount of fiber is greater than 5 grams (for example, if a product contains 30 grams of total carbohydrate and 6 grams of fiber, divide the fiber by 2 = 3 grams of fiber; subtract 3 grams of fiber from 30 grams of total carbohydrate to figure the total carbohydrate that will affect blood sugar = 27 grams of total carbohydrate)
    2. deduct 1/2 the grams of sugar alcohol from total carbohydrate IF the amount of sugar alcohol equals 5 grams or more(for example, if a food product contains 30 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of sugar alcohol, divide the sugar alcohol by 2 = 4 grams of sugar alcohol; then subtract the 4 grams of sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrate to figure the total carbohydrate that will affect blood sugar  = 26 grams of total carbohydrate).
    When counting carbohydrates, further investigation of the food label is needed to calculate the actual amount of carbohydrate that affects blood sugar.  Additionally, in an effort to maintain a healthy bodyweight, calories should always be considered.  Low carb or carb free does not always mean low calorie.

    American Dietetic Association Manual of Clinical Dietetics, 6th Edition.  American Dietetics Association. 

    Marcason, W.  What Do "Net Carb," and "Impact Carb" Really Mean on Food Labels?  JADA: 104; 1, 135.

    National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  Weight-Loss and Nutrition Myths.  NIH Publication No. 01-4561.

    Christine Carlson, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE
    GlucoMenu® Nutrition Director

    Christine Carlson, Registered Dietitian &
    Certified Diabetes Educator

    GlucoMenu helps Type 1, Type 2 & Pre-Diabetics with

  • Achieving better blood sugar results
  • Weight loss and weight management
  • Reducing confusion with treatment (what to eat, drink, activity, testing)
  • Coping with diagnosis, feeling better, and increasing energy levels
  • Previous E-mails to Christine (GlucoMenu® Nutrition Director)

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    BBQ:  What types of foods should I eat more of and what foods should I avoid at my BBQ?

    Blood Sugar Testing:  How often should I check my blood sugar if I have type 2 diabetes?

    Breakfast:  What are the best items I should choose for breakfast?

    Caffeine:  Does caffeine have any effect on blood sugar either good or bad?

    Carbohydrate:  Carbohydrate or calories?

    Carbohydrate Choices:  What are Carbohydrate Choices?

    Chromium:  Should I be taking Chromium?

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    Diabetes:  Can you reverse pre-diabetes?

    Diabetes:  How do I change my diabetes profile on the website?

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    Dining Out:  We eat out a lot.  Could you give us some suggestions for Japanese and Chinese?

    Dreamfields Pasta:  How does Dreamfields pasta count carbohydrates?

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    Food Exchanges:  Can you explain food exchanges?

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    GlucoMenu:  Does GlucoMenu work for couples?

    GlucoMenu:  What is GlucoMenu?

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    Gluten:  Should I be eating gluten free products?

    HFCS:  What's all the hype with High Fructose Corn Syrup?

    High Blood Pressure:  What should I order when eating out to limit sodium?

    High Blood Sugar:  My blood sugar levels have been running between 475 to 575.

    High Blood Sugar:  Tired after lunch.  Any suggestions?

    High Cholesterol:  In addition to having diabetes I have high cholesterol.  What can I order?

    Hunger:  What do you advise when I find myself, always, hungry and most of the time ravenous?

    Iron:  My iron is low.  What foods do you suggest?

    Lunch:  I have diabetes and work long hours.  Could you give me some tips on what to pack for lunch at work?

    Margarine or Butter:  Why unhealthy margarine instead of butter?

    Medications:  Can you give me some basic information on the medication Metformin?

    Menus:  I need 8 weeks of diabetic menus.  Can you help me with this?

    Nutrition Facts:  What is "other carbohydrate" and why aren't they included in the total carbohydrate count?

    Nuts:  What kind of nuts should I buy?

    Olean:  Where I can buy Olean and what brands of food have it?

    Pre-Diabetes:  I'm concerned & depressed about Pre-Diabetes... Any advice?

    Pre-Diabetes:  What are Pre-Diabetes lifestyle changes?

    Pre-Diabetes:  Newly diagnosed w/ Pre-Diabetes... Where do I start?

    Pre-Diabetes:  Do people with Pre-Diabetes have the same symptoms as those with Type 1 and Type 2?

    Pre-Diabetes:  Trying to lose weight, but now gaining... Suggestions?

    Snack Bars:  What snack bars do you suggest I use?

    Snacking:  How do I avoid overeating when I'm bored?

    Sodium:  Does low sodium mean high in potassium?

    Stevia:  Are Stevia sweeteners safe for someone who has diabetes?

    Sugar Alcohol:  What is the difference between sugar and sugar alcohols?

    Tomatoes:  Will tomatoes cause an increase in blood sugar levels?

    Travel:  I have type 2 diabetes and travel quite a bit.  What do you suggest?

    Type 2:  What should I do if I've just been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes?

    Vinegar:  Do you have any info on taking vinegar tablets or liquid to reduce blood sugar?

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    Weight Loss:  How do I lose weight?

    Yogurt:  What is the best yogurt for someone with Diabetes?

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