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How to calculate net carbs in the UK versus USA?

 There are many different labels and it's a minefield trying to figure out. We get asked this all the time as we know labels can be confusing, especially when a lot of blogs and online material is geared towards American nutrition labels- which are different to UK labels. 

 

 

How we calculate Deliciously Guilt Free carb counts?

On Deliciously Guilt Free labels, we follow UK nutrition guidelines to set out the information that is required by the government. The first thing you will notice is the Carbohydrate- we list this both per 100g and also, for each brownie or cake. 

OK lets take a look at the carb count. In the UK you don't have to subtract the fibre from the carb count. This is a really important difference between how UK and USA nutrition labels are set out. In the UK fibre is listed separately to carbs. So the carbs listed in the UK are what our American friends would call "net carbs". 

One more thing we need to say about the carb count is that it also includes lumped in there something called the polyols. Polyols are a special kind of carb that (depending on the kind) can't be absorbed by the body. By law we have to count the polyols as part of the carbs on the label- but when you are counting carbs as part of a low carb or keto diet you don't need to count the carbs from the polyols. 

On all our labels we tell you exactly how many carbs there are from polyols, so you can take them away from the carbs to work out the actual amount of carbs your body can absorb. 

 

 Below is our blueberry and lemon drizzle cake label:

How to calculate net carbs in the UK: 

(total carbs - polyols = net carbs)

For the blueberry and lemon drizzle cake

8.7-6.7 = 2g net carbs

On our labels we have worked this out for you- and you will see on most of the products at the top "effective carbs" or "net carbs"- it really means the same thing. And on our website we have the net carb count on all our products listed on the product descriptions. 

On non-polyol containing products, you can take the carb count as the net carb count for UK labels. This is the same across all EU countries

Are all polyols the same? Can they all be "ignored"?

 

The short answer to this is no! Polyols are a name for a group of sweeteners- but some of them have more of an impact on blood sugars than others.  This can be confusing, as some sweeteners like maltitol, which are polyols widely used in cakes and bars labelled as "keto friendly" actually have an impact on blood sugar. So in addition to looking at the carbs, and working out the net carbs it is important to also look at the ingredients. For more information on issues with maltitol and other sweeteners see our sweetener blog post where we dive into this subject.  At deliciously guilt free we use erythritol as our main polyol sweetener- as it is generally accepted to be a good sweetener for keto and low carb. We never use maltitol in our bakes, its just not allowed in our kitchen! A few of our products have a small amount of xylitol, but when we use xylitol we count the carbs from xylitol in our net carb labelling we don't ignore them- this is because it isn't as low GI as erythritol.

There are also major issues with labelling of certain polyols - including isomalt based sweeteners. These still have an impact on blood sugars as they are actually a slow release carbohydrate and therefore should be used in moderation!

How to calculate US net carbs?

If you're in the US the process for working out net carbs is similar - you need to subtract dietary fibre (or as you would call it fiber!) from the total carbs! The rest of the stuff on polyols is the same in both the UK and USA .

Here's a great resource for your US label questions and for more info!

I hope this helps clarify some of the questions you might have about labelling. If you ever have any queries please drop us a line through our website or email hello@deliciouslyguiltfree.com. We know how hard you work to maintain your low carb or keto way of eating, so we want you to have full confidence in the macros when you eat our cakes. 

 

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