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The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News

The “Low Carb” Craze

By Karen McPartland, RD

If you watch TV, eat at restaurants, or go food shopping, you are probably well aware of the wide variety of “Low Carb” or “Net Carbs” products that are on the market.  Are you wondering what the deal is with these products?

Simply Stated:

The carbohydrate content of “Low Carb” or “Net Carb” products are calculated by subtracting the grams of fiber and the grams of sugar alcohols in a food from the grams of total carbohydrates. 

The Rationale:

Food companies feel that because fiber is not digested by humans, it shouldn’t be counted as part of the total carbohydrates.  Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates, however they have little effect on blood sugar and therefore, like fiber, manufacturers feel they shouldn’t be counted as part of the total carbohydrates. 

What You Should Know:

The FDA has not and did not define the meaning of or create the terms “Low Carb” or “Net Carbs”.  These terms were created by food manufacturers to help sell their products.  “Low Carb” does not mean low calorie or calorie free.  It’s expected that the FDA will soon provide a definition for “low carb” claims and that they will address the issue of these statements on product labels.  Remember that when you restrict your carbohydrate intake (fruits, vegetables, most dairy, and grain products), you are missing out on key nutrients that can help protect you from developing heart disease and other life threatening diseases.      


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