What’s the deal with net carbs?

Published December 20, 2022 
in Macro Tips 

A quick explanation of net carbs 🍎

When you’re at the store, you might see phrases like “only 2 net carbs” advertised in HUGE font on food labels. They’re usually marketing to people who follow a keto diet. 

If you’re counting macros, you want to track TOTAL carbs, not net carbs, because you want to account for the total amount of calories you are eating. Only tracking net carbs could actually pull you over your deficit calories (if you’re in a fat loss phase) or put you in a surplus. 

Read the full post for an explanation on the difference so you can shop smart! And don’t forget to eat your fiber. 😊


Total carbs: the total grams of carbohydrates in a meal.

Net carbs: your total carbs, minus the grams of fiber and sugar alcohols.

Why do we see net carbs?

Net carbs are what our body actually digests, as fiber from whole foods and sugar alcohols from processed foods are not fully digested by the body. But sometimes, labels try to trick you into thinking you are eating less carbs by prominently advertising the net carbs.

Which should I track?

This will depend on who you ask, but I recommend counting total carbs toward your macro goals, as you are still consuming those foods. if you are in a caloric deficit, counting only net carbs toward your goals could actually bring you out of that!