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Query about carb values which people on very low carb diets might know the answer to

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I came across a post on another website and I don't know the answer. The person was querying the carb values on packaging of avocado. They quoted, for example, this posted on a UK website. They then quoted a USA website (fiber, not fibre) which implies the true carb total is 8 times higher. I think I understand that the UK measures carbs, excluding fibre, but including sugars, then shows sugars separately. The USA seem to include fiber in the carb measurement.

My question is - If I want to follow a low carb diet, using the avocado as an example, should I count 1.9gm carbs for 100gm avocado, or 8gm carbs for 100gm avocado, and why? I am concerned I have been vastly underestimating my daily carbs. Thanks

UK Site Nutrition​

Typical Values100g containsA typical avocado (80g)
Energy813kJ / 198kcal651kJ / 158kcal
Fat19.5g15.6g
Saturates4.1g3.3g
Carbohydrate1.9g1.5g
Sugars0.5g0.4g
Fibre3.4g2.7g
Protein1.9g1.5g
Salt0.1g0.1g
Pantothenic acid1.1mg (18%NRV)0.9mg (15%NRV)


USA Site Nutrition Facts​

3 servings per recipe
Serving Size1/3 medium (50g)

Protein 1g
Amount Per Serving
Calories80
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g10%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Trans Fat-
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g-
Monounsaturated Fat 5g-
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 4g1%
Dietary Fiber 3g11%
Total Sugars 0g-
Includes 0g Added Sugars-
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
The US figures are for a 50g serving, so 4g of total carb, less 3g fibre =1g of carb. Multiply by 2 to get carbs per 100g = 2g net carbs per 100g of avocado.
UK figure gives 1.9 net carbs for 100g.
So almost identical.
 

Kaylz

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Robin beat me to it but yes if you have an American product for instance youd need to deduct the fibre yourself to get its carb value but I wouldnt say only people on a very low carb diet would know, all people that count carbs should know
 

helli

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
The thing to remember is to deduct fibER but ignore fibRE when calculating carbs.
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
The US figures are for a 50g serving, so 4g of total carb, less 3g fibre =1g of carb. Multiply by 2 to get carbs per 100g = 2g net carbs per 100g of avocado.
UK figure gives 1.9 net carbs for 100g.
So almost identical.
Yes, I do see how they reconcile. But carbs are carbs even if they are fibre, so should I be counting the total carbs of 8, or net carbs of 1.9 in my carb count. That’s my problem and what I should but do not know.
 

helli

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Yes, I do see how they reconcile. But should I be counting total carbs of 8, or net carbs of 1.9 in my carb count. That’s my problem.
I interpret it as 1.9g of countable/digested carbs per 100g.

In USA total carbs include all carbs, including fiber which is not digested so needs to be deducted.
In UK, total carbs excludes fibre so you take the full amount.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
A carb is only to be counted if you can digest it.
 

Lucyr

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
As per the others, on uk packaging the fibre is already removed so it’s just the 1.9. The American numbers you have to adjust to get to uk basis. Everyone that counts carbs or is on MDI needs to know this not just low carbers.

If you’re on a low carb diet to manage your diabetes you don’t actually need to know exactly how many carbs are in it though as that shouldn’t be the deciding factor of whether you eat it. Your blood sugar should be the main measure of interest because not all carbs are equal.
 

Terry-J

Active Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Insoluble fibre adds bulk without being digested so has no impact on blood sugar. Soluble fibre does get broken down into forms of carbohydrate but the gut bacteria that do the breaking down then feed on those forms of sugars to produce short chain fatty acids.


Cows eat grass to break down the cellulose for energy as cellulose is actually a long chain of glucose which is difficult to break down, impossible for human beans to extract anything. If your body doesn't produce glucose from it, it has very little effect on blood sugars
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Yes, I do see how they reconcile. But carbs are carbs even if they are fibre, so should I be counting the total carbs of 8, or net carbs of 1.9 in my carb count. That’s my problem and what I should but do not know.
Ask yourself why you’re counting them.
If you were Type 1, it would be to calculate your insulin dose to mop up glucose in your bloodstream. Dosing for something that passes straight through and is never turned into glucose would result in a hypo.
If you are Type 2, you are trying to limit the amount of glucose sloshing around in your bloodstream that your body has difficulty processing. Again, there is no point counting something that will never end up in your bloodstream as glucose.
 

Docb

Moderator
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Can I throw in my usual thought when it comes to this sort of discussion and that you must appreciate that the numbers quoted have errors and those errors are never given.

So take the avocado quoted above. Is the 2g (quoting carbs to one decimal place is a bit silly) carbohydrate an average? If so, an average of what? Some fruits from one variety, fruits from many varieties, fruits in various states of ripeness, fruits of various ages after harvesting? If it is an average, then what is the variability?

Thats just for starters. Next you have to ask where the number came from. Carbohydrate is very difficult to measure as far as I can see and it is rarely done. Again as far as I can see, the numbers quoted on packaging are mostly estimates. Ok they are estimates made by people who know what they are doing but again there will be an error which is unknown.

Next, not all carbohydrates are equal. They are organic compounds with the general formula, Cm(H2O)n. Conversion to glucose will vary from carbohydrate to carbohydrate.

Finally, not all people are equal. I'm guessing that the efficiency with which we change carbohydrate into glucose will vary from individual to individual and it would not be surprising find that different people process different carbohydrates differently.

Where does this leave you? My thought is that the number on the packet should be taken at face value. It's the best number that the food scientist could come up with so you need to go with it. The saving grace is that it is unlikely to be biased high or low so if you have a meal consisting of several items, chances are that the errors will balance themselves out to some extent.

So, don't get too tied up in the numbers is my advice. There must be better things to do!

Usual caveat.... Remarks apply to T'2 looking at carb reduction to control blood glucose. T1's have a whole different problem to cope with.
 

Kaylz

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
If you were in the US and counting carbs you would take the total carb value, deduct the fibre value which gives you the net carbs which is the value you would use for your carb counting
 

Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thanks everyone for your input. I think I have found the answer I'm looking for. As I understand it, fibre passes through undigested but helps manage glucose, and it's glucose I have to worry about. So I was recording the correct figure. My next HbA1c is due shortly so I'm hoping for a positive result.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Thanks everyone for your input. I think I have found the answer I'm looking for. As I understand it, fibre passes through undigested but helps manage glucose, and it's glucose I have to worry about. So I was recording the correct figure. My next HbA1c is due shortly so I'm hoping for a positive result.
Fibre doesn't help to manage glucose.
Increasing the fibre in your diet might have other consequences, but lowering glucose in the blood will not feature significantly long term.
The correct figure for the avocado is the net carbs, not the total as calculated in the US.
 

Docb

Moderator
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Yes @Felinia, the way I look at it is that your blood glucose is the thing to work on (don't like the idea of worrying about it). You can help matters by reducing carbohydrate intake but that is best macro rather than micro managed. Finding a diet with a carb intake that works for you is the target and the numbers on the packets are a very good guide to help you find it.

There are many things that @Drummer says which make me raise my eyebrows but there is one thing she has got spot on. If you read her posts you will see that she has a diet based on things with less than 10% carbohydrate. A nice simple way of looking at things which makes choices easier to make. Macro management at its best and it works for her.

I went a different route and decided to curb things - principally anything made mostly from any type of flour and potatoes - as a guiding principal. That worked for me. Again macro management rather than micromanagement and it works for me.

My thought is to get the big things sorted before getting into the finer points of how much carb there is in things which intrinsically have a low carb content.
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Fibre doesn't help to manage glucose.
That’s a very sweeping statement, and I suspect it depends on many things, including what exactly is going on with insulin production. Some people can produce, or use, a bit of their own insulin, but not enough at any one time, so eating something that is slowed down as it is digested, as things with fibre can be, will help their insulin production keep up with demand. I know eating fats etc with a meal can have the same effect. And I also know there are some people who seem to digest wholemeal bread just as fast as refined flour products.
It’s the same for Type 1s managing the rate at which their injected insulin and ingested carb hits the system, aiming to have them working at the same speed to avoid peaks and troughs.
 
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Felinia

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Fibre doesn't help to manage glucose.
Increasing the fibre in your diet might have other consequences, but lowering glucose in the blood will not feature significantly long term.
The correct figure for the avocado is the net carbs, not the total as calculated in the US.
I have copied part of an article on the Diabetes UK website, which is where I got my information.

Carbohydrates and diabetes: what you need to know​

and - as it says - fibre can help keep blood glucose under control.

Fibre​

This is another type of carbohydrate, which you can’t digest. These are found in wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholegrain cereals, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, pulses, potatoes, oats and barley.

Fibre helps keep our digestive system healthy, and can also help to keep your blood glucose and cholesterol under control.

Make sure you eat enough fibre every day as this is associated with less risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancers.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
Their claims and my experience with the digestion of carbohydrates seem to be at odds, but then they extrapolate to blood glucose - personal experience and blood glucose numbers would help to clarify the situation if anyone has them.
I found that there was scarcely a jot of difference if I did or did not add psyllium husk to a meal.
 

Robin

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 1
Their claims and my experience with the digestion of carbohydrates seem to be at odds,
I think this is why the wording is 'can' rather than 'does'. Your experience and my experience both differ, and probably everyone else’s too. It would be no good me saying 'Wholemeal bread digests just as fast as white, but lentils are fine' just because that’s my experience, because I know it isn’t your experience, and you digest pulses quickly. Everyone has to find their personal digestion profile.
 

Drummer

Well-Known Member
Relationship to Diabetes
Type 2
I think this is why the wording is 'can' rather than 'does'. Your experience and my experience both differ, and probably everyone else’s too. It would be no good me saying 'Wholemeal bread digests just as fast as white, but lentils are fine' just because that’s my experience, because I know it isn’t your experience, and you digest pulses quickly. Everyone has to find their personal digestion profile.
I do not digest pulses quickly, just far more efficiently than most people.
Wholemeal and white bread do not seem to be any different either in speed of digestion or anything else, but I suspect that is something many people find so it would be good to mention it as a distinct possibility for others to be aware of.
 
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