Net Carbs vs. Total Carbs

We hear all kinds of things about carbs and dieting. But, how much do you really know about carbs?

For instance, do you know the difference between net carbs and total carbs?

This can be confusing for many, and it is something you need to learn about if you really want to be successful with the keto diet.

Today we are going to look at the difference between net carbs and total carbs, and help you choose the right foods for your keto diet. Let’s get started.

Difference Between Carbs And Net CarbsPin

Net Carbs vs. Total Carbs

The easiest way to break this down is this — net carbs are carbohydrates with no fiber. Total carbohydrates are carbs that include fiber.

When you add net carbs and fiber, you get what is known as total carbs. Easy, right?

Well, it is kind of confusing, particularly when you take a look at nutritional labels on food packaging.

For instance, in Australia and New Zealand, fiber is listed separately from carbs, so you always see the net carbs.

In the US and Canada, fiber is included in the number of carbs, so you are not seeing what the net carbs are.

This is where you have to do a bit of math and take the fiber away from the total carbohydrates to get the net number.

How Fiber Affects Carb Macros

We all need fiber in our diets, and the best source is from the indigestible part of plant foods, which will help to keep you regular and lower cholesterol levels.

It will also help to stabilize blood sugar levels and help with weight loss.

Our bodies can’t convert this fiber into energy, and it passes through our systems without being fully digested.

While doing this, it actually cleans out the intestines.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, and you need to have both types in a healthy diet.

Differences Between Soluble and Insoluble Fibers

So, what is the difference between soluble and insoluble fibers, and how can they affect your carb macros?

First, let’s look at the differences between soluble and insoluble fibers.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is a fiber that is not absorbed and has no influence on blood sugar levels. It also does not affect ketosis. Some of the foods that contain insoluble fiber include berries, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

You need to consume lots of insoluble fiber in order to have good bowel health, and it is also important for your blood sugar levels.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is a fiber that attracts water, which turns the fiber into a gel, which is what you need to slow the digestion process and stop hunger and cravings. This fiber can be found in whole foods such as apples, blueberries, and oatmeal (not a keto-friendly option).

When soluble fiber digests in the colon, SCFA’s (short-chain fatty acids) are created, which helps with the process of intestinal gluconeogenesis (IGN).

Basically, this is glucose production in the intestine, and it was once thought to help increase blood sugar and have an effect on ketosis. This is why experts started tracking total carbs rather than just the net carbs in foods.

Today, new studies show that it can actually help to lower blood sugar levels. If you have soluble fiber fermenting in the intestine, it can help you to feel fuller, and you won’t need to have snacks that can ruin your diet.

Basically, the difference between the two types of fiber is soluble fiber helps to lower blood sugar levels and curb your appetite. Insoluble fibers are important for bowel health, and also necessary for blood sugar levels.

You do need both in your diet. Read on to learn how many carbs you need in your keto diet.

How Many Carbs Should You Eat on the Keto Diet?

There are different schools of thought as to how many carbs you can eat while on the keto diet.

Many recommend 20 to 25 grams of net carbs each day if you are an average person doing moderate amounts of regular exercise.

If you are really into exercise or are an athlete, you can increase the net carbs to 50 to 100 grams daily.

Once you find the right number for you, it won’t be long before you start to feel fuller, and you are able to lose weight more quickly.

Don’t Worry About Counting Carbs

As we all know, keto is a way of life and not just another fad diet. This is one of the best ways to lose weight, have more energy, and feel healthier.

The keto diet is going to help you cut back on refined carbs and sugars, but you won’t be having cravings for foods that contain these ingredients, so you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything. It will take a bit of adjustment to get into cooking and eating this way, but it is worth it in the long run.

If you don’t like the idea of counting carbs when you first start on a keto diet, don’t worry about it.

The less restricted you feel in your diet, the easier it is going to be to adhere to.

What you really need to focus on at this point is eliminating processed foods from your diet and sticking to whole foods that are much healthier and contain the macronutrients your body needs.

If you do want to count your carbs, make sure you are counting net carbs.

If you are following this diet for weight loss, you need to make sure you are eating the foods that will make you feel fuller for longer, so you are satisfied and not snacking between meals.


When on the keto diet, you need to focus on net carbs. This means you need to eat foods that contain plenty of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble.

This is going to help you reach your weight loss goals, along with improving gut health and your overall health in general.