Now that we’ve described simple and complex carbs, to understand the concept of net carbs, we need to also explain the idea behind “effective carbs (or impact carbs)” and “non-impact carbs.”
Impact (Effective) Carbohydrates Explained
Impact carbs (also known as “effective” carbs) directly influence blood sugar levels. Your body breaks down these carbs into glucose, which the body then transports in the bloodstream and uses as fuel. When there is an excess of carbs, your body then stores them as glycogen in the muscles and liver cells for future fuel use.
When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to control blood sugar levels and prevent energy dips.
Non-Impact Carbohydrates Explained
Non-impact carbs is a popular term used to describe low glycemic index carbohydrates, meaning, in theory, they have less of an impact on sugar levels and energy than impact carbs.
Non-impact carbs are:
Fiber: Made up of glucose but passes through the body without being digested.
Sugar Alcohols: Not made up of glucose, therefore, they don’t directly affect blood glucose levels and are only partially digested.
Although fiber is a carbohydrate, your body doesn’t digest it the same way. Your body doesn't break it down into sugar molecules to be used as energy or stored as glycogen. Instead, fiber simply moves through the body, helping regulate blood sugar levels and hunger.
Sugar alcohols are also considered non-impact carbs due to the way your body digests them and because they are not made up of glucose molecules.
Plainly said, non-impact carbs are a low carb lover’s best friend! There’s little to no insulin spike, no energy crash, and the body stores less excess glucose as fat.
Now that we understand that part, we can tell you what the heck net carbs are!
Net Carbs Explained
The idea behind net carbs is to distinguish between the “impact” and “non-impact” carbs so you can see which carbohydrates will be utilized as energy and impact your blood sugar levels and which ones won’t!
Net carbs are the effective carbs absorbed by your body, and you can figure out net carbs by subtracting the fiber and sugar alcohols from the total carb count.
Let’s run through htis below!