Effective Carbs?

A question for all of you carb counters out there…

Mr. Ruby is a diabetic and his blood sugar levels are controlled by diet, exercise, and oral medication.

When he was diagnosed two years ago, we went to diabetic training at the local hospital where we were taught how to count carbohydrates to help maintain proper blood sugar levels. We were taught that sugars of all kinds, including sugar alcohols found in sugar-free products are all carbs and had to be counted as such.

Now several products are claiming that fiber and sugar alcohols don’t count. If a granola bar has 35 grams of carbs and 30 of those are in the form of sugar alcohol, then the claims is there are only “FIVE EFFECTIVE CARBS!!!”.

So whats the deal? Do we have to count the carbohydrate grams or the effective carbs?

Dr Atkins once stated to stay away from S.A., now that his product line is in full swing (which contains lots of S.A.), he said they are OK.

Fiber will slow down the digestion of all sugars, but does not prevent eventual digestion.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/w8079e/w8079e09.htm#non%20insulin%20dependent%20diabetes%20mellitus%20(niddm) (carb management for diabetics).

I agree. I’m doing Atkins for weight control, and if I don’t count total carbs, I gain. Some people are different, YMMV. I avoid sugar alcohols for a different reason, yucko. I tend to avoid all the low carb products, first of all they don’t taste very good, and second of all, I seem to be one that gets all the carbs, not just what the label claims.

I think the reasoning behind “effective carbs” is that sugar alchohols (and fiber) don’t affect blood sugar in the same way… but I can’t vouch for the medical basis of this belief.

They are not carbs but are still calories. And losing weight is essentially consuming less calories than you expand, so you still need to add them to your daily calorie total.

I don’t know how the Atkins diet is set up though.

Sugar alcohols are carbs, as other sugars.

Thanks, all.

Thanks for the link, barbitu8.

As I suspected, a carb is still a carb is still a carb.

Some carbs are better than others. :wink:

Polyols are absorbed through the gut more slowly than standard sugars, and raise blood sugar more slowly as well. For dietary purposes, I would treat them as complex carbohydrates, rather than as sugars, but ultimately they’re still carbs. Fiber, on the other hand, I think is not available at all for metabolism. Of course, I’m not a dietician, and could easily be wrong about the fiber.