Only 3.2 carbs! So?

I’m pretty sure a ‘carb’ means ‘grams of carbohydrates.’

How many calories are in a gram of carbohydrates?

What are they counting there? Does alcohol itself count as a ‘carb’? Does simple sugar?

I had this problem too. A “carb”, as it’s popularly referred to, means a gram of carbohydrate.

Googling “calories per gram carbohydrate” returns this: 4 calories per gram.

Sugar (sucrose) is indeed a carbohydrate.

Ethyl alcohol is also a carbohydrate, but AFAIK it is metabolised differently from food carbohydrates, in that it can’t be stored by the body.

Complex carbs/sugars and simple carbs/sugars are lumped together as “carbohydrates” in nutritional info listings, the the simple sugars are specified:

carbohydrates: 27
sugars: 4

The 27 already includes the 4 simple sugars. So we know this serving has 23 grams of complex carbs and 4 simple sugars.

Fibre might also be listed. If fibre is listed, that’s free since it will pass thru your body providing no calories.

The above would be typical of bread. Why simple sugars listed in bread? Well, even wheat breads often contain high fructose corn syrup.

Also be aware the the “Carbohydrate unit” is a measure used by diabetics to help them dose their insulin. One carb unit equals 15 grams of carbohydrates.

So if it says 3.2 carbs, it could mean carbohydrate units, or 48 grams of carbohydrates. In fact, it probably does, as 3.2 grams of carbs is a pretty trivial amount, even for a diabetic.


Actually, I’ve seen a lot of low-carb products in the stores lately (bread, muffins, tortillas, etc.) that will say like “5 grams of carbs per serving!” or whatever. It IS a trivial amount, but for people following extremely low-carb diets who want to count every last gram, it can be useful.

Most of the packaging I’ve seen lately is using the “grams of carbohydrate” sense of “carb” and not the “diabetic meal exchange” sense. Usually packaging referring to carb exchanges will say something like, “2 carb exchanges”, and not just “2 carbs”.

On a side note, I really hate the “3 carbs” usage, and wish people would just say “3 grams of carbs”. It makes more sense and isn’t as confusing. Also, to my ear, “3 carbs” sounds vaguely ungrammatical.

And when everyone is really edu-macated, they’ll come to realize that there are good carbs and bad carbs…or carbs that break down slowly (good, unrefined), and carbs that break down quickly(bad, refined, insulin spiking).

By the way, if you were on, for instance, the Atkins diet, you would be shooting for an amount of carb intake somewhere between 20 and 100 grams of carb per day.
By the way, I despise the phrasing “4 carbs” and would much prefer if people would fricking say “4 grams of carbohydrate”.