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Net impact on Carbs



I've been doing some research on this and I'm still unsure if I should count the total carbs or the net impact carbs. For example, I just bought these bars made by EAS called Advant Edge Carb Control Nutrition Bar. The back says 18 grams of carbs, but the front says 2grams of impact carbs. The bar claims that only 2 grams should be counted toward your daily carb intake. It goes on to say that only starches and sugars cause blood sugar changes and that other carbs, including Glycerin, have a minimal effect on blood sugar.

So what's the deal? Should I worry about the non net impact carbs while doing CKD? How do you guys look at it? Ripper, LTE, ACE, WSURaider, etc., what are your thoughts?


While I was searching the net for this answer, I found lots of ads selling low carb snacks, but few articles discussing this topic. Below I've pasted one of the few articles I could find. Keep in mind that the source may be questionable, as I've never heard of them, but that doesn't mean anything because I haven't heard of alot of people . 
**************************************************


Here's the link to this article in case you want to go straight to the source:

http://www.geocities.com/jenny_the_bean/products.htm 

Should You Count that "Low Impact" Carb?
Every drugstore, supermarket, and department store in the U.S. is filled with snack products that claim to be perfect for the low carb diet. The labels on these products may list 24 grams of carbs but assure you that you only have to count 2 or 3 of these grams in your daily carb allotment. If these make you suspicious, perhaps you prefer the brands that list only a gram or two of carbs in their nutritional information. But a look at their ingredient list almost always shows that glycerine or maltitol are among the major ingredients of these bars too--the same substances reported on the labels of the bars that list 20-some grams of carbs in their nutritional information. 

What's Going on Here?
Most of these "low carb" products are sweetened with substances called "sugar alcohols." Maltitol, mannitol, and sorbitol are some of the names of these sweeteners. Despite the name, these aren't sugars or alcohols. They are hydrogenated starch molecules, produced by three large agribusiness companies, SPI Polyols, Roquette America, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland--a company that having saturated the world with High Fructose Corn Syrup is now looking for new ways to make money out of corn. 

These sugar alcohols are metabolized. Each gram of a sugar alcohol turns into 1 to 3 calories rather than the 4 calories that other starches produce. US law requires that they be reported as carbs on food labels and included in calorie counts--though many companies, notoriously those who make chocolate bars and "protein" bars do not report them in their label nutritional information. 

The manufacturers of these products claim that they do not raise blood sugar, and hence, because they supposedly have no impact on insulin levels, the manufacturers urge you to ignore them, magically converting foods that have 24 grams of carbs--and the associated calories--into foods with a diet-friendly 3 grams. 

If it were true that these foods did not raise blood sugar, it would make them ideal for the low carb diet. However, it is not always true. Some lucky people can eat these low carb treats and still lose weight on a low carb diet. But hundreds of people who have stopped by the alt.support.diet.low-carb news group to ask why their weight loss has stopped cold, find that these foods and the sugar alcohols they contain are the reason for their long-time stalls. 

Lying Labels?
Many people with diabetes, who can track blood sugar rises with their glucometers, find that these products cause a significant rise in their blood sugar, contrary to the label claims. 
I'm one of them. My blood sugar rises almost as high when I eat a maltitol-sweetened Russell Stover "No Sugar" candy as it does with the regular Russell Stover candy of the same size. The only difference is that it takes two hours for the blood sugar rise to occur when I eat the "no sugar" candy compared to the one hour that it takes when I eat the regular candy. The blood sugar rise is followed by a period of low blood sugar--the hallmark of an insulin response--and the trigger for intense, diet-busting hunger. So much for "truth in labeling." 

I am not the only person who has found this to be true. Many other people with diabetes have posted their reports online. Fran McCullough warns readers of the very high blood sugar spikes reported by diabetics after eating the glycerine-containing Atkins bars in her book, Living Low Carb. 

Not for Everyone!
However, there are other people with diabetes who report that they don't see a blood sugar rise when they eat foods containing these sugar alcohols. They find these products give them a way to incorporate legitimate treats into their diets and are grateful that they are now so plentiful. 

There are also a number of successful low carbers who report in the diet newsgroup that they have been able to lose significant amounts of weight while including these "low carb" treats in their food plans on a daily basis. You will often find them railing against the "puritanism" of those who warn new dieters against them. 

Clearly these products do not affect everyone in the same way. For some people they are a godsend. For others, they turn out to be "Stall in a Box." 

Why Do Sugar Alcohols Only Affect Some People?
Since it seems that only a subset of the population metabolizes sugar alcohols as sugar, it is quite possible that some people lack some enzyme(s) needed to digest them and turn them into blood sugar. Since those people's bodies can't turn these sugar alcohols into glucose, they do not experience a blood sugar rise when they eat them. 

Lending some support to this idea is the fact that some of the people who report that they did not experience a blood sugar rise when they ate a product with a sugar alcohol in it, add that they experienced intense diarrhea or gas later on. These are the classic symptoms of what happens when starches pass undigested into the lower gut where they may be fermented by bacteria (causing gas) or suck water out of the cells lining the colon (causing diarrhea). 

Many of us who do get the blood sugar rise do not experience this diarrhea. Our digestive enzymes appear to be able to break down these hydrogenated starches into glucose--though given the time lag, this happens slowly. 

What about Glycerine?
Glycerine is another sweet additive that manufacturers add to low carb bars. Here again, you'll find that, because manufacturers claim glycerine does not raise blood sugar, they omit it in the carb section of the label information or, if they do list it, they do not include it in the number of diet-counted "impact" carbs. ( Glycerine is sometimes spelled Glycerin and is another name for glycerol.) 

As Lee Rodgers, proprietor of The Low Carb Retreat explains, it is only true that Glycerine does not raise blood sugar when people are not low carbing . Rogers states: 

When liver glycogen is full, glycerol is converted to fat. 
When liver glycogen is empty, glycerol is converted to glucose. 
And sometimes just goes right through without doing anything 
In short, if you are in ketosis (having emptied your liver of glycogen, its stored carbs) glycerine turns into blood sugar, and then, of course, raises insulin. 

A University Study Shows Atkins Bars Raise Your Insulin Levels Out of Proportion to their Carbs
A recent study at Ohio State University, partially funded by Atkins Nutritionals entitled "Insulin Response To Some Energy Bars Is Out Of Balance" demonstrated that the low carb bars have a significant effect on insulin levels despite label claims. Even more disturbing, the rise in insulin was much higher than the corresponding rise in glucose. 

The Atkins Advantage bars caused blood insulin levels to rise to an amount that was only 26% lower than the rise caused by eating the same weight of white bread while blood sugar rose an amount 71% lower than the rise caused by eating the white bread. 

This means that the bars caused a rise in insulin that was not met by a corresponding rise in blood sugar. This would tend to make the bars a trigger for cravings, since insulin that doesn't find carbs to mop up tends to cause low blood sugar and low blood sugar causes intense hunger. Even worse, the high insulin secreted in response to the bars is likely to turn any fat the low carber ingests with the bars into body fat. Here's a link to a pdf file containing the published study. 

So what does this mean for you?
If you are just starting out low carbing, you would be well advised to treat these products with caution. If you are one of the people who do metabolize sugar alcohols, for whom these grams of "low impact carbs" turn into regular, old, high impact glucose, eating a couple of these treats each day could easily derail your low carb diet by adding another 20 to 40 grams of carbs to your intake. 

That's why you might consider low carbing without these foods for the first few weeks of your diet until you have become accustomed to how your body feels when your blood sugar has stopped reacting to carbs. If you crave a sweet treat during these first few weeks, try one of the truly low carb treats and snacks whose recipes have been posted on the web. You can find these recipes using the Google Groups Advanced Search scanning the alt.support.diet.low-carb newsgroup for the term "REC." You'll find hundreds of recipes containing no "hidden carbs" at all. Do this until you've gotten the hang of what low carbing feels like to your body. 

Once you've gotten into a steady low carb regime and are losing weight, you can test these commercial "low carb" products to see what effect they have on you. If you keep losing weight you can relax. You are one of the lucky ones who can treat them as "low impact" carbs. If you don't, well, for you there's no free lunch. Continue making your own truly low carb treats--and losing weight. 

If you are diabetic, you don't have to guess about how sugar alcohols affect you. You can turn to your trusty blood sugar meter to see what they do to your blood sugar. But if you test, test products containing sugar alcohols 2 and 3 hours after eating. Testing only at one hour after eating may be too early and you may miss the blood sugar spike they cause. 

Don't Forget the Extra Calories
Even if you can eat snack products containing sugar alcohols without spiking, it's worth giving some thought to the question of how good an idea it is to fill your diet up with calorie-dense low carb junk food. 

Though the best selling diet book authors make it sound as if low carbing somehow magically "melts the fat away" this is not true. Low carbing evens out blood sugar, which eliminates hunger and makes it very easy to eat a lot less. But to achieve long term weight loss you must eat less than you burn each day. As you get closer to your weight goal, this becomes more and more evident. The smaller you are, the less food your body burns, and most people find they cannot get the last 20 pounds off without watching their calories closely and eating only 9 - 10 times their body weight in calories. (i.e. if you weigh 140 lbs you may find you have to eat 1269 to 1400 calories a day to lose, depending on the speed of your metabolism and your activity level.) 

With that in mind, you can see why, independent of the blood sugar issue, that snack bar with its 240 calories that you eat every day between meals may have serious repercussions for your diet--besides replacing more nutritious foods like the low carb vegetables that form such an important part of the diet of so many successful low carb dieters.






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