Calculating Net Carbs

Disclaimer: I am not a nutrition expert or a doctor. If you have any concerns or medical questions about this lifestyle or ingredients, please consult your doctor first. This is only about what worked for me, which may be different for you. This site uses affiliate links that allow me to make a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support!

I know counting ANYTHING on a diet or lifestyle is never fun, however, counting net carbs is so easy and tolerable. Most meats such as beef, chicken, fish, and pork are 0g of carbs, so there’s nothing to have to remember! It’s the other processed and packaged items all of us low-carb-eaters have to watch out for. Some cheeses have carbs and others don’t. I always try to get full-fat dairy items when it comes to cheese, butter, and cream. Regular milk is off limits due to added sugars, but unsweetened vanilla almond milk is a great substitute. As you become more accustomed to the keto lifestyle, calculating carbs will become second nature. I’ve even started memorizing my favorite foods. I tend to check the amount of net carbs in everything in my buggy (I’m from the south-that’s what we call a shopping cart) at the grocery store. This habit prevents me from getting home and realizing I shouldn’t have bought something.

Nutrition Label

The way to determine the amount of carbs (measured in grams) in a food item is to look at the nutrition label. As you can see in the image to the above, there is a whole carb section. Within that section, there is usually a small list of dietary fiber, total/added sugars, and sugar alcohols (imitation, yet sugar-free sweetener). You will need to subtract the sugar alcohols AND the dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate number. That number will be your net carbs per serving for that food item. Set a goal of total daily net carbs that works for you. My initial goal was 30g or 40g a day. Now that I consider myself well seasoned, I try to stay between 20g and 30g a day. Sometimes it’s even less by pure accident depending on what I eat.

Let’s calculate the net carbs on the example label:

4g of dietary fiber + 12g of sugar alcohols= 16g

18g total carbs – 16g of dietary fiber and sugar alcohols = 2g


Keep in mind, there are various names for common sugar alcohols. Do not confuse the actual sugars with sugar alcohols. A few of the common sugar alcohols are maltitol, erythritol, xylitol, mannitol, and sorbitol.

I keep track of my daily carbs on my cell phone. Any of those handy sticky note style apps will do the job. Each time you eat, just add the net carb total from that snack or meal to your daily net carb count. Sometimes I don’t even use the app because keeping track mentally happens naturally. The numbers you have to remember are so low compared to calorie counting that it becomes a piece of cake…or maybe I should say STEAK!

Update: If you would like a more physical way to track your daily carbs, I have created a printable carb/meal tracking page. There is also a printable recipe page for carb friendly and regular recipes. The links for each are below:

Carb/Meal Tracker
Recipe Page
Carbs List

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