We like to think we’ve got a handle on this carb-counting thing. But the truth is, most of us have very little clue — not least because nutrition labels on packaged products are so darn confusing. One of our beta testers over at the new community recently posted this query:
When I’m counting carbs I often read the “category” of carbs that are in the food I’m eating (i.e. Dietary Fiber, Sugar, Other Carbohydrates, etc.). I have noticed that often they don’t quite add up to the Total Carbohydrate amount.
Maybe this is a stupid question with an obvious answer but:
Does anyone know what these “mystery carbs” are or where they come from?
Not a stupid question at all. I couldn’t answer it off-hand. Why are we consuming more carbs than appears necessary or possible based on the corresponding food data? For some insight, I turned to local San Francisco nutrition expert Norae Ferrara. Of course, nothing is simple with diabetes. The answer was much more than I bargained for. Here’s what this food whiz had to say:
Companies may choose to round up or down to the nearest .5g. They may choose to round .3g fiber up to .5g, or just call it “less than 1g”, when it is a desired component, or they may choose to round .3g sugar to 0g, for example, when the component is not highly desirable.
That sounds pretty sneaky to me. Might be OK for enticing dieters to eat their products, but a veritable nightmare for anyone attempting to dose insulin based on that information. No wonder I manage to make frequent “mistakes” even when I’m eating neatly labeled foods. I know what you’re thinking: don’t trust the packaging, learn to estimate carbs yourself — within a fraction of .5g. Correct. Great strategy. But it seems like that could take a lifetime, and a lot patience that I do not possess. *Sigh*