Nutritional question

When looking at a label on food, it's pretty much possible to calculate the calories based on the carbs, fat, and protein listed even if the calories weren't listed. Right?

But with carbs, there is sugar and fibre listed underneath it, but it doesn't add up to the total carb count. So (looking at a random label here), if something says it has 32g of carbs per serving, 5g of fibre, and 1g of sugar, what makes up the additional 26g of carbs? Is that empty space made up of "complex" carbs? Is there a way to approximate the glycemic index of a food (or at least the percentage of a food that is sugar) based on the ratio of sugar versus carbs listed?


1 g protein = 4 Calories
1 g carb = 4 Calories
1 g fat = 9 Cal

where 1 Calorie = 1000 calories.

Without looking at the food label, it's hard to determine the carb make-up. I imagine that if you're looking at a package of Wheat Thins, then the 26g of carbs would be processed wheat, versus something like Raisin Bran where I imagine the remainder would be bran. I doubt if what you are looking at is that straightforward if you are asking here, but you can always refer to the list of ingredients to get an idea since they are listed in order of content.

Dunno, but I'm curious now.

Can't really help you with calculating the glycemic index of food. As far as percentage sugar goes, if you want to know the percentage of food that is sugar, I can't think of a way offhand to calculate the percentage of food that is sugar just from the sugar and carb content. Seems like knowing the total amount in grams of the food is a necessity.

Serving size is 1/2 cup (48g).

The rest of the nutritional label is:

Fat: 3.5g (0.5g saturated, 0g trans ... so again, what's the remaining 3g of fat, just "regular" fat??)
0g cholesterol, 0g sodium
7g protein
190 calories, 30 calories from fat

In this case the food is oatmeal so the ingredients are just rolled oats. My question about the "remaining carbs" was that I'm not so much wondering about exactly what ingredients they consists of, but more if they are "complex carbs" since they aren't sugars and aren't fibre? What else is there that could make up carbs?

Maybe I need to find an introductory book on nutrition?

I've been thinking that it might be interesting to read a nutrition book unplugged from diabetes too! We talk about food so much but it's all sort of based on a sort of "hive knowledge" put together from our discourse, buttressed with occasional links to articles and books. I've read Gary Taubes' two books, which are interesting but they are very specific and don't have this sort of interesting information in them.

My solution to "What are the other carbs?" is not to ask the question and simply to munch away although a lot of times, I will make choices like 1/2 avocado (ok, loaded with fat but still yummy!) > bread and stuff like that. I will still eat bread but I don't eat nearly as much of it as I used to. I think that glycemic index is perhaps a bit different than straight carb/ sugar ratio. I have read about glycemic index for years and haven't quite figured out it's point. It's easier to eat and test to see what something does than to add another number into my mix.

Yeah, I don't use glycemic index, either. It is more than carbs since ti seems to be the speed at which a food raises blood sugar. I wonder if that's even relevant for those of us who don't produce insulin?

I ask these questions more because I'm curious than any practical value. I also try to snack on things like fruit instead of bread or crackers.

Let me know if you find a good nutrition book. I think it would be an interesting topic to learn about outside of diabetes. I've read one of Taubes' books but would like something more general.

I just looked up this margarine to find out if it had milk (since I found it sitting in my fridge) and saw that the ingredients listed the % of each. Kinda neat. Would be great if all products did that!

The total carbs don't always add up because the grams of sugar on the label does not distinguish between natural and added sugars.

The list of ingredients may help with determining these as FHS suggested. I often use the old time exchange method to measure my food - but I eat a lot of apples and it's easy to count and know what kind of sugar is being consumed.

When I eat processed foods (or any food), I count the total carb and don't worry over the breakdown. It's been working for years this way.

Ah, yeah, that's always been my understanding anyway. A "complex carb", basically, is anything that isn't a simple sugar. The caveat is that when you start linking simple sugars (monomers) together into progressively larger sugars (dimers, trimers...) and polymers, it's not always clear where exactly a carbohydrate goes from being "simple" to "complex".

Since it's rolled oats though, like many carby produce, the complex carb in question is going to be starch. Remember, though, that any carb that isn't a simple sugar (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose...) is going to be considered complex based on the molecular size. So, even bleached white bread is considered a "complex" carb even though its glycemic index may be through the roof.

Yeah, probably the remaining fat is unsaturated.