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Why doesn't sugars and fiber add up to total carbs on labels?

Commented on June 10, 2013
Created June 05, 2013 at 11:00 PM

From my understanding all carbs break down to three camps, fiber, glucose or fructose. So on food labels why doesn't total carbs == fiber + sugars? What is the missing component?

Bonus question: for the missing component mentioned above, using only the food label is it possible to determine what the eventual product of the carbohydrate will be. Will it always break down to glucose/maltose, or will it always be sucrose/fructose? Other than the USDA database, which is limited how do you find the mix of sugars in a particular food?

I ask because sucrose/fructose is primarily taken up by the liver, and glucose/maltose is more readily absorbed by muscle tissue which is important for my purposes.

2d5221fa80d04a3d8ac6f471f9feae81

(894)

on June 10, 2013
at 12:56 PM

Sugars are free form glucose and fructose(etc) molecules. Starch is those same molecules in a structure that requires enzymes to break down. So is fiber - an even tighter structure of sugar molecules which requires different enzymes(that we have very little of or lack entirely).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2013
at 02:25 AM

Starch is primarily glucose.

36b94c834b5153e693c17f13402f1123

(5)

on June 05, 2013
at 11:31 PM

OK, but what is starch? Is it broken down into glucose/maltose, or fructose/sucrose?

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3 Answers

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0
2d5221fa80d04a3d8ac6f471f9feae81

(894)

on June 05, 2013
at 11:25 PM

It's starch. The rest is starch. For the life of me, I never understood why they didn't annotate it in the lower column.

36b94c834b5153e693c17f13402f1123

(5)

on June 05, 2013
at 11:31 PM

OK, but what is starch? Is it broken down into glucose/maltose, or fructose/sucrose?

2d5221fa80d04a3d8ac6f471f9feae81

(894)

on June 10, 2013
at 12:56 PM

Sugars are free form glucose and fructose(etc) molecules. Starch is those same molecules in a structure that requires enzymes to break down. So is fiber - an even tighter structure of sugar molecules which requires different enzymes(that we have very little of or lack entirely).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 06, 2013
at 02:25 AM

Starch is primarily glucose.

0
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on June 06, 2013
at 05:05 AM

[Related tangent] I've always thought the fiber your gut bacteria consume and convert to fats should be under the Nutrition Facts section for fat . . .

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on June 06, 2013
at 04:47 AM

"Carbohydrates (saccharides) are divided into four chemical groupings:
monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. In general, the monosaccharides and disaccharides, which are smaller (lower molecular weight) carbohydrates, are commonly referred to as sugars." Source

In general, monosaccharides and disaccharides ("the sugars") tend to be included on nutritional labels,
Whereas, polysaccharides (eg. starch) and oligosaccharides tend not to be included on nutritional labels.

I saw an example of this recently, on the nutrition label on a jar of blackstrap molasses. In this case, i discovered (after an email to the vendor) that the 'missing item' from the carbs on the label were the oligosaccharides.....& if you've ever wondered, the most common oligosaccharide in blackstrap molasses is raffinose.

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