What are digestible carbs?

Brandon Hahn March 21, 2013 Nutrition Articles
What are digestible carbs?

This term is now on the rise. A digestible carb. It’s an interesting approach to allowing consumers to think. So, if there’s a digestible carb, then how much is not digestible? Is a digestible carb the same as “net” carbs? There is a company out there that has created this allure around digestible carbs. I decided to dig and see if there was merit. What was in this product that turned wheat into something that possessed digestible and indigestible carbs. It’s time to dive into the wheatness protection program.

Digestible vs. indigestible carbs

If you are like me, you want to dive right in and find out what the H is going on. As someone on a diet, I was curious if these products with digestible carbs were going to make my dieting season a cake walk. The term digestible carbs are those that are actually absorbed.

The flip side would be the majority of indigestible carbs. These are carbs that do not get digested and absorbed. They remain intact and pass through the small intenstine where they lie in the colon to ferment. They are similar in the way they work to fiber, however indigestible carbs are not recognized as fiber by the FDA.

Just in case this is sparking a name in your head. A company known as Dreamfield deems indigestible carbs as protected carbs. There claim is that a patent pending blend of fibers and proteins keeps these indigestible carbs intact and not enter the bloodstream. The evidence they claim has not been handed over to verify such claims. There products are mainly composed of durum wheat which is processed down into powder known as semolina. Everything else occurs during their manufacturing process to turn the durum wheat into the Dreamfield pasta varieties.

Digestible carbs vs. net carbs

There is supposed to be a difference here because the term net carbs calls certain ingredients into question. One ingredient that is often removed from the number of net carbs is, sugar alcohols. It is stated that sugar alcohols can have varied effects on blood sugar from person to person.

The variance is that Dreamfield would like there to be a noted difference.

The claim is that for each batch of Dreamfield product, they have in vivo tests run on around 50 subjects. These digestible carbs are those that are digested by the body and sent into the bloodstream. Whereas the indigestible or “protected” carbs simply pass through without entering the bloodstream. In the Dreamfield test’s they claim that the digestible carbs are all that are processed by the body in human trials. However, the process in which these tests are not able to be revealed due to patent pending testing procedures.

Overall, it appears that there is no true difference between digestible carbs versus net carbs, other than a few asterisks the company (Dreamfield) would like to make clear.

Are they low carb?

The grand question is, “are they a low carb item”? Well, low carb is different in varying circles. The overall goal of low carb is to keep blood sugar levels from being elevated. Most would deem a low carb meal as less than 15-20 grams total. The issue can become tricky, especially when factoring the overall glycemic load (if you also factor in the glycemic index of foods when dieting).

So, the big reveal has arrived. Well, the only difference between a digestible carb and net carb in this instance is due to the manufacturer’s description. Which means that the product is “low carb” for the low carb crowd. People often factor in all the variables to bring it down to net carbs. Low carb food items always list the number of net carbs. So, the Dreamfield products would indeed be low carb, however…

Your research should not stop there. If you intend to consume a product like this, do your own trials. Test your blood sugar prior to eating this, then immediately after, followed by 1 to 2 hours after (all depending on how often you like to poke yourself). If you see a spike, it’s not going to be your best bet. The reason I mention this is two-fold. One, it’s a newer way to hide certain aspects of a product. So, do your research to see what it does to your body. Two, various forums out there have interesting self trials on this product. There are a mix of positives and negatives. The positives are obvious in that it tastes like pasta and doesn’t affect blood sugar too much. The negatives are that it does seem to affect blood sugar in some people, though it is to a lesser degree than standard pasta. Another issue is that the blood sugar levels tend to remain elevated for prolonged periods of time. Again, research it on your body as there is not enough conclusive evidence to say this is the perfect food for your diet ventures.

About The Author

Brandon has been in the fitness industry for over seven years and has trained over 1,000 clients. He has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and continues to improve his physique with hardwork and dedication. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Brandon has the knowledge and skills to get you on the fast track to fitness.