I bought a big brand bag of dry roasted peanuts the other day. Delicious.

Recently I've been trying to understand nutrition, especially in relation to diabetes. I was under the impression that sugar, starches, and fibre were all carbs.

If this is true, which I think it is, then why does the back of said peanut packaging say there is more fibre than carbs?

Is my understanding incorrect or else what's going on?

Here's the evidence:

enter image description here

  • Are you sure you are reading correctly? IIRC, fiber accounts for around 50% of carb calories in peanuts. – JohnP Nov 24 '17 at 3:43
  • I've added my evidence. Although I just realised it does say Average Values, but still this is way off ! – Pixel Nov 24 '17 at 5:55
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    It's a well known, wide spread confusion and described well here fiberfacts.org/fibers-count-calories-carbohydrates – bummi Nov 25 '17 at 8:59

The label on the picture is wrong. Both fiber and sugar belong to carbohydrates, so sugars (5.1 g) + fiber (8.6 g) = 13.7 g carbohydrates, but the label says only 7.2 g.

According to NutritionData, 100 g of dry roasted peanuts contain:

  • 4.2 g sugars
  • 8 g fiber
  • 21.5 g carbohydrates

The 9 g of carbohydrates that are not specifically mentioned is starch.

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  • So my understanding that sugar + starch + fiber = carbs was correct, and the label was wrong. – Pixel Nov 24 '17 at 8:44
  • Yes. What's wrong in the label is "carbohydrate" amount. – Jan Nov 24 '17 at 9:52
  • Labels never seem to mention starch. This should be included in carbohydrates. – Pixel Nov 25 '17 at 10:54

The link @bummi provided is very helpful in understanding this. Here's a quote:

While fibers are carbohydrates, they do not affect your body’s sugar/glucose levels or the levels of sugar related hormones such as insulin. In fact, high fiber meals take longer to digest and therefore, affect your blood glucose more slowly. This is why it is often recommended that individuals calculating insulin needs should subtract fiber from the total carbohydrates of a food. Therefore, it is often advised that individuals following a carbohydrate-based diet plan not count dietary fiber as a carbohydrate.

For a biochemist, fiber may be a carbohydrate, but since fiber doesn't function in the body in the same way as sugars and starches, nutritional labels work as follows:

  • Fiber is listed separately.

  • Carbohydrate content is given first as a total of sugars and starches (7.2 g in your example).

  • Then the sugar portion of the "carbs" is listed (5.1 g in your example).

Dietitians generally recommend that people with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or diabetes, count carbs by subtracting off the fiber. This helps people compare two types of bread products in the grocery store. As a quick calculation, it can be helpful.

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  • In my example the carbs are 7.2g, the fiber is 8.6g. So carbs - fiber = -1.4g (a negative number)... – Pixel Nov 27 '17 at 14:35
  • @Antinous - What I'm saying is that the company didn't include fiber in their "total carbs" number. 7.2 = 5.1 + 2.1. Simple carbs (sugars) = 5.1. That means that complex carbs (starches) = 2.1. They didn't include fiber in their carbohydrate figure. You will see that all nutritional labels follow this scheme. – aparente001 Nov 27 '17 at 15:53
  • This is bad news. So the carb reading on any nutritional packet is not the total carbs. Very misleading. You actually have to add fiber on top of that too. Any non specified carbs are just starch. This isn't very consumer clear. They should specifically state starch sugars and fiber under carbs IMO. Unless they're trying to deliberately confuse people. How is the consumer meant to know this (without resorting to SE !) – Pixel Nov 27 '17 at 20:03
  • @Antinous In a correct label "Carbohydrates" ALWAYS refer to "Total carbohydrates" including starch, sugars and fiber. In the label from the photo, they just made an error from whatever reason. – Jan Nov 28 '17 at 13:19
  • I agree @Jan but having looked at the UK/EU legal requirements for such information allows companies to display confusing information. – Pixel Nov 28 '17 at 14:25

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