Net Carbs are total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. Fiber and sugar alcohols are subtracted from the carb count because the body doesn't process them and absorb them the way it does regular carbs. Because we don't digest them like normal carbs, fiber and sugar alcohols don't affect blood sugar levels.
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Net carbs are determined by subtracting those carbohydrates that have a negligible effect on blood sugar levels from the total carbohydrates. Examples include fiber, glycerin & maltitol, which may or may not be listed on the label. Example: If the label reads: Total Carbohydrates 20g, 15g Sugar Alcohol, 1g Dietary Fiber. Subtract Sugar Alcohol and Dietary Fiber. The effective carb count is 1g. (20 –15 – 1 = 4).
Net Carbs are the carbohydrates that can be digested and processed by the body as dietary carbohydrate, so they directly impact blood sugar. The figure for Net Carbs represents the total grams of carbohydrate minus grams of fiber, glycerine and sugar alcohols. Net Carbs are the only carbs that you need to count when you do Atkins.