Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Alan B » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:43 pm

I keep a note of my energy and nutrition intake using the EU 'Back of Pack' nutrition labelling as a guide. (That is what is there for).

CHO has an average energy value of 4 kcalories per gram and fibre about 2 kcalories per gram.
Now, the EU regulation (1169/2011 Annex 1) seems to suggest that fibre, as defined, is not used by the human body to extract this energy:
Annex 1 para. 12
'fibre' means carbohydrate polymers with three or more monomeric units, which are neither digested or absorbed in the human small intestine and belong to the following categories: Then follows a list of fibre categories (can't copy 'n paste the pdf).

Am I correct in not including the fibre energy (since the human body does not appear to extract it) in my calculations and treating fibre as separate from CHO?

I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) that the US food labelling system includes fibre (sorry, fiber) as part of the total CHO energy. Or perhaps their definition of, er, fiber is different from the EU?

Any comments?
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby NineBerry » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:05 pm

The molecules in fibres cannot be directly absorbed by the intestines. But bacteria in the large intestines can break down these molecules and create molecules that the intestines can absorb and that are then used by the body. So, that is why the energy amount on the label now contains 2kcal per gram for fibres ( it didn't until five years ago in the EU). When counting calories, you have to include fibres.

However: All these numbers are only estimates. The numbers on the labels do not give 100% what energy you consume. This is also partly dependent on your individual body and how and what combination of foods you eat.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Alan B » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:27 pm

Thanks. I wasn't sure.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Brian Peacock » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:54 pm

I watched 'The Martian' last night. I don't think he'd survive on a potato a day.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Strontium Dog » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:02 pm

Why not, the Irish did.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby laklak » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:53 pm

Well, you Pommie bastards thought we could.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Tero » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:03 pm

The fiber is there and the bacteria use it. The food particles break down better and you absorb the remaining starch. But the energy of the fiber may go mainly to the food needs of the bacteria, not you. The bacteria in cows are massive amounts and the gut is longer. They can survive on fiber/ cellulose.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Alan B » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:34 pm

So, to include fibre as part of the body's energy supply or not...? :dunno:
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby NineBerry » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:50 pm

Yes, you need to include it, because the 2 kcal/g is the average amount of energy that the intestines can absorb from the energy in the fibres. The actual amount of chemical energy stored in the the fibres is much higher and other animals could get a lot more out of them than 2kcal/g.

But as I said before: You shouldn't think that the amount specified on the labels gives an accurate amount of how much energy you get from eating it. There are a lot of influences. If two people eat the exactly same stuff, they will get most likely get different amounts of energy from the food. It is also important whether you process the food or don't process it. For example, when you eat a spoon full of oats and then drink a glass of milk you will intake fewer calories than when you eat them together and then also fewer than when you first cook the oats in the milk.

Also, the average of 2kcal/g of fibres is only an average. The real amount depends on the actual type of fibres. But there is a certain limit of effort one is willing to put into getting more and more precise results.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby pErvinalia » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:03 pm

I thought you Europeans had moved into the modern age and used SI units. What's with all this calorie shit? AND mixing it with an SI unit like kilo... :nono:
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby NineBerry » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:42 pm

Legally, the labelling has to use Joule, but using kcal _additionally_ is still allowed and quite common.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Tero » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:11 pm

The bacteria do break down cellulose and use the shorter bit for their energy needs. You as the host gain mostly body heat.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby Strontium Dog » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:18 pm

I only worry about carb intake (excluding fibre) myself. Limit that to a sensible amount and you are cushty. No need to calorie count.
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby JimC » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:59 pm

Moral fibre is what we are all lacking today, folks... :nono:
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Re: Carbohydrates (CHO) and Fibre - Energy Values

Postby mistermack » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:56 am

I think that calorie counting isn't all it's cracked up to be.
It sounds simple, to just restrict yourself to a certain number of calories. But it's nearly impossible to control your weight that way.
If you don't satisfy your body's demands, the cravings are near enough impossible to fight, just with willpower.

So willpower needs help. To lose weight, you need to find foods that supply bulk without too many calories. Food that fills the gap, conning your body into thinking it's well fed, so that it doesn't set off the hunger switches in your brain.

Foods with a high water content, like lettuce, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, onions etc etc, can do the trick. You need to eat lots of it, to get the same full feeling as high carb foods give you, but it does work, and you can lose weight without feeling hungry all the time if you apply it properly. Add a not excessive piece of lean steak or fish, and you have a balanced meal without high carbs that kills the cravings very well.
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