What is the remaining carb?

In any food label there is carb section, with total carb, fiber and sugar. Sometimes alcohol sugar.

Convention wisdom is carb are separated into fiber, sugar (fructose and glucose) and starch. So from a label total carb less fiber, less sugar, whatever remaining must be starch.

Sadly there is scant info about this. Let's look at broccoli, 1 cup. 6.0g carb, 2.4g fiber and 1.6g sugar. So 1g starch? Isn't broccoli non-starchy?

So what is the answer?

George H
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1 Comment

702551 April 6, 2018
There are four primary dietary categories of carbohydrates:

- sugar
- sugar alcohol
- starch
- dietary fiber

Carbohydrates generally come from plant-based food sources and most of these foods have varying proportions of these four dietary categories. Food from natural sources will not be exclusively one category.

(Biochemists use different groupings: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. These are based on chemical structure and not dietary function.)

So FDA total carbohydrates would be the sugar and dietary fiber listed on an FDA food label plus the unlisted quantities of sugar alcohol and starch.

Note that 20-30% of non-sugar, non-dietary fiber carbohydrates is rather typical for your average vegetable, ones that aren't considered as starchy.

For starches viewed conventionally, like all-purpose flour, white rice, potatoes, etc., the non-sugar, non-dietary fiber percentage is about 85-95%. The starch as a percentage of overall carbohydrates is much, MUCH higher.

From a dietary perspective, saying that "carbs are bad for you" is wrong. Having an unbalanced mix of different carbohydrates is bad for you. For the typical American, this is a diet that is high on heavily processed starches (e.g., white bread), excessive amounts of refined sugar and little dietary fiber.

Note that one can live very healthily with a high carbohydrate diet that has a more sensible balance of the four categories. Typically this means lots of vegetables and beans, some fruit, and small amounts of starchy foods (like rice or potatoes).

For further information, please start with the FDA documents on food labeling:


If you use the FDA site's search engine using the parameter "carbohydrate", you will receive 3300+ results for related documentation concerning carbohydrates just on their site alone.

Enjoy reading!
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