Meaning of Other Carbohydrates Listed on Nutrition Label

Q: Sometimes I see food labels list “other carbohydrate.” What are they and is it something I’m supposed to get more of or limit??

A: “Other carbohydrate” is listed on some food label’s Nutrition Facts panel underneath “total carbohydrate” and refers mainly to complex carbohydrates, commonly called starches. (If a food contains sweeteners called sugar alcohols – xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol – they also are included in this group.) Starches are the main type of carbohydrate in bread, cereal, pasta, potatoes and starchy vegetables like corn. They include carbohydrate from whole grains, but also carbohydrate from refined grains, from which valuable nutrients and phytochemicals have been removed. Because these starchy foods can also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthful phytochemicals, you’ll probably be eating plenty of these “other carbohydrates” if you are eating the plant-focused eating pattern recommended for heart health and lower cancer risk.

There is no uniform goal for how much “other carbohydrate” we should get; it depends on individual calorie needs, which varies with activity level, age and size.

The Author:

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN - American Institute for Cancer Research

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, http://www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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