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Carbohydrate


 Updated 2015-08-15

 Expression of Carbohydrate Values

Due to its complexity, carbohydrate is more like a concept than being a well-defined component, and it is without any doubt one of the most discussed constituent in foods. The reason being that carbohydrate originally could be (and to some extent still is) anything that is not protein, lipid, moisture or ash (or alcohol if present).
The original definition of carbohydrate, now called carbohydrate by difference, was calculated as dry matter - protein - lipids - ash - alcohol. This is the definition that W. O. Atwater and A. P. Bryant based their food energy assessment system on.

It is important to note that the original definition of total carbohydrate may include many other components than carbohydrate, e.g. organic acids, dietary fibre, polyols, etc.

Intense discussions, espicially in the 1980's and 1990's about dietary fibre's role as carbohydrate and its contribution to energy intake, has lead to different interpretations of the derived component named available carbohydrate, which appears with slightly different different definitions under different cirucumstances,

Preferred Method of Carbohydrate Measurement

In the recommendations, FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 77, the preferred method for measuring carbohydrate is far from as precise as the definition given for protein. It is stated as "Carbohydrate should be analysed in a way that allows determination of both available carbohydrate and dietary fibre"; and then the preferred method of determination is split up in two, one for available carbohydrate and one for dietary fibre:

Available carbohydrate. For purposes of energy evaluation, a standardized, direct analysis of available carbohydrate (by summation of individual carbohydrates) (FAO, 1998; Southgate, 1976) is preferable to an assessment of available carbohydrate by difference (total carbohydrate by difference minus dietary fibre). Direct analysis allows separation of individual mono- and disaccharides and starch, which is useful in determination of energy values. Direct analysis is considered the only acceptable method for analysis of carbohydrate in novel foods or in foods for which a reduced energy content claim is to be made. When carbohydrate is determined by direct analysis, it is expressed as the weight of the carbohydrate with a conversion factor of 17 kJ/g (4.0 kcal/g). When expressed as monosaccharide equivalents, a conversion factor of 16 kJ/g (3.75 kcal/g) should be used.

Dietary fibre. The AOAC (2000) analysis – Prosky (985.29) or similar total dietary fibre method is preferred for analysis of dietary fibre in conventional foods, and an energy conversion factor of 8 kJ/g (2 kcal/g) should be used. When dealing with fibres or oligosaccharides that are specifically added to a food, an analytical method (Prosky or other) and an energy conversion factor specific for the fibre or oligosaccharide in questions should be used. For example, energy conversion factors range from 1.3 kJ/g (0.3 kcal/g) for maize bran fibre to 11 kJ/g (2.6 kcal/g) for fructo-oligosaccharides.

Acceptable Method of Carbohydrate Measurement

Like for the preferred method of carbohydrate measurement, the recommendations, FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 77, divide the acceptable method for carbohydrate measurements up in two groups, the available carbohydrate and the dietary fibre:

Available carbohydrate. Assessment of available carbohydrate by difference (total carbohydrate by difference minus dietary fibre by Prosky or comparable method) is considered acceptable for purposes of energy evaluation of conventional foods. In these instances, an energy factor of 17 kJ/g (4 kcal/g) should be used.

Dietary fibre. At present, dietary fibre is determined by a number of methods yielding different results. The method used should be stated and the results of each method should be identified by INFOODS tagnames (Klensin et al., 1989). In food composition tables, the result should similarly be identified with the tagname. The energy factor to be applied to these results should be appropriate for the faction analysed. In the absence of a specific factor associated with the method, a value of 8 kJ/g (2 kcal/g) should be used.

Comment on the recommendations of the Technical workshop on Food Energy - methods of analysis and conversion factors
The original total carbohydrate by difference

The original Atwater and Bryant definition of total carbohydrate by difference was defined as
 

total carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  dry matter [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]

or

total carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  100 [g/100 g]  -  moisture* [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]
 

with the most common units used in food composition shown in brackets.
As alcohol is not present in most foods and organic acids - although widely distributed in foods - usually appear only in small amounts provisions to exclude these components from the general definition of total carbohydrate was not made by Atwater and Bryant in 1899. However, Merrill and Watt comment on the issue i 1973 explaining that due to the definition of "carbohydrate by difference", it include the organic acids.
It is also interesting that Merrill and Watt already in 1973 comments on the "total carbohydrate by difference" and explains that although the digestibility of fibre is not completely clear, a "carbohydrate by difference" minus fibre may be calculated for certain purposes such as dietary planning for the diabetic as the amount of carbohydrate may be overestimates otherwise.

The preferred method of carbohydrate measurement

The preferred method of measurement of available carbohydrate involves chemical analysis of the components sugars (mono- and disaccharides) as well as starch and can be expressed as
 

available carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  sugars [g/100 g]  +  starch [g/100 g]
 

The acceptable method of carbohydrate measurement

The acceptable method of "measuring" available carbohydrate (by difference) is
 

available carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =   dry matter [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  alcohol [g/100 g]  -  dietary fibre [g/100 g]

or

available carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  100 [g/100 g] -  moisture* [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  alcohol [g/100 g]  -  dietary fibre [g/100 g]
 

Note that all equations given above refer to a portion size/serving size/edible portion of 100 g. If a different basis, i.e. serving size, is used, the 100 g/100 g and all component values in the equations should be changed to the actual basis as is the case with the total carbohydrate in U.S. nutrition labelling regulation (see below).

* The term moisture is preferred to water in order to indicate the H2O content and distinguish moisture from water, which may be a food ingredient containing other components, like minerals.

Other interpretations of the carbohydrate entity

As the entity "available carbohydrate by difference" still contains components that are not real carbohydrates, like polyols and organic acids, you may find slightly different carbohydrate definitions in scientific opinions or regulations. Some of these are listed below.

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 (21CFR101.9)

In the food labelling regulations of U.S.A., the carbohydrate content is expressed as total carbohydrate and shall be calculated by subtraction of the sum of the crude protein, total fat, moisture, and ash from the total weight of the food (as U.S. food labelling is based on serving size). This calculation method is described in A. L. Merrill and B. K. Watt, "Energy Value of Foods--Basis and Derivation," USDA Handbook 74 (slightly revised 1973) pp. 2 and 3.
21CFR101.9 also lists dietary fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber without further definition.

The European nutrition labelling regulation

The Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers has a slightly different definition of carbohydrate in nutrition labelling as "carbohydrate (sugars, polyols, starch)" defined as "‘carbohydrate’ means any carbohydrate which is metabolised by humans, and includes polyols". However, in energy calculations sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides present in food, but excludes polyols) and starch have an energy factor of 17 kJ/g (4 kcal/g), whereas polyols have an energy factor of 10 kJ/g (2.4 kcal/g).

It is important to note that he EU Regulation does not use the terminology "available carbohydrate". It uses only the term "carbohydrate" and organic acids are not included in the definition of carbohydrate. Organic acids have their own energy factor defined as 13 kJ/g (3 kcal/g).

It should also be noted that the EU Regulation actually defines two slightly different carbohydrate values, one including polyols for the nutrition labelling and one excluding polyols for energy calculation, where polyols have their own energy factor.

Despite the fact that the Regulation's definition of carbohydrate indicate analysis of the components sugars, polyols and starch, i.e. carbohydrate is the sum of these components for the list of nutrients on the nutrition label
 

carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  sugars [g/100 g]  +  starch [g/100 g]  +  polyols [g/100 g]
 

and for energy calculation (indicated with an asterisk *):
 

carbohydrate* [g/100 g]  =  sugars [g/100 g]  +  starch [g/100 g]
 

national guidelines may indicate the use of the "by difference priciple".

In the Danish nutrition labelling guidelines, Vejledning om næringsdeklaration, it is stated that most often the analytical values for sugars, polyols and starch are not available and the carbohydrate content may be calculated by difference as:
 

carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  dry matter [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  fibre [g/100 g]  -  organic acids  [g/100 g]
 

Note that alcohol is not included in this definition, possibly because in EU nutrition labelling is not mandatory for products containing more than 1.2 % v/v alcohol.

From the Danish interpretation of the EU Regulation's definitions it may be deducted that carbohydrate for energy calculation (indicated with an asterisk *) can be expressed as
 

carbohydrate* [g/100 g]  =  dry matter [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  fibre [g/100 g]  -  organic acids  [g/100 g]  -  polyols [g/100 g]
 

The Swedish nutrition labelling guidelines, Livsmedelsverkets vägledning till Europaparlamentets och rådets förordning (EU) nr 1169/2011, have a similar definition and include alcohol in the equation, which makes it generally more acceptable and useable than the Danish:
 

carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  100 [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  moisture [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  fibre [g/100 g]  -  alcohol [g/100g]  -  organic acids  [g/100 g]
  

Similarly, the Swedish interpretation of the EU Regulation's definition will lead to the following expression of carbohydrate for energy calculation (indicated with an asterisk *):
 

carbohydrate* [g/100 g]  =  100 [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  moisture [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  fibre [g/100 g]  -  alcohol [g/100g]  -  organic acids  [g/100 g]  -  polyols [g/100 g]
  

In Regulation 1169/2011 protein is defined as kjeldahl nitrogen × 6.25, i.e. with a fixed, general nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor (Jones factor), for all foods.

Dietary fibre, in Regulation 1169/2011 named "fibre", is defined as "carbohydrate polymers with three or more monomeric units, which are neither digested nor absorbed in the human small intestine and belong to the following categories: — edible carbohydrate polymers naturally occurring in the food as consumed, — edible carbohydrate polymers which have been obtained from food raw material by physical, enzymatic or chemical means and which have a beneficial physiological effect demonstrated by generally accepted scientific evidence, — edible synthetic carbohydrate polymers which have a beneficial physiological effect demonstrated by generally accepted scientific evidence". Lignin is regarded as part of the fibre fraktion. Fibre has an energy factor of 8 kJ/g (2 kacl/g).

EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA)

In the Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for carbohydrates and dietary fibre by the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA), a slightly different terminology is used. The Opinion reintroduces ()the term glycaemic carbohydrates defined as "carbohydrates that provide carbohydrate to body cells, mainly in the form of glucose. The main glycaemic carbohydrates are: Glucose and fructose (monosaccharides), sucrose and lactose (disaccharides), malto-oligosaccharides and starch (polysaccharide). In the Opinion the term “sugars” covers monosaccharides and disaccharides".

With this definition the Opinion places itself in line with the FAO Technical workshop's preferred measurement for available carbohydrate except for the terminology:
 

glycaemic carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  sugars [g/100 g]  +  starch [g/100 g]
 

which contrary to the Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 does not include polyols in the carbohydrate definition. 

The Opinion reintroduces the term "glycaemic carbohydrate" or "glycemic carbohydrate" as recommended by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation, Rome 1997 (see FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 66, Carbohydrates in human nutrition).

The Opinion differentiates between sugars naturally occurring in foods, e.g. “intrinsic” sugars, and sugars and sugar preparations added to foods, e.g. “added” or “extrinsic” sugars”. In the Opinion the term “added sugars” refers to sucrose, fructose, glucose, starch hydrolysates (glucose syrup, high-fructose syrup) and other isolated sugar preparations used as such or added during food preparation and manufacturing.

The Opinion considers "that dietary fibre should include all non-digestible carbohydrates. This includes non-starch polysaccharides, resistant starch, resistant oligosaccharides with three or more monomeric units and other non-digestible, but quantitatively minor components that are associated with the dietary fibre polysaccharides, especially lignin (Cho et al., 1997; AACC, 2001; AFSSA, 2002; NNR, 2004; GR, 2006). This definition is in accordance with the definition brought to step 8 in the Codex Alimentarius (Codex, 2009) and agreed by the Codex Alimentarius Committee in 2009, although the inclusion of non-digestible carbohydrates with 3 to 9 monomeric residues is so far left to the national authorities".
In short, the Opinion defines dietary fibre as "non-digestible carbohydrates plus lignin".

Carbohydrate in food composition databases and tables

As can be seen from the information above, the definitions of the component carbohydrate differ with regional/national legislation/regulation as well as national interpretations of this. When it comes to expression of carbohydrate in food composition databases and tables the picture seems to be even more "colourful" due to the extra dimensions, nutrition and food technology, that may be included with the values in food composition databases/tables.
Below is a selection of information found in online food composition databases/tables (August 2015):

Argentina.  The Argentinian Tabla de compositión de alimentos document that carbohydrate values are obtained "by difference" expressed as total carbohydrate.

Armenia.  The Armenian Food Composition Table 2010 lists according to the preface carbohydrate as "available carbohydrate", INFOODS component identifier CHOAVLDF.

Australia.  The FZANZ NUTTAB 2010 documentation defines carbohydrate according to Australian regulations as "Available carbohydrate has been reported in two ways: both with and without sugar alcohols, using the following equations:
 

Available carbohydrate (excluding sugar alcohols) (g)  =  (fructose + glucose + sucrose + lactose + maltose + galactose + maltotriose + starch + glycogen + raffinose + stachyose + other undifferentiated oligosaccharides + maltodextrin + dextrins) (g)
 

The equation above does not include sugar alcohols and is consistent with the definition of available carbohydrate in Standard 1.2.8 of the Code.
 

Available carbohydrate (including sugar alcohols) (g) = (fructose + glucose + sucrose + lactose + maltose + galactose + maltotriose + starch + glycogen + raffinose + stachyose + other undifferentiated oligosaccharides + maltodextrin + dextrins + sorbitol + mannitol + glycerol) (g)
 

For foods derived using label information, the reported carbohydrate content may refer to either the available carbohydrate content or the carbohydrate content by difference. Likewise, for indigenous foods reported in the separate NUTTAB 2010 file, the reported carbohydrate content refers to carbohydrate by difference, which is determined as follows:
 

Carbohydrate by difference (g) = 100 – (water + protein + fat + dietary fibre + ash) (g)"
 

Bahrain.  The Food Composition Tables for Kingdom of Bahrain 2011 give information on "total available carbohydrate", but not how it was derived.

Bangladesh.  The documentation lists carbohydrate as available carbohydrate "The content of available carbohydrate in the food sample was determined by difference. Carbohydrate was calculated by subtracting the sum percentage of moisture, protein, fat, ash, crude and dietary fibre (Rand et al, 1991; FAO, 2003)".

Belgium.  The documentation for the Belgian Nubel/Internubel food composition databases gives values for "Verteerbare koolhydraten" (digestible carbohydrates) and defines these as mono- (glucose and fructose), di- (saccharose, lactose, maltose) and polymere digestible carbohydrates (starch and glycogen). There is however no information on how the values were obtained, i.e. by summation, by difference or other method.

Brazil.  The Tabela Brasileira de Composição de Alimentos mentions available carbohydrate by difference and has a comprehensive list of carbohydrate components. The exact procedure for calculationg carbohydrate seems not to be given.
The Tabelas de Composição Nutricional dos Alimentos Consumidos no Brasil published in 2011 does not give any definitions for included nutrients.
The Tabela Brasileira de Composição de Alimentos – TACO defines carbohydrates as  "carboidratos foi calculado pela diferença entre 100 e a soma das porcentagens de água, proteína, lipídeos totais, cinzas e álcool (quando presente)", i.e. total carbohydrate as dietary fibre is included in the carbohydrate.

Canada. Health Canada's documentation for the Canadian Nutrient File 2010 defines carbohydrate as follows "Carbohydrate, when present, is determined as the difference between 100 and the sum of the remaining proximate components (and alcohol when present). The determination of Total carbohydrate values by this method of calculation includes total dietary fibre".

Chile.  Tabla de composición química de alimentos chilenos defines carbohydrate as "Se han calculado por diferencia, entre 100 g. la suma de los porcentajes de humedad, proteínas, y lípidos, fibra cruda y cenizas" a variation of available carbohydrate by difference involving crude fibre instead of dietary fibre.

Colombia. No information on how carbohydrate is expressed.

Costa Rica. The Tabla de Composición de los Alimentos de Costa Rica: Macronutrientes y fibra dietética "se reportan los valores de carbohidratos totales, estimados por “diferencia”. También se indican los contenidos en carbohidratos disponibles cuando se cuenta con dato de fibra dietética. Los carbohidratos disponibles se estiman restando a los carbohidratos totales el contenido de la fibra dietética total", i.e. total carbohydrate by difference and available carbohydrate by subtracting dietary fibre from total carbohydrate.

Cyprus.  The Cyprus Food Composition Tables 2013 inform that "Carbohydrates were mostly determined by difference" and presents the INFOODS component identifier CHOCDF with the values, i.e. the carbohydrate values are expressed as total carbohydrate by difference.

Czech Republic.  The Czech Food Composition Database, Version 5.15, lists "values for both total [CHOT] and available [CHO] carbohydrates are expressed in g per 100 g of edible portion. In general, values of total carbohydrates [CHOT] are calculated by difference based on content of water [WATER], protein [PROT], fat [FAT], ash [ASH] and alcohol [ALC]:
 

CHOT [g/100 g] = 100 [g] - (WATER [g/100 g] + PROT [g/100 g] + FAT [g/100 g] + ASH [g/100 g] + ALC [g])
 

Available carbohydrates [CHO] are defined as:
 

CHO [g/100 g] = CHOT [g/ 100 g] – FIBT [g / 100 g]
 

For calculated CHOT a CHO values the reference code 00012 is given (calculation according internal algorithms of the database)".

For information, CHOT and CHO are EuroFIR component identifiers, reference code 00012 refiers to the corresponding method identifier.

Denmark.  The Danish Food Composition Databank, version 7.01, released 2009-03-02 (http://www.foodcomp.dk/) has two expressions of carbohydrate, total carbohydrate and available carbohydrate. The two expressions are defined as follows:
 

total carbohydrate [g/100 g] = dry matter [g/100 g] - (protein [g/100 g] + fat [g/100 g] + ash [g/100 g])
 

and

available carbohydrate [g/100 g] = total carbohydrate [g/100 g] - dietary fibre [g/100 g]
 

Protein is calculated with a specific nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor (Jones factor).
The new version of the Danish Food Composition Databank, Frida version 1, released 2014, contains one more carbohydrate expression for nutrition labelling. It is defined as
 

carbohydrate [g/100 g]  =  dry matter [g/100 g]  -  protein [g/100 g]  -  lipids [g/100 g]  -  ash [g/100 g]  -  fibre [g/100 g]
 

Protein is in this case calculated with a fixed nitrogen-to-protein conversion factor (6.25) as prescribed by the European Regulation 1169/2011 (see above).

Estonia.  The Estonian NutriData database, version of 6, 2014, gives values for available carbohydrate and total carbohydrate with the following definitions "available carbohydrate defined as the sum of free sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, maltose) and starch:
 

Available carbohydrates = total carbohydrates - fibres
 

Unlike available carbohydrates, the definition of “total carbohydrates” also includes dietary fibres:
 

Total carbohydrates (g) = 100 - (protein + fat + water + ash)"
 

The definition is not completely clear, but it is assumed that available carbohydrate is normally calculated from total carbohydrates. Only if information is available for free sugars and starch the defined summation takes place.

Faro Islands.  The Faroese Food Composition Tables 1995 indicate that "usually the total amount of carbohydrate is calculated as follows:
 

carbohydrate = dry matter – (protein + fat + ashes)"
 

Finland.  The instructions of the Finnish Food Composition Database, Fineli®, indicate that "carbohydrates are given as available carbohydrates (CHOAVL) indicating the total amount of starch and sugars" and in the information for available carbohydrate is stated that "the available carbohydrates in Fineli are calculated as a sum of glucose, fructose, saccharose, lactose, maltose and starch".  

France.  The French Food Composition Databank, ANSES Ciqual 2012, defines carbohydrate by "the Regulation EU No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers defines 'carbohydrate' as any carbohydrate which is metabolized in man, and includes polyols" and gives no explanation on how the carbohydrate values are derived.

Germany.  The German food composition database, Bundeslebensmittelschlüssel BLS-Version 3.02, indicate for each value, how the value has been derived. Carbohyrates are given as "Kohlenhydrate, resorbierbare" ("Carbohydrates , resorbable") expressed in mg/100 g and a definition similar to available carbohydrate
 

Kohlenhydrate, resorbierbar [mg/100 g]  =  100000  -  Eiweiß (Protein) [mg/100 g]  -  Fett [mg/100 g]  -  Wasser [mg/100 g]  -  Ballaststoffe [mg/100 g]  -  Mineralstoffe (Rohasche) [mg/100 g]  -   Organische Säuren [mg/100 g]  -  Alkohol (Ethanol) [mg/100 g]  -  Oligosaccharide, nicht resorbierbar [mg/100 g]
 

The German Souci-Fachmann-Kraut Online Database gives the Introduction a thorough explanation on available carbohyrates: "For the majority of the food products this value was determined as the total of the individual data for mono-, oligo- and polysaccharides ( e. g. glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose, maltose, dextrin and starch) and sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, glycerol) which can be utilized by the human organism. A number of oligosaccharides, such as raffinose, stachyose, verbascose, etc. as well as the polysaccharide inulin can hardly be utilized by the human organism. They were therefore neither included in the values given for the available carbo hydrates nor taken into account in the energy calculations. In cases where the relevant data was incomplete or entirely missing the total amount of available carbohydrates in a particular food item was calculated by a differential method taking the total dietary fibre amount into account. The following formula was used:
 

Available carbohydrates = 100 - (water + protein + fat + minerals + total dietary fibre + available organic acids)
 

To allow energy values to be given for food items for which no individual data on available carbohydrates and on the total dietary fibre content was available, the available carbohydrates were calculated in a rough order of magnitude as follows:
 

100 - (water + protein + fat + minerals)
 

In the tables all values for available carbohydrates calculated by differential methods are identified by footnotes".

Greece.  In the Hellenic Health Foundation's Composition tables of foods and Greek dishes, section 3: Nutritional composition of Greek foods and traditional dishes by analysis' introducttion carbohyrate is defined as "Carbohydrates were calculated “by difference”. The values reported correspond to available carbohydrates and were calculated based on analytical values and literature data (Trichopoulou, 1992; Souci-Fachmann-Kraut, 1986), in the cases where analytical values were not available".

Iceland.  The Icelandic Matís' food composition database, ÍSGEM 2009, have the following explanation of carbohydrates: "Total amount of available carbohydrates is shown together with sugars and added sugar. Sugars include e.g. glucose, fructose, lactose and sucrose. Added sugar is defined as refined or industrially manufactured sucrose used as an ingredient in foods".

Ireland.  The Irish food composition database online information and published e-book only give sparse information on carbohydrate: "carbohydrate, total sugars and total starch" components are mentioned, but not how the values have been derived.

Italy.  The INRAN Tabelle di composizione degli alimenti have information on "carboidrati disponibili" but no information on how it was derived. The Banca Dati di Composizione degli Alimenti per Studi Epidemiologici in Italia (BDA) lists carbohydrate as "Available carbohydrates (MSE)" (MSE: monosaccharide equivalens) but with no information on how they were derived.

Japan.  The online version have information on carbohydrate, but not on how the values were derived.

Korea.  The Korean Standard Food Composition Tables 2011 have information on carbohydrate, but not on how the values were derived.

Mozambique.  Food composition tables for Mozambique 2011 list "available carbohydrate calculated as: 100 - (water, g + protein, g + fat, total, g + ash, g + alcohol, g + dietary fibre, g)".

Nepal.  The Food Composition Table for Nepal 2012 informs that "percentage of carbohydrate were determined by difference between 100 and the sum of moisture, protein, fat, fibers and total ash content".

New Zealand.  The New Zealand FOODfiles 2013 Manual gives a very comprehensive and detailed explanation of the different carbohydrate expressions in the New Zealand FOODfiles 2013: "The carbohydrates values are expressed in different ways in FOODfiles 2013 V 01 to meet the definitions for INFOODS (FAO/INFOODS 2012c) and Standard 1.2.8 of the code (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2013).

INFOODS
The carbohydrate contents in foods are expressed in FOODfiles 2013 V 01 in five different ways based on the guidelines for food matching (FAO/INFOODS 2012c). Total carbohydrates value includes fibre, total dietary (FIBTG) and Available carbohydrates value as ‘by weight’ or as ‘monosaccharide equivalent’, not including FIBTG value. Carbohydrate values are calculated either as the sum of the analytically analysed carbohydrate components or as difference of 100 minus the sum of the other proximate components. 5. Available carbohydrates by weight (CHOAVL) is the sum of analytical values of sugar, total (SUGAR); starch (STARCH) and glycogen (GLYC).
 

Equation 13: CHOAVL (g/100g) = SUGAR (g/100g) + STARCH (g/100g) + GLYC (g/100g)
 

Available carbohydrates in monosaccharide equivalent (CHOAVLM) is the sum of analytical values of sugar, total (SUGAR); starch (STARCH) and glycogen (GLYC). It includes the residual water from hydrolysis around each monosaccharide (monosaccharide equivalents SUGARM, STARCHM and GLYCM).
 

Equation 14: CHOAVLM (g/100g)  =  SUGARM (g/100g)  +  STARCHM (g/100g)  +  GLYCM (g/100g)
 

Available carbohydrate by difference (CHOAVDF) is calculated by deducting the sum of percentage of water (WATER); protein, total (PROT); fat, total (FAT); alcohol (ALC) ash (ASH) and fibre, total dietary (FIBTG) from 100.
 

Equation 15: CHOAVDF (g/100g)  =  100 - [WATER (g/100g)  +  PROT (g/100g)  +  FAT (g/100g)  +  ALC (g/100g)  +  ASH (g/100g)  +  FIBTG (g/100g)]
 

Total carbohydrate by difference (CHOCDF) is calculated by deducting the sum of percentage of water (WATER); protein, total (PROT); fat (FAT); alcohol (ALC) ash (ASH) from 100.
 

Equation 16: CHOCDF (g/100g)  =  100 - [WATER (g/100g)  +  PROT (g/100g)  +  FAT (g/100g)  +  ALC (g/100g)  +  ASH (g/100g)]
 

Total carbohydrate by summation (CHOCSM) is the sum of analytical values of sugar, total (SUGAR); starch (STARCH) oligosaccharides (OLSAC) and fibre, total dietary (FIBTG).
 

Equation 17: CHOCSM (g/100g)  =  SUGAR (g/100g)  +  STARCH (g/100g)  +  OLSAC (g/100g)  +  FIBTG (g/100g)
 

Standard 1.2.8
For nutrient labelling, two definitions of carbohydrate are found in Standard 1.2.8 of the code (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2013), either Carbohydrate by difference or Available carbohydrate. Both of the definitions do not include dietary fibre (fibre, total dietary (FIBTG)).

Carbohydrate by difference, FSANZ (CHOAVDF_FSANZ) is calculated by deducting the sum of percentage of water (WATER); protein (protein, total; PROT); fat (fat, total; FAT); dietary fibre (fibre, total dietary (FIBTG)); ash (ASH); alcohol (ALC) and, if qualified or added to the food (any amount as additive or ingredients to the final food), any other unavailable carbohydrates and substances: sugar; alcohols [erythritol (ERYTHL); glycerol (GLYRL); isomalt (ISOMAL); lacitol (LACTL); maltitol (MALTL); mannitol (MANTL); sorbitol (SORTL); xylitol (XYLTL)]; D-tagatose; polydextrose; and organic acids, total (OA_G) from 100.
 

Equation 18: CHOAVDF_FSANZ1 (g/100g)  =  100  -  [WATER (g/100g)  +  PROT (g/100g)  +  FAT (g/100g)  +  FIBTG (g/100g)  +  ASH (g/100g)  -  ALC (g/100g)  +  OA_G (g/100g)]
 

Note: Carbohydrate by difference (CHOAVDF_FSANZ) value is equal to the Available carbohydrate; by difference (CHOAVDF) value if other added additive or ingredients and unavailable carbohydrates and substances are not present or accounted for. The food components: erythritol, glycerol, isomalt, lacitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, D-tagatose, and polydextrose are not recorded in FOODfiles 2013 V 01 and therefore are not included in this equation. A few foods do have values for organic acids, total (OA_G).

Available carbohydrate (CHOAVL_FSANZ) is the sum of analytical values of total available sugars (sugar, total; SUGAR), and starch (STARCH) and if qualified or added to the food (any amount as additive or ingredients to the final food), any available oligosaccharides (oligosaccharides, total available, OLSAC), glycogen (GLYC) and maltodextrin (MALTDEX).
 

Equation 19: CHOAVL_FSANZ  =  SUGAR (g/100g)  +  STARCH (g/100g)  +  GLYC (g/100g) + MALTDEX (g/100g)"
 

Norway.  In the Norwegian online foods composition table, Matvaretabellen 2014, carbohydrate is given as "glycemic carbohydrate" and "calculated from summation of mono/disaccharides and starch", "estimated from xxx source" or borrowed. The information is linked to the single glycemic carbohydrate value. 

Pacific Islands.  The Pacific Islands food composition tables, second edition, has values on available carbohydrate (FAO/INFOODS component identifiers CHOAVL and CHOAVLDF) derived as follows "Sum of analysed components; or calculated by difference: 100g - (total g water+protein+ fat+fibre+ash+alcohol)".

Perú.  The Peruvian food composition table (2009) expresses carbohydrate as total carbohydrate "Carbohidratos totales (g) = 100 – (proteína + grasa + agua + ceniza + alcohol)".

Poland.  The online Polish food composition database (2005) and tables have carbohydrate values expressed as total carbohydrates (100 - (water + ash + protein + fat)) and available carbohydrates (total carbohydrates - dietary fibre).

Portugal.  The online Portuguese food composition database, Tabela da Composição dos Alimentos (TCA), contains information on available carbohydrates expressed as g/100 g or mono-saccharide equivalents (MSE): "total de HC disponíveis, total de HC expresso em monossacáridos" defined as follows "Total de HC disponíveis: O total de HC disponíveis inclui os monossacáridos ou açúcares simples (glucose, frutose e galactose), dissacáridos (sacarose, lactose e maltose), oligossacáridos (rafinose, estaquiose e verbascose) e polissacáridos (amido, glicogénio e dextrinas), não estando incluída a fibra alimentar" and "Total de HC expresso em monossacáridos: O teor total de HC expresso em monossacáridos é também referido para facilitar a análise comparativa deste teor com o referido em tabelas de outros países. Por hidrólise, 100 g de dissacárido, como a sacarose, originam 105 g de monossacáridos (glucose e frutose). 100 g de um polissacárido, como o amido, originam 110 g do monossacárido glucose. Assim, o total de HC expresso em monossacáridos obtém-se multiplicando o teor de cada um dos HC pelos seguintes factores: - Monossacáridos Glucose, frutose e galactose Dissacáridos 1,0 - Sacarose, lactose e maltose 1,05 - Oligossacáridos Rafinose, estaquiose e verbascose 1,07 - Polissacáridos Amido 1,10 ", respectively. 

Puerto Rico.  Tabla de composición de alimentos de uso corriente en Puerto Rico (1986) contains information on total carbohydrate but no information on how the values are derived.

Sweden.  The Swedish Food Composition Database, version 2015-05-28 (http://www.livsmedelsverket.se/livsmedelsdatabasen), does not give general information concerning the definitions of the the nutrient, but document for every single value how the value was derived. For carbohydrate, the information is most cases (all?) "Carbohydrate, available, calculated by difference", but no indication on how the values were calculated.

The Netherlands.  In the documentation of the NEVO-online 2013 documentation of carbohydrate is given as follows: "The meaning of ‘carbohydrate’ and ‘dietary fibre’ in food composition tables depends on the definitions used. Sometimes total carbohydrate content (including dietary fibre) is given whilst, in other cases, carbohydrate contents excludes dietary fibre. In this table, total carbohydrate content excludes dietary fibre, which is specified separately.
Oligosaccharides are found in minute quantities in foods and, hence, are not included in NEVO.
NEVO online lists, total carbohydrate content, and also amounts of mono-, di- and polysaccharides. When analytical figures on separate mono-, di- and polysaccharides are available, total carbohydrate (? AM) content is calculated from these values. However, for many foods, manufacturers have deduced carbohydrate content by subtracting the content of water, protein, fat, dietary fibre, polyols (? AM), alcohol and ash from 100 gram using the ‘by difference’ method."
This may be interpreted as there is no general rule for how the carbohydrate values are calculated - and there also seems to be some issues concerning the terminology.

USA.  The USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, SR27, released August 2014 (http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/), give the following explanation on carbohydrate: "Carbohydrate, when present, is determined as the difference between 100 and the sum of the percentages of water, protein, total lipid (fat), ash, and, when present, alcohol. Total carbohydrate values include total dietary fiber. Available carbohydrate, which is used in some countries, can be calculated if desired by the user, by subtracting the sum of the percentages of water, protein, total lipid (fat), ash, total dietary fiber, and alcohol (when present) from 100."

 


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 News
New release of Brazilian Food Composition Table.

2017-10-17
Version 6.0 of the Brazilian Food Composition Table is now available.
See the TBCA website.
 
Release of the Nigerian Food Composition Database.

2017-10-01
Version 1.0 of the Nigerian Food Composition Database is now available.
See the Nigeria Food Data website.
 
New release of the NZ Food Composition Database

2017-05-19
The 2017 release of the NZFCD products are now available on the NZFCD website.
 
FoodOn
A farm to fork ontology.

2017-02-02
FoodOn is a new ontology built to represent entities which bear a “food role”, currently based largely on LanguaL.
For more information,
see the FoodOn site.