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How Many Carbohydrates Should A Diabetic Have A Day

The Truth About Carbohydrates And Weight Loss

How Many Carbs Should A Diabetic Have In A Day?

Weight loss is often recommended for people with diabetes, as it has been proven to significantly , blood glucose, and blood pressure.

The foundations for weight loss are simple. Increasing physical activity, and managing daily calories to keep a slight caloric deficit provide steady and consistent weight loss.

However, theres currently a lot of conflicting information about how the ratio of carbohydrates in your diet affects your weight loss, including frequently recommended diabetes diets based on fewer carbs .

However, theres currently a lot of conflicting information out there about reducing carbohydrates vs. low-carb diets Paleo or ketogenic diets.

How Much Do You Know About The Diabetic Diet

Patients with type 2 diabetes generally are put on a 1,500 to 1,800 calorie diet per day to promote weight loss and then the maintenance of ideal body weight. However, this may vary depending on the person’s age, sex, activity level, current weight, and body style.

More obese individuals may need more calories initially until their weight is less. This is because it takes more calories to maintain a larger body, and a 1,600 calorie diet for them may promote weight loss that is too fast to be healthy.

Men have more muscle mass in general and therefore may require more calories. Muscle burns more calories per hour than fat. Also, people whose activity level is low will have less daily caloric needs.

Generally, carbohydrates should make up about 50% of the daily calories . In general, lower carbohydrate intake is associated with lower sugar levels in the blood.

However, the benefits of this can be canceled out by the problems associated with a higher fat diet taken in to compensate for the lower amount of carbohydrates. This problem can be improved by substituting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats.

Why Every Carb Counts

Carbs are one of the 3 main nutrients found in food, along with proteins and fats. Inside the body, carbs turn into blood sugar. So, carb-rich foods affect your blood sugar levels more than other foods do. Foods and beverages that contain carbs include:

  • Grains and grain-based foods, such as bread, pasta, and rice

  • Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and peas

  • Fruit juices and fruits, such as apples, oranges, and bananas

  • Legumes, such as dried beans and lentils

  • Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt

  • Sweets, such as cakes, cookies, and candy

  • Sugary drinks, such as sodas, fruit drinks, and sports drinks

The amount of carbs you need depends on your weight, activity level, and diabetes medicines. Work with a registered dietitian or diabetes professional to set a carb goal that is right for you. As a general rule, most women with diabetes should get about 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal. Most men with diabetes should get about 60 to 75 grams per meal.

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Dont Forget About The Snacks

For a mid-morning snack, you could try something rich and protein-packed like these tasty peanut butter balls that only have 5g carbs.;

Lets change things up and swap out our second snack of the day for a delicious after-dinner dessert thats sure to hit the spot.

This decedent chocolate mousse tastes sweet enough to please the palate but amazingly it has just 6 grams of carbs!

If you add up all three meals plus the snack and dessert, we have a grand total of just 69g of carbs.;

The high amounts of protein, healthy fat, and dietary fiber in these meals and the lack of carbohydrates is a recipe for stable blood sugar and, eventually, a lower A1c.

Want even more low carb meal inspiration? Take a look at a few more daily menus weve put together as examples

How To Count Carbs For Better Blood Sugar Control

How Many Carbs Per Day For A Diabetic?

Counting carbs is one of the most important ways people with type 2 diabetes manage blood-sugar levels.


Your doctor may have told you to count carbs or use something called the glycemic index to plan your meals. A healthy diet consists of a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. However, people with type 2 diabetes need to watch carbohydrates carefully. Why? Because when any food that contains carbohydrates is digested, it turns into sugar, which increases your blood-glucose level. Its pretty basic: Eating too many carbs can raise the amount of sugar in your bloodstream and lead to complications. The key for people like you with type 2 diabetes is to eat carbs in limited amounts at each meal and when you snack. Total carbs should make up about 45 to 60 percent of your daily diet if you have type 2 diabetes.

Theres no one diet that works for everyone with type 2 diabetes there are just too many variables: Age, weight, level of physical activity, medications, as well as daily routine and personal preference need to be taken into account. So heres where your diabetes care team comes in: Talk to your dietitian or diabetes educator to determine the right carb-counting number for you so youll be able to provide your body with a steady flow of energy throughout the day, maintain a healthy weight, and manage your blood sugar.

The Basics of Counting Carbs

Read Also: How To Manage Type 1 Diabetes

Common Sources Of Added Sugars

There’s lots of added sugar in cookies, sodas, jams, and sweetened breakfast cereals. Yet plenty of “healthy” foods have sugar, too. They may even contain more sugar.

Here are a few examples:

  • Flavored yogurt: 26 grams per 6 ounces
  • Granola bars: 7 to 12 grams per 70-gram bar
  • Jarred spaghetti sauce: 11 grams per half-cup
  • Peanut butter: 5 grams per tablespoon
  • Protein bars: 23 to 30 grams per 80-gram bar
  • Russian salad dressing: 3 grams per tablespoon
  • Sweetened apple juice: 39 grams per 12 ounces
  • Vanilla almond milk: 14 grams per cup

Luckily, many of these foods have sugar-free versions so you can enjoy them without worry. But don’t confuse the terms “low fat” with “low sugar” or “no sugar added.” Low-fat foods and natural ingredients can still have added sugars.

Verywell / JR Bee

How Do You Use The Food Label To Count Carbohydrates

Looking at a food label, find the serving size and the total carbohydrate in that one serving. Note: Total carbohydrate includes sugar, starch, and fiber. Use the grams of total carbohydrate when carbohydrate counting.

To calculate the number of carbohydrate choices in that particular serving, simply divide the amount of total carbohydrate by 15.

Refer to the following information to assist with calculating carbohydrate choices:

  • Grams of Carbohydrate 0-5

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I Am Pre Diabetic And Need To Lose 25lbs On A Carb Diet Of 1500 Calories How May Carbs Can I Have Drama Ward

Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California. The content of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material on the site are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for, and dLife does not provide, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. dLife does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on this site. Reliance on any information provided by dLife, its employees and other contributors or visitors to this site is done solely at your own risk. Any information you submit to dLife or this site may be published on this site and in other dLife products. dLife retains all rights to all contributions including submitted questions and expert answers.Continue reading >>

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Carbs For Diabetics

How Many Carbs Should A Diabetic Have Per Day?

While it is not necessary to give up all types of carbohydrates, it is helpful to learn the pros and cons of carbs. Consider the following

Pros of Eating Carbs

There are some benefits to eating carbohydrates, including:

  • Certain types of carbohydrates provide you with quickly available energy that your body needs.
  • Some forms of carbs, such as fruit, provides many vitamins and minerals
  • Certain carbs contain fiber, which helps fill you up.

Cons of Eating Carbs

Depending on the type of carb you pick, there are also some cons, such as the following:

  • Carbs can increase blood sugar too much.
  • Certain carbs can contribute to weight gain.
  • Some types of carbs, such as fried foods and sweets, can increase your risk of high cholesterol levels or other health conditions.

Herbs can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for diabetes.

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When To See A Doctor

A person with diabetes should see their doctor if they are struggling to control their blood sugar levels or frequently experience the symptoms of high or low blood sugar.

Someone with diabetes should also speak to their doctor before making lifestyle changes that could affect their blood sugar levels, such as a new diet or exercise program.

If a person has symptoms of severe hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, they must seek emergency medical attention.

Using The Plate Method

Some people with type 2 diabetes use a less formal method of gauging how many carbs to eat. Called the plate method, it doesnt require any counting at all. Instead, you simply imagine dividing your plate in half. Then divide one side in half again.

Fill the large section with nonstarchy veggies. Fill one small section with grains, starchy veggies, or cooked beans and peas, and the other with meat or another protein food. Add a cup of low-fat milk and a piece of fruit, and youve got a balanced meal.

Also Check: How Do You Check Blood Sugar

What’s A Safe Level Of Sugar

Unfortunately, Americans eat too much sugar. They don’t seem to know where to draw the line, whether or not they have diabetes. A national survey published in 2016 showed that American adults averaged at least 77 grams of added sugar per day. Children were found to eat a startling 82 grams. To put things in context, 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon.

These numbers are way above the daily limits recommended by the American Heart Association :

  • Men: 36 grams
  • Women: 24 grams
  • Children ages 2 to 18: less than 24 grams

If you have diabetes, your doctor will probably advise that you eat less sugar than the AHA’s recommendations. With a typical diet, you can quickly reach your sugar limit at breakfast. A pastry and a couple of cups of sweetened coffee will likely be above what’s safe for you.

How Many Carbs Should You Eat In Each Meal

Healthy Weight Loss

Half of each meal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you get between 45% and 65% of your calories from carbs. You could think of this as half your plate at each meal can be taken up by carbs.

Carbohydrates in grams. To be more precise, count the carbs. You can see how many grams of carbohydrates are in packaged foods by reading the nutrition facts labels. For non-packaged foods, you can look this information up online.

The Recommended Daily Allowance for carbs is 130 grams per day. Per meal this comes to about:

  • 60-75 grams of carbohydrates per meal for men
  • 45-60 grams per meal for women

Carbohydrate choices. This can help you eyeball the number of carbs youâre going to eat once you know approximately how many carbs are in different foods. Using this method, you have a certain amount of âcarb choicesâ you can have in a meal or snack.

  • Men can have 4 to 5 carb choices per meal
  • Women can have 3 to 4 carb choices per meal
  • Whether youâre a man or woman, snacks should be 1 or 2 carb choices

So what is a “carb choice” or serving of carbs? A carb choice is an amount of food that has about 15 grams of carbs in it.

For example, 1 slice of bread is one carb choice. But 1/4 of a large baked potato is also one carb choice. So having a whole baked potato could blow your whole carb choice budget for one meal.

You can find lists of carb choices for different foods online. You can also ask a nutritionist or diabetes instructor.

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Can Diabetics Have Any Sugar

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes can still have sweets, chocolate, or other sugary foods as long they are eaten as part of a healthful meal plan or combined with exercise. They consider a healthful meal plan to: have limited saturated fat. contain moderate amounts of salt and sugar.

How Many Carbohydrates Should Diabetics Eat

While studies have shown the effectiveness of low-carb diets for diabetics , this is not the only factor that needs to be addressed.

A strict and restrictive diet such as ketogenic, for example, despite giving good results in a short time on blood sugar control, can be difficult to follow in the long term, and the truth is that not all diabetics can reach to need it, as there are some that process carbohydrates better than others.

A good method for each person with diabetes to decide how many carbohydrates to eat is to use a glucose meter: by measuring our levels one hour before and two hours after each meal, we can keep track, remembering that the maximum level that sugar in blood should reach is 139 mg / dL.

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What Do I Need To Get Started Counting Carbohydrates

To get you started counting carbohydrates, pick up these items:

  • A calculator
  • Measuring cups
  • A food scale

It is tempting to eyeball or guesstimate food measurements. However, when you first begin carbohydrate counting, dont guess. Use measuring cups to see what portion sizes look like you may be surprised! For some foods, weighing out your food portion on a food scale may also be helpful. Estimating 1/2 cup of breakfast cereal, or selecting one ounce of bread or fruit isnt as easy as you might think.

To sum up, here are some tips about getting started with carbohydrate counting:

  • With any new skill, carbohydrate counting takes practice. To improve your confidence and accuracy, measure your foods.
  • Remember to count carbohydrates from all food sources starch and sugars. This includes milk and yogurt, fruit and starchy vegetables too not just breads, pasta, rice and cereals!
  • If you eat too much carbohydrate, your blood sugar will be too high, and if you eat too little carbohydrate for the medication dose, your blood sugar may get too low. Eat a similar amount of carbohydrate at similar times day to day.
  • When you have type 1 diabetes you need to match your insulin dose to the amount of carbohydrates in your food.
  • And when you have type 2 diabetes, and are treated with insulin or medicines that increase insulin secretion from your pancreas, you also need to match your medication or insulin dose to the amount of carbohydrates in your food.
  • Grams Of Carbs Per Day For Prediabetics

    How Many Carbs Should a Diabetic Eat?

    Here are some common numbers for the recommended carb intake for prediabetics per day. As you can see, they vary quite a bit!

    • Under 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day: very low-carb ketogenic diet.
    • 130 grams: Adequate Intake .
    • 150-200 grams per day, or 30-40% of total calories on a 2,000-calorie diet: the American Diabetes Associations description of a standard low-carb diet.
    • 244 grams per day: average daily intake of Americans over 20 years old.
    • 300 grams per day, or 60% of total calories on a 2,000-calorie diet: the daily value that you see on nutrition labels.

    Low-carbohydrate diets could work, but they may not work any better than other careful diets for weight loss, for lowering blood sugar levels, or for preventing diabetes.

    • They can help you lose weight.
    • They can discourage sugary foods.
    • They can discourage low-nutrient, refined starches, such as white bread and pasta, and potatoes.
    • They can help lower blood sugar, especially in the short term.
    • They can discourage processed foods.


    • They can be hard to follow over the long-term.
    • They can be high in unhealthy choices, such as fatty and processed meats, butter, and cream.
    • They can exclude healthy foods, such as whole grains, beans, and fruit.
    • They could raise cholesterol or cause harm to your kidneys or bones.

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    Carbs For Prediabetic Meals And Snacks

    There is something else to consider: meal planning. Its not only a question of how many carbs to have each day, and which ones to have, but when to have them. The best bet for controlling blood sugar and hunger is to spread them throughout the day.;

    For most meals, aim for 2 to 3 servings . Add a large portion of non-starchy vegetables and some healthy fat and lean protein, for a full meal. For example

    • A turkey burger on a whole-grain bun with lean turkey burger, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, with a side of baby carrots.
    • ¾ cup of Wheaties with ½ oz. of sliced almonds, ¾ cup blueberries, and 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk.
    • 2/3 cup cooked whole-wheat pasta tossed with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, fresh basil, 2 cups of spinach, and 3 oz. cooked salmon.

    For most snacks, you might aim for 1 to 2 servings . Then add a source of protein and/or healthy fat, and always keep non-starchy vegetables in mind! For example

    • ½ cup fat-free, low-sodium refried beans with diced tomatoes and 1 oz. melted cheese.
    • 1 small baked sweet potato topped with broccoli and Greek yogurt.
    • ½ sliced large apple with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.


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