How To Count Carbohydrates For Better Glucose Control
Every diabetic person should count his or her carbohydrates and take a healthy or balanced diet by:
- Checking with some good nutritionist or a diabetes educator. They assist them in planning the number of carbs to incorporate in each meal and snack. The count is done either in grams or carb servings.
- Having standard portions of carb-rich diets. Each serving size consists of approximately 15 grams of carbs. These are the maximum carbs for diabetics.
- Having standard portions of protein-rich meals. It is very important to include protein in the diet.
- Consuming less saturated fats and trans fats. A diabetic balanced diet plan must include only healthy fats. Its essential to check with a healthcare provider to know about the fat content permissible in the diet plan.
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Are You Eating Too Many Or Too Few Carbohydrates
People are more aware than ever of which macronutrients theyre consuming. And recently, there have been a number of diets like the Paleo diet and the ketogenic diet that focus on carbohydrate counting to specifically limit your carb intake.
The theory is that low-carb diets are effective because carbohydrates increase your blood glucose, and high levels of blood glucose can be a major concern if youre living with any form of diabetes.
The logic is simple. Remove the carbs, remove the high blood glucose, get healthy. Right?
But actually, a diet high in carbohydrates the right carbohydrates can drastically improve your health and even contribute to reversing type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
In this article, well explore how eating carbohydrates affect your blood glucose and your health as a whole.
Then, well explain how to manage your daily carb intake for different goals, like weight loss or insulin sensitivity, and discuss the transition to a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet high in whole carbohydrates a diet that has been proven to increase health and reduce your risk for chronic disease.
Meal Plans For Low Carb Diets
While the amount of carbohydrates in low-carb diets is not predetermined by researchers, certain definitions can be applied to the plans that are made:
- Moderate means roughly 130 to 225 grams of carbs per day
- Low means fewer than 130 grams of carbs per day
- Very low means less than 30 grams of carbs per day considered a ketogenic diet
For most people, this application is a good measure to use for the typical diet. However, for those looking to start with 120 grams of carbs per day, consider the following diet:
- 30 grams of carbs for Breakfast
- 30 grams of carbs for Lunch
- 30 grams of carbs for Dinner
- Snacks twice a day at 15 grams of carbs each or three times per day with 10 grams of carbs
For those looking for the best results for weight loss and blood sugar control, consider only 50 to 80 grams of carbs per day. This means roughly 15 to 20 grams of carbs for each meal and two snacks at 5 to 10 grams of carbs for each. With this diet guideline, eating 10 grams of carbs before bed is important.
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Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy diet is an important part of a treatment plan for gestational diabetes. A healthy diet includes a balance of foods from all the food groups, giving you the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy. For women with gestational diabetes, eating a balanced diet also helps to keep blood sugar levels in the healthy target range. Following a meal plan and eating a healthy diet is a key part of managing gestational diabetes. It is essential that you work with your health care provider to create a plan for your healthy diet. The information in this booklet is for women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. These guidelines are not appropriate for all pregnant women.
Balancing your diet
- All foods contain some combination of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Fat and protein affect your blood glucose over many hours, but carbohydrate affects it much faster. For this reason, you will need to regulate your intake of foods that are rich in carbohydrate . Your healthcare provider will show you how and your meal plan will help you stay on track.
- It is important to make healthy food choices. Nutritious foods support your babys growth and development, help control your gestational diabetes, and keep you feeling well.
- Controlling your gestational diabetes requires controlling the pattern of your eating. Your meal plan gives you targets for when to eat and how much to eat.
Steps to get started
What Carbohydrate Counting Equipment Do I Need
Many people with diabetes have scales, as well as weighing and measuring equipment to measure volume. Mostly, food labels give both weight and volume measurements, but some do not.
The following techniques can help in understanding carbohydrate counting:
- Use of food labels, scales and a calculator make it possible to identify carbohydrate content in food.
- Using a scale is useful for measuring carbs in a range of different foods from fruit and vegetables to rice and cereal. Refer to the food packaging or you can get carb counts from nutrition books or the Internet.
- Take your time with carb counting as it is easy to make mistakes if maths is not a strength or if youre rushing.
- Be aware that some foods have different carb counts depending on whether the food is cooked or uncooked. This can sometimes make a big difference so be careful with this.
- Nutrition books and online resources can provide useful information and a quick and easy way to look up brand-name food information. Many recipe books include detailed carbohydrate information
- The Carbs and Cals book is a very popular book for helping with carb counting as it provides images of a range of foods and serving sizes along with the associated carb counts.
There is a vast amount of real-life experience on the topic of carb counting in the Low Carb Forum
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Many Of Us Rely On Carbohydrates As Our Main Source Of Energy Carbohydrate
All the carbohydrates you eat and drink are broken down into glucose. The type, and amount, you consume can make a difference to your blood glucose levels and diabetes management.
There are different ways to describe carbohydrates. One way of doing this is to group them into those that contain mostly starch , and those that contain mostly sugars, such as fruits , some dairy foods , sweets, chocolate, sugary drinks and desserts.
Why Choose Carbohydrates With Fiber Rather Than Sugar
Pictured Recipe: Strawberry & Tuna Spinach Salad
Remember that carbohydrates can be further broken down into fiber and sugar. Research shows Americans eat too much added sugar and not enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Added sugar is anything that’s not plain dairy or fruit. The American Heart Association recommends women eat less than 24 grams of added sugar per day and men consume no more than 36 grams per day .
Instead, try to prioritize carbohydrates that provide fiber. Aim to get 25-35 grams of feel-full fiber each day. Focus on the quality of carbs you eat, aiming to make half your plate nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate whole grains and a quarter of your plate protein at most meals. Reduce your consumption of low-fiber, sugary foods and beverages, including desserts, muffins, soda, sugary coffee beverages, fruit juice, ice cream and baked goods, which add carbs without much nutrition.
The above recipe for Strawberry & Tuna Spinach Salad provides 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber for a healthy, satisfying meal that’s also diabetes-friendly.
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Three Ways To Plan Meals
Some people with diabetes use a program called the exchange meal plan as a guide for what they eat each day. The exchange meal plan is really useful for people with diabetes who are overweight or who need to pay close attention to the balance of calories and nutrients they eat each day.
For this meal plan, foods are divided into six groups: starch, fruit, milk, fat, vegetable, and meat. The plan sets a serving size for foods in each group. And each serving has a similar amount of calories, protein, carbohydrate, and fat. This allows a person some flexibility in planning meals because they can exchange, or substitute, choices from a food list. The number of servings from each food group recommended for each meal and snack is based on the total number of calories that the person needs each day.
The other two types of meal plans help make sure that the amount of carbohydrates that a persons eating matches up with the insulin or other diabetes medicines he or she is taking. Focusing on carbohydrate intake is important because carbs are mainly responsible for the rise in blood sugar that occurs after eating. With the constant carbohydrate meal plan, the person eats a certain amount of carbohydrates in each meal and snack. Then he or she takes insulin or other diabetes medicines at the same times and in the same amounts each day. This plan is easy to follow for people who usually eat and exercise about the same amount from day to day.
So What Does All This Mean
If you are living with a high degree of insulin resistance, then high levels of carbohydrate-rich foods will spike your blood glucose levels. This is vastly more prominent if you eat refined carbohydrate-rich foods.
However, in the long term, the best path to improving your diabetes health is to become insulin sensitive by reducing the amount of dietary fat in your diet.
Reducing your fat intake will make your liver and muscles more insulin sensitive, which will then increase the action of insulin in both tissues. When this happens, the amount of insulin your pancreas produces will drop.
So how do you balance these two considerations to control your blood glucose at all times?
The most effective strategy is to gradually shift towards natural, whole carbohydrate-rich food over time, slowly removing high-fat foods and refined carbohydrates from your diet, along with other strategies like daily movement and intermittent fasting.
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How Many Calories Should A Diabetic Eat Daily
Diabetics must monitor their diets carefully to keep blood-sugar levels under control and prevent complications. As with healthy adults, a diabetic’s caloric needs depend on gender, weight and physical activity level. If you have diabetes, discuss your calorie and nutrition requirements with your doctor or dietitian.
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The Difference Between Dded Sugars Vs Natural Sugars:
Keep in mind that the limits mentioned above do not include the naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, vegetables, and dairy products which groups like the World Health Organization say are less of a health issue. But figuring out the difference between added and natural sugars can be tricky. Luckily, newly designed nutrition labels will be a huge help. By the end of this year, added sugars and total sugar will be listed on all labels, making it much easier to spot foods packed with the sweet stuff. Until then, check ingredients lists for sugar and its 61 aliases, including these:
Ultimately, you can 100% eat dessert every day if you cut out the sneaky sources of added sugar in your diet, says Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.Check labels religiously, but sauces, condiments, dairy products, breads, crackers and beverages are some places you might not expect to find sugar.
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/5things You Should Know About Carbs
The major problem is the unhealthy and refined sources of carbs like bread, pasta, pizza, fried food. Healthy sources of carbs are not bad for diabetes patients when consumed in moderate amounts. Whole grain and complex carbs do not raise the blood sugar level instantly and are not that bad for health. There are basically three sources of carbs- sugar, fiber and starch. Sugars and starches raise your blood sugar, but fiber doesnt. So, you have to be careful while making your food choices.
What If Youre Making Healthy Choices And Still Have High Blood Sugar
According to American Diabetes Association guidelines, most people with type 2 diabetes should start taking a blood glucose-lowering medication, typically metformin , as soon as they are diagnosed.
Most people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have had blood sugar levels in the diabetes range for months if not years before diagnosis. Dont think of taking blood glucose-lowering medication as failing. Type 2 diabetes, with prediabetes as its starting point, is a progressive disease during which people slowly lose their insulin-making capabilities over time. Its of no health value to severely restrict the amount of carbs you eat to manage your blood sugar levels and/or to delay medication. The recommended course of action to stay healthy with type 2 diabetes is to get blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure numbers under control soon after the time of diagnosis-and maintain target goals-adjusting diet and medication as needed.
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How Many Carbs Are Right For You
To determine the right amount of carb grams to aim for in your eating plan, choose one of the categories below that best matches your stature, weight status, weight goals and activity level.
Consider the targets a starting point. Get a referral from your primary care provider or endocrinologist to meet with a dietitian and diabetes educator, and/or to attend a diabetes self-management education and support program to determine the best goals for your health.
Category 1: A Woman of Small Stature Who Wants to Lose Weight
You’re a woman who wants to lose weight, is small in stature and/or gets limited exercise. Consider the following:
Height: 4’10” to 5’2″
Daily calorie range: 2,300â2,800
Carb grams/day range*: 259â455 grams
Carb grams/meal range : 86â151 grams
*Based on 45â65% of calories from carbohydrate.
Note: Men who are under 65 years of age, moderate to large in stature, at a healthy weight and get a lot of exercise may need more calories and grams of carbohydrate.
Gestational Diabetes Treatment Plan
Many women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies because they follow the treatment plan that their health care providers set up for them.
One of the most important things you can do to help ensure a healthy pregnancy is to make regular health care appointments and keep them.
A general treatment plan to control gestational diabetes may include these items:
- Knowing your blood sugar level and keeping it under control
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting regular, moderate physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight gain
- Keeping daily records of your diet, physical activity, and glucose levels
- Taking medications as prescribed, you may need a medication if:
- Your blood sugar level is too high.
- Your blood sugar level is high too many times.
- Your blood sugar level remains high, but you are not gaining much weight or are not eating poorly.
- You cannot safely add physical activity to your treatment plan.
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How To Read A Food Label
The Nutrition Facts label lists the total amount of carbohydrates per serving, including carbs from fiber, sugar, and sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are often used in sugar-free foods, although they still deliver calories and carbs. Sugar alcohols and fiber don’t affect blood sugar as much as other carbs, because they’re not completely absorbed. If food contains sugar alcohol or 5 or more grams of fiber, you can subtract half of the grams of these ingredients from the number of total carbs. (See more details at the
Why Carbs Matter So Much For Diabetes
Why do people with diabetes often have a laser focus on carbohydrates over other nutrients? Its because carbs have the biggest and most direct impact on blood sugar.
Once digested, carbs break down into glucose, which is what your body uses for energy. In response to glucose, your pancreas releases insulin, which helps your cells absorb the glucose. In people with diabetes, either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the cells are not reacting to the insulin. This results in an accumulation of glucose in the blood .
A natural response to manage chronic high blood glucose is to cut back on carb-containing foods so there wont be as much circulating glucose in the blood. Some high-carb foods are good choices to limit since they dont provide any nutritive value. However, other high-carb foods, such as grains, fruits, and beans, also contain beneficial nutrients that when ingested together naturally lower the amount and slow the release of glucose.
Learn which carb choices are good ones when youre managing blood glucose.
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What Is Carbohydrate Counting
Carbohydrate counting is a meal planning approach that evenly distributes your carbohydrate calories throughout your day by counting out the right amount of carbohydrate foods for each meal and snack. The emphasis with carbohydrate counting is on how much carbohydrate you eat at any one time, NOT on which type of carbohydrate you choose. Stay away from fad diets that restrict the amount of carbohydrates you can eat.
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Great Now Which Foods Have Carbs
Generally, the foods with the highest carbohydrate counts are grains, starchy vegetables, sugar, and processed foods.
Low-carb foods include leafy vegetables, lean meats, dairy, oils, nuts, and seeds. These foods wont spike your blood sugar and will help your energy levels feel more even throughout the day, especially when eaten consistently at every meal.
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