Nutrition Basics For Diabetes
Carb counting goes hand-in-hand with calorie counting. So before getting into the nitty-gritty of counting carbohydrates, it’s helpful to do a quick refresher on what makes up a calorie. Calories come from three nutrients: carbohydrate, protein and fat, which are also known as macronutrients. Alcohol also has calories. In contrast, vitamins and minerals are micronutrients and don’t have any calories. The foods we eat are made up of varying amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat. For example, a potato is mostly carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. Top it with sour cream and you’ve added calories from fat. A piece of skinless chicken breast-like the one in the recipe for Chicken Burrito Bowls above-contains mostly protein, a small amount of fat and no carbohydrate. How the chicken is prepared can add other nutrients and calories. For example, breading chicken will add more carbohydrates frying it will add more fat.
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What If You’re 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. Don’t 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. It’s 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.
How Does Carbohydrate Affect Anyone With Type 2 Diabetes
For people with Type 2 diabetes who may be overweight or obese, reducing the calories you eat helps to lose weight. This can be done through different means including following a low carb diet or simply reducing the current amount of carbs you eat. People have successfully followed low carb diets to lose weight and manage their diabetes including lowering their HbA1c, cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as reducing the amount of diabetes medications they take. If you are taking diabetes medications that put you at risk of hypos, checking your blood glucose levels regularly and speaking to your healthcare team to review your medications will help to reduce your risk of hypos when you restrict your carb intake.
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What Determines Ideal Carb Count
Figuring out the ideal number of carbohydrates you should eat daily needs to be a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare team. Specific factors that influence your carbohydrate intake include:
- Blood glucose response
Some people benefit from eating a consistent carbohydrate diet. For example, eating the same amount of carbohydrates per meal daily can help take the guesswork out of managing medication at mealtimes.
A good way to determine your ideal carb intake is to test your blood sugar before and after you eat. If it’s within target range two hours after a meal, then you know your meal plan is working for you. If it is higher, you may need to adjust your meal plan by reducing your carbohydrate intake.
|Target Blood Glucose Levels 2 Hours After Eating|
|Adults who are not pregnant||180 mg/dL or less|
T2 Diabetic Carbs Per Day Recommendations
Did you know that one of the most commonly asked questions we get is how many carbs per day is best for a diabetic to eat?
And like many other people you may also be totally confused by that question?
Its not surprising because the amount of carbs recommended does vary depending on where you read it or who tells you.
Why is this?
Well, believe it or not, no specific carbs per day recommendation has been set for people with type 2 diabetes thats why there are so many different numbers.
So what we are going to share today is:
- A range of information
- Some view points for you to consider carefully
- The latest scientific research on carbs
- The experience of other people with diabetes
Here at DMP we use a natural whole foods, lower carb approach and encourage our subscribers and members to aim for around 50-80 g carbs per day.
This is quite low compared to some recommendations, but not so low as others, for instance, a ketogenic diet of just 20 grams/day average.
However, if you find 50-80 grams per day is a little low for you, research shows that anything below 130 grams per day, which is still considered a low carb diet, can provide benefits for managing blood sugar and A1c. But 50-80 grams a day seems to achieve better results.
Its also an attainable and sustainable goal for many, as a super low carb diet is often harder to stick with long term and we do want you to adopt this new healthy eating plan as your way of life, not just as a diet youre on for a short time.
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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.
There Are Several Aspects In The Treatment Of Diabetes Each One With A Very Important Role
The mainstays of diabetes treatment are:
Note: Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin if you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need to take insulin. This involves injecting insulin under the skin for it to work. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the digestive juices in the stomach would destroy the insulin before it could work. Scientists are looking for new ways to give insulin. But today, shots are the only method. There are, however, new methods to give the shots. Insulin pumps are now being widely used and many people are having great results.
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How Much Protein Should I Eat With Diabetes In My Diet
Our dietitians at Sugar MDs can help you to determine how much protein your diet should include. However, in general, its a good idea to get protein from lean meats, fish eggs, beans, soy, and nuts and to limit the amount of red meat you eat. The recommended total protein for a sedentary man is around 55 to 56 g. With advanced kidney disease, protein intake may also need to be limited.
How Many Carbs Per Meal
Some people with diabetes will find they can tolerate a moderate amount of carbs every day, while others need to keep within a tighter range in order to maintain their optimal blood sugar levels.
In general, weve found that the sweet spot is usually around 50-80g of net carbs per day, with 100g per day as the maximum. In terms of total carbs, this would probably be around 70-130 grams per day.
Of course, some people eat a ketogenic diet, which is under 50 grams, but weve found it isnt necessary to take your carbs that low, and you can still achieve the same results with more variety in your eating plan.
If you want to figure out how many carbohydrates you can consume per meal, simply take your daily carb goal in grams and divide it by the number of meals you eat in a day.
For this example, we will aim for a goal of 70g of carbs per day and assume that 3 meals and 2 snacks will be eaten throughout the day.
A total of 70g of carbs per day divided over three meals and two small snacks could look like this:
- Breakfast: 20g carbs
- Afternoon Snack: 5g carbs
- Dinner: 20g carbs
This is just an example. Of course every day and every meal may vary but you can use the model to tailor your menu to meet your personal needs and goals, but generally your carbs should be divided up throughout the day.
If you save all of your carbs until nighttime, for example, and then binge on a huge bowl of pasta, its a guarantee that youll have high blood sugar levels afterwards.
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So How Many Carbs Should You Eat
It does vary some from person to person. But overall your goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake to less than 130 grams per day, which is considered the top threshold for a low carb diet.
Still, although anything below 130 grams is considered low carb, and its a good place to start, 130 grams is not that low.
Research shows that if you can eat even fewer carbs, youll get even better results:
- Great blood sugar control
- Lower inflammation
- Reduction in medication
What weve found works well for our members is to consume around 50 to 80 grams of total carbs per day. Yes, thats 50-80 g maximum carbs per day!
So, when you start carb counting, if you were calculating net carbs , youd be consuming around 30 to 50 net carbs per day.
And if you do this, youll be seeing great improvements!
Leisa M says:
Heres the thing, you can choose to eat a higher carb diet but over time you will likely find it difficult to control your blood sugar levels and many find you need to continually increase your medication. And the reality is, if you struggle to maintain your blood sugar within a healthy range, you put yourself at higher risk for nasty diabetic complications.
Whereas, if you adopt new ways of eating, switching to a lower carb diet, you can reverse* your diabetes. Yes, thats right!
A Word Of Caution!
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Calculating Your Daily Allowance
If you don’t have diabetes, the AHA recommends limiting calories from sugar to 10% of your total calories. One gram of sugar equals 4 calories.
For a 2,000-calorie diet, that means you can have up to 50 grams of sugar from all sources per day. It’s worth noting that the World Health Organization recommends an even lower percentage: no more than 5% of total calories from sugar.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to work with your doctor to figure out what’s right for you. Ask what percentage of your total daily calories should come from sugar. This will help you to make adjustments if you are obese and need to cut calories or if you are underweight and need to increase calories.
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Adding Fat And Protein
Making plates that contain carbs, protein, and healthy fats can help you keep your glucose levels in better balance than by eating simple or refined carbs alone.
Proteins to include as part of your healthy diet:
- Meat, such as poultry, fish, and lean red meats
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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How Do I Count Carbs In A Type 2 Diabetic Diet
If your food has a nutrition label, please make sure to check out the information on the nutrition label. You need to look at certain things. A common misconception is that patients look at sugar or glucose on the label and disregard total carbohydrates. You should note that all the carbs turn into sugar minus the fiber content.
Lets say you are on a diet for diabetes and want to count carbs for diabetes. You look at nutrition labels and find total carbohydrates. Total carbs tells you how many carbs are in 1 serving size of the food. For example, if you see number 27 gr, that means one serving of that food has 27 g of total carbohydrates. If one serving is one piece of that food, having two pieces will give you 54 g of carbohydrates.
This tells you how much food is in 1 serving. If you have two servings, the number of carbs will be two times the number of carbohydrates listed.Dietary fiber Fiber is a carbohydrate that is not digested. As a result, it does not raise blood sugar. Foods with a lot of fiber can help control the blood sugar of patients with diabetes. If a food has more than 5 grams of fiber, less insulin is needed for that food. You can subtract the threads from the total carbohydrates. If there is 5 g of fiber in 1 serving and 30 g of total carbohydrates given at sugars will be 25 g. And you can use 25 g of carbs in your calculation of how much insulin you need.
Yes, there is. We call that exchange planning in a diabetic diet.
A Sedentary Lifestyle And Carbs For Diabetics
Lets say youre a 60-year-old man, retired. Youre mostly at home especially with this virus going on, youre not doing anything. You dont want to go outside etc. Assume that you are already overweight or obese then you should really not eat more than 45 grams per meal at all. If you want to really control your diabetes with fewer medications then you should go down to 30 grams or below per meal for healthy carbs. For a sedentary woman in the same situation goal is 15 to 30 carbs maximum per meal. With medication help, these goals can definitely be relaxed. It all depends on how you want to manage your diabetes.
Diabetic patients can find a lot of carbohydrate alternatives for healthy eating. So, you can definitely avoid things with flour and highly processed carbs. Actually, if you avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates that are in the market today you will have very few reasons from natural sources to spike your blood sugar. Fruits for example will have much less effect on your blood sugars.
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How Many Carbs Should Diabetics Eat
As a person with diabetes, counting how many carbohydrates you consume daily can be an essential part of your diabetes management. It helps you to control your blood sugar and understand how much sugar and starch are in your food. Doing this helps you plan the best way to eat so you can maintain steady blood sugar throughout the day and avoid fluctuation. Read more to learn about diabetes and carbohydrates.
As a diabetic person, you should try to get half of your daily calories from carbs. For example, if you consume 1,800 calories daily, you should aim for 900 calories in carbs a day. There are four calories per one gram of carbs, so that means you should aim to eat at least 200 grams of carbs. However, this dramatically differs between people based on how many calories they need to eat to maintain a healthy weight.
You should consult with a dietician or doctor to determine how many carbs per day you should be eating. Of course, certain lifestyle factors play into that, so make sure you update your provider as needed. Be sure to also get support from your medical team to find healthy recipes that match your carb needs.
You should eat the same amount of carbs in each meal. This helps keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. However, this can be mitigated if you are giving yourself multiple injections of insulin in a day.
Additionally, based on what type of disease you have, carb counting can be different. The differences are:
How Many Carbs Should Diabetics Eat Per Day
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , people with diabetes should aim to get about 45 per cent of their total calories each day from carbs. However, the amount of carbs a person with diabetes need per day would depend on a number of factors – such as weight, age, physical activity level, diabetes medications – that can have an impact on their blood sugar levels.
For instance, an obese or overweight person may need fever carbs as weight and fat can affect blood sugar levels. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, excessive body fat can cause a person at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to have less effective insulin, which can lead to high blood sugar. The more a person is active, the more he/she would need more calories for energy. Hence, theres no one size fits all as certain factors can influence how many carbs a person with diabetes needs per day.
Also, it is recommended that women get 3-4 servings of carbs, at 15 grams per serving, whereas, men should aim for 4-5 servings.
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