Diabetes: Counting Carbs If You Use Insulin
Carbohydrate, or carb, counting is an important skill to learn when you have diabetes. Carb counting helps you keep tight control of your blood sugar (glucose) level. It also gives you the flexibility to eat what you want. This can help you feel more in control and confident when managing your diabetes. Carb counting helps you keep your blood sugar at your target level. It allows you to adjust the amount of insulin you take. This amount is based on how many grams of carbs you eat at a meal or snack. The formula used to find how much insulin you need is called the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio. The insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio is not the same for each person. You and your doctor will find your ratio by keeping track of the food you eat and testing your blood sugar level after meals. To count carb grams at a meal, you need to know how many carbs are in each type of food you eat. This includes all food, whether it is a slice of bread, a bowl of lettuce, or a spoonful of salad dressing. Most packaged foods have labels that tell you how many total carbs are in one serving. Carbohydrate guides can help too. You can get these from diabetes educators and the American Diabetes Association. To find out how many carbs are in food that is not packaged, you will need to know standard portions of carbohydrate foods. Each serving size or standard portion has about 15 grams of carbs. By using the number of grams of carbs in a meal, you can figure out how much insulin to take. This is based on your personal insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio. For example: Your doctor may advise you to take 1 unit of rapid-acting insulin for every 10 to 15 grams of carbs you eat. So if your meal has 50 grams of carbs and your doctor says you need 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbs, you would need Continue reading >>
Learn How Much Glucose Raises You 10 Mg/dl (.5 Mmol/l)
A mild hypo is one that sends your blood sugar no lower than 65 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/L). It is not life threatening, but it can be very unpleasant, especially if you have been running much higher blood sugars and have just started a new medication that lowers them. With a mild hypo, you are likely to feel shaky, nervous, and, sometimes, ravenously hungry. If your blood sugar has been abnormally high for a long time you may feel the symptoms of a hypo at levels that are actually normal or even high. That is because it takes your body time to adjust when blood sugar levels descend. The advice on this page is intended for people with Type 2 diabetes or hypoglycemia who would like to be able to correct mild hypoglycemia without causing a large blood sugar spike that puts them on a blood sugar roller coaster where they suffer alternating highs and lows. This advice is not meant for people with Type 1 diabetes who should follow their doctor's advice in dealing with serious hypos. Learn How Much Glucose Raises you 10 mg/dl (.5 mmol/l) The amount of glucose that raises your blood sugar a given amount depends on your body weight. For a person who weighs 140 lbs, two grams of glucose will do it. The table below shows the amount of glucose you need to eat to raise your blood sugar ten mg/dl (.56 mmol/L) Please Scroll Down to See Table Grams of Glucose to Raise BG 10 mg/dl Your Weight Grams of Glucose Needed 140 lb 2 gm 175 2.5 gm 210 lb 3 gm 245 lb 3.5 gm 280 lb 4 gm 315 lb 4.5 gm How To Get Your Glucose Two Grams of pure glucose can be found in five "Smarties" candy discs (of the type shown in the picture above. The candy sold under that name in the UK and Canada is not made with dextrose/glucose.) or one "Sweetart" hard candy wafer. Check the nutritional information on the wrapper wh Continue reading >>
Is Avocado Good For Diabetes?
The humble avocado, shunned for years during the fat-free diet craze of the 1990s, may have finally hit its stride. No longer just for guacamole, this nutritious fruit is popping up as a healthy addition to various diet plans. But can people with diabetes eat this food? It turns out that avocados are not only safe for people with diabetes, but they may be downright beneficial. Research shows that avocados offer many ways to help people manage their diabetes and improve their overall well-being. Contents of this article: Diet and diabetes A healthy diet is critical for people with diabetes. The foods that they eat each day can have a considerable impact on how they feel and how well their diabetes is controlled. In general, people with diabetes should eat foods that help control blood sugar levels and that offer health benefits such lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. This is one of the best ways to keep diabetes under control, avoid complications, and lead the healthiest life possible. Avocados are an excellent choice for people with diabetes because they offer all these benefits - and possibly more. How do avocados affect blood sugar levels? Blood sugar control is critical for people who have diabetes. A physician or dietitian may advise patients to choose foods that are lower in carbohydrates and sugar. They may also recommend foods that help control blood sugar spikes. An avocado meets both of these requirements. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, an average medium avocado has around 17 grams of carbohydrates. For comparison, an apple has 25 grams of carbohydrates and a banana has 27. A 1-ounce serving, or about one-fifth of an avocado, contains only 3 grams of carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of sugar. With so few carbohydrates, people Continue reading >>
How To Prevent (and Even Reverse) Prediabetes
More than 25.8 million children and adults in the United States live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and experts say as many as 79 million more have prediabetes—a condition where elevated blood glucose levels raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So how can you avoid or reverse prediabetes? Start by asking your doctor for fasting plasma glucose (FPG), A1C, and oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT); then follow these expert recommendations for staying diabetes-free. Diabetes lifestyle educator Get moving. If you are overweight, have high cholesterol, or have a family history of diabetes, you’re at risk. You can lower that risk by up to 58 percent by losing 7 percent of your body weight, which means exercise is essential. Start with 30 minutes of brisk walking five to six times per week; then try low-impact workouts like biking or swimming. Eat better. Reduce sugar intake to less than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) daily for women and less than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day for men. People at risk for prediabetes should follow a reduced-calorie and reduced-fat diet. Avoid trans fats and regulate high-caloric healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocado. Make measureable changes. Wear a pedometer to calculate daily movement, start a food journal, and download online applications that track your weight-loss successes with graphs. –Jennifer Pells, PhD, Wellspring at Structure House, Durham, North Carolina Integrative physician Reduce stress. Chronic stress taxes the pancreas (the insulin-producing organ) and increases prediabetes risk. Honokiol, a magnolia bark extract, reduces stress and supports the pancreas by taming inflammation and oxidative stress. Take 250 mg twice per day with meals, for long-term use. Choose the right fiber. Fiber slows sugar’s release in Continue reading >>
How Many Grams Of Sugar Can A Diabetic Have Per Day?
Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications. Continue reading >>
Confused About Sugar Alcohols? What Every Diabetic Should Know
Confused about sugar alcohols? Many people with diabetes hear that sugar alcohols are not sugar, they don't raise your blood sugar, and you can subtract them from your carbohydrate count. What is the real scoop on sugar alcohols? In the past, diabetics were told they should not have any sugar whatsoever in their diet. Today, diabetics can have "certain" sugars in their diet and still meet the goals they set for themselves or by their health care professionals. One of the more confusing topics you'll run across is sugar alcohols and how it relates to Type 2 diabetes. What Are Sugar Alcohols - Sugar alcohols are Not Created Equal Sugar alcohols are a kind of reduced-calorie food sweetener often seen in sugar free or no sugar added food content; they are actually carbohydrates. The intention of these sweeteners is to prevent rapid rise of diabetics' blood sugar to dangerous levels, which will generally happen with regular sugar. You can find sugar alcohols in all kinds of products like sugar free candy, cookies, ice cream, fruit spreads, gums, etc. You can also find sugar alcohols in medicines and dental cleaning products like toothpaste and mouthwash. This type of carbohydrate energy ranging from 0.2 to 3 calories per gram compared to 4 grams per calorie of regular sugar and many carbohydrates. Sugar alcohols do not contain ethanol, which is used in alcoholic drinks so you won't get drunk from it. Make sure to look for products that contain the following sugar alcohols (carbohydrates). Below, we have listed some of the more popular sugar alcohols with the calories they deliver and their Glycemic Index. Note: in the United States 1 Calorie = 1 kilocalorie in the metric system Glycemic Index (GI) High Intermediate Low Very Low GI Values Greater than 70 55 to 70 40 to 54 Les Continue reading >>
How Does Your Blood Sugar Work?
If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! What on earth is blood sugar and why does it matter? I realize some people may not even understand what their bodies blood sugar does or why it matters. Perhaps you only think someone who is diabetic needs to worry about their blood sugar, but that’s not actually true. We all need to have balanced blood sugar levels or we could potentially end up diabetic as well. Our blood sugar is a key foundation of our overall health, so many functions in the body depend on healthy blood sugar. Blood sugar balance (or blood glucose level) is one of the 2 most tightly regulated systems in the body, with the other being blood pH. Having a normal healthy functioning blood sugar is key to optimal health, regulating so many functions within the body. Normal blood sugar range is between 80 to 100 mg/dL with 89.9 mg/dL as a good baseline, some suggest even lower levels are optimal such as 70-85. ‘The lower you can maintain your blood glucose levels in a healthy and functional way, without experiencing low-blood-sugar symptoms, the better off you are. Those people who are optimally healthy should maintain a range between 70 and 85 mg/dL or lower; this is equivalent to no more than 1 teaspoon of sugar, or about 5 g or 20 kcal, total. Keep in mind that the body is adamant about maintaining the minimal necessary levels of glucose at any given time because glucose is inherently damaging to vessels, organs and tissues in the body. The less glucose that is absolutely necessary the better.’ ~ Nora Gedgaudas,’Primal Body, Primal Mind‘ When we eat a meal, the nutrients in that meal (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) are broken down by the digestive system. The starches from carbohydrates convert to glucose. The Continue reading >>
Do Bananas Spike Blood Sugar?
While it may not look like one, a banana is technically a berry, according to Purdue University. These fruits are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Like any other carbohydrate-containing food, they can cause your blood sugar levels to increase. However, they aren't likely to cause blood sugar levels to spike as long as you watch your portion size. Carbohydrate Content A carbohydrate serving for a diabetic is 12 to 15 grams of carbs. This is the about the amount of carbohydrates in half of a medium banana. Out of the 27 grams of carbs in a medium banana, 3.1 come from fiber, which isn't broken down into glucose like other types of carbohydrates. Fiber helps slow the emptying of the stomach and thus keeps blood glucose levels from rising sharply. Glycemic Index The glycemic index measures how quickly a food causes your blood sugar to rise after you eat it. Foods with a GI score of 55 and under are considered low on the glycemic index, and unlikely to cause blood sugar spikes when consumed in moderation. Foods with a GI score of 70 or over are considered high on the glycemic index and are more likely to cause blood sugar spikes. The average GI score for bananas is 52, making them low on the glycemic index. Increase in Blood Sugar Each gram of carbohydrates you consume increases your blood sugar levels about the same amount depending on how much you weigh. In a 150-pound person this is about 4 milligrams per deciliter, and in a 200-pound person this is about 3 milligrams per deciliter, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. So if you eat a whole medium banana and you weigh 150 pounds, your blood glucose levels will increase by about 108 milligrams per deciliter. However, given the relatively low GI score of bananas, this is likely to be a gra Continue reading >>
Treating Hypos: One-size Does Not Fit All!
By Gary Scheiner MS, CDE Imagine if there were only one car on the market. Or one type of breakfast cereal. Or (heaven forbid!) one type of insulin pump. Would you feel a little bit cheated? You should. INDIVIDUALIZATION is where it’s at: customizing whatever it is to best meet your particular needs. In the diabetes field, healthcare providers and product marketers have been trying for years to stuff a one-size-fits-all approach down our throats when it comes to treating hypoglycemia, using 15 as the magic number. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’re doing, or how low you are. Fifteen grams of carbohydrate is the magical elixir. For those of us dealing with hypoglycemia on a regular basis, we understand that this is just plain wrong. Every person is unique, and every situation has its own unique characteristics. And we’re not talking about something superficial here like the body side moldings on a car. We’re talking about dealing with a true medical emergency. Undertreatment of hypoglycemia can result in a seizure, loss of consciousness, or much worse. Overtreatment can produce significantly high blood sugar levels for many hours. In preparing to treat hypoglycemia (and this is something you should think about now, not when you’re low and can’t think too clearly), consider the following: 1. Body Size The bigger you are, the more carbohydrates it takes to raise the blood sugar. This is because bigger people have more blood volume into which the glucose will dissolve. Every gram of carbohydrate will raise a small child’s blood sugar much more than that of a fully-grown adult. The chart below summarizes the amount that each gram of carbohydrate could be expected to raise a person’s blood sugar based on their weight: Weight in Pounds (kg) One gram o Continue reading >>
11 Foods To Avoid With Diabetes
Eating the wrong foods can mess with your blood sugar. By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE Diabetes is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions among adults and children worldwide. Uncontrolled diabetes has many serious consequences, including heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and other complications. Prediabetes has also been linked to these conditions. Importantly, eating the wrong foods can raise your blood sugar and insulin levels and promote inflammation, which may increase your risk of disease. This article lists 11 foods that people with diabetes or prediabetes should avoid. Why Does Carb Intake Matter for People With Diabetes? Carbs, protein and fat are the macronutrients that provide your body with energy. Of these three, carbs have the greatest effect on your blood sugar by far. This is because they are broken down into sugar, or glucose, and absorbed into your bloodstream. Carbs include starches, sugar and fiber. However, fiber isn’t digested and absorbed by your body in the same way other carbs are, so it doesn’t raise your blood sugar. Subtracting fiber from the total carbs in a food will give you its digestible or “net” carb content. For instance, if a cup of mixed vegetables contains 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber, its net carb count is 6 grams. When people with diabetes consume too many carbs at a time, their blood sugar levels can rise to dangerously high levels. Over time, high levels can damage your body’s nerves and blood vessels, which may set the stage for heart disease, kidney disease and other serious health conditions. Maintaining a low carb intake can help prevent blood sugar spikes and greatly reduce the risk of diabetes complications. Therefore, it’s important to avoid the foods listed below. 1. Sugar-Swe Continue reading >>
The Sugar To Fiber Dietary Ratio
A Critical Measurement There has been a wealth of study regarding the different components of diet that relate to disease risks. Unfortunately, the commonly used “government type” recommendations have ignored this data. Perhaps the most significant ill-founded recommendation has been the low fat diet. This is universally recommended by primary care physicians, cardiologists and about all other specialists as an answer to everything. In many ways, it is actually fueling many diseases including those that it is intended to prevent or treat such as diabetes and heart disease. Humans have three primary taste drives or things that stimulate the tongue to tell the brain “good, eat”. These taste drives are the taste of salt, fat and sugar. While there are several other more minor taste drives, these three are the most dominant. Any food that contains one or more of these tastes excites the appetite drive center in the brain. Food that is manipulated to be “low fat” is inherently “low taste” and therefore not desirable. The solution to this for the food industry has been to add one or both of the other primary taste drives to all manufactured low fat foods. They will always contain added sugar and/or salt. Below is a chocolate cupcake which contains 18 grams of added sugars and less than 1 gram of fiber. Below is the label from a “healthier alternative”, a cereal bar. It contains 19 grams of added sugar and again, less than 1 gram of fiber. What most people look at to decide if this is healthy is the grams of fat which is only 4 or 6% of “daily value”. The cupcake would actually be a healthier choice although by no means healthy! While this may seem like an extreme example look at the grams of sugar and fiber on all labels for a week. The typical reactio Continue reading >>
How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate (just like sugars and starches) but since it is not broken down by the human body, it does not contribute any calories. Yet, on a food label, fiber is listed under total carbohydrate. So this gets kind of confusing for people who have diabetes. Carbohydrate is the one nutrient that has the biggest impact on blood glucose. So, does fiber have any effect on your blood glucose? The answer is that fiber does not raise blood glucose levels. Because it is not broken down by the body, the fiber in an apple or a slice of whole grain bread has no effect on blood glucose levels because it isn't digested. The grams of fiber can actually be subtracted from the total grams of carb you are eating if you are using carbohydrate counting for meal planning. So, fiber is a good thing for people with diabetes. Of course, most of the foods that contain fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas) also contain other types of non-fiber carbohydrate (sugar, starch) that must be accounted for in your meal plan. The average person should eat between 20-35 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans eat about half that amount. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people with diabetes who ate 50 grams of fiber a day — particularly soluble fiber — were able to control their blood glucose better than those who ate far less. So if fiber does not give us any calories, why exactly should you eat it? There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber keeps your digestive tract working well. Whole wheat bran is an example of this type of fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower your cholesterol level and improve blood glucose control if eaten in large amounts. Oatmeal is an example of this type of fiber. Another ben Continue reading >>
The Relationship Between The Amount Of Carbs & Increase In Blood Glucose Value
Diabetics and other people watching their blood sugar need to pay particular attention to the amount of carbohydrate-containing foods they eat because carbohydrates are the most responsible for increases in blood sugar levels. The type of carbohydrate-containing food also plays a role, however, in how quickly and how much blood sugar levels increase. Carbohydrates, with the exception of fiber, get broken down into sugars by your body. These sugars then enter the bloodstream, increasing your blood glucose levels. Higher blood sugar levels lead the body to produce and release insulin, which causes your cells to pull extra sugar out of the bloodstream for storage. Should blood levels of sugar become too low, another hormone, called glucagon, causes the stored sugar to be released back into the bloodstream. People with diabetes either don't produce enough insulin or their body doesn't respond properly to insulin, causing a problem with this cycle. Recommended Consumption The more carbohydrates you consume, the more sugars will get released into your bloodstream. This doesn't mean diabetics need to avoid carbohydrates. In fact, they should get the same 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates as nondiabetics. They just need to spread their carbohydrate intake evenly throughout the day, including about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates in each meal. Foods high in fiber, such as legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are best because the fiber slows down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and limits sudden spikes in blood sugar. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load On average, a gram of carbohydrate will raise blood glucose levels by about 4 points for someone weighing 150 pounds, or about 3 points for someone weighing 200 pounds. You can use the g Continue reading >>
Why Some Sugar-free Products Raise Blood Sugar
In the latest “Really?” column, Anahad O’Connor explores why some foods labeled “sugar free” may still raise blood sugar. The culprits are sugar alcohols that are sometimes paired with artificial sweeteners. He writes: Sugar alcohols get their name from their structure, which looks like a cross between a molecule of alcohol and sugar but is technically neither. Companies have added them to more and more “sugar free” products, like cookies, chewing gum, hard candy and chocolate. For people trying to manage their blood sugar, this can make interpreting nutritional labels a little tricky. While sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than regular sugar — in general about 1.5 to 3 calories per gram, compared with 4 calories per gram of sugar — they can still slightly raise your blood sugar. To learn more, read the full column, “The Claim: Artificial Sweeteners Can Raise Blood Sugar,” then please join the discussion below. Continue reading >>
How Much Avocado Can A Diabetic Eat?
If you have diabetes, you know that food plays a big role in controlling your blood sugar levels. Carbohydrate--containing foods, which include sugar, sweets, sugary drinks, grains, starchy vegetables, fruits and some dairy, are converted to sugar during the digestion process and therefore contribute to raising your blood sugar levels after eating. A high--carb intake will result in high blood sugar levels. Video of the Day The nutrition facts for avocado depend on its size. For example, a whole California avocado provides about 227 calories, 11.8 grams of carbohydrates and 9.2 grams of fiber, while a Florida avocado is larger and contains 365 calories, 23.8 grams of carbohydrates and 17.0 grams of fiber. With diabetes, carbohydrates elevate your blood sugar levels, but only the starch and sugar part of the total carbohydrates, not the fiber. Available Carbohydrate and Diabetes To better estimate the effect of avocado on your blood sugar levels, you can calculate their available carbohydrate content by subtracting fiber from the total carbs. In the case of a California avocado, you get 2.6 grams of available carbohydrates, while a Florida avocado contains 6.8 grams of available carbohydates because of its larger size. Usually, diabetics are recommended to limit their carb intake to 45 grams to 60 grams per meal. Avocado contains very small amounts of available carbohydrates and are not problematic for diabetes control, even if you eat a whole, large avocado. Although avocado itself is not likely to hinder your glycemic control, it is often served with high-carb foods such as tortillas, nacho chips and taco shells. If your meal includes foods that have a high carbohydrate content, your blood sugar is likely to rise, so count your carbs to ensure you do not eat more carbo Continue reading >>