Carbohydrate Counting & Diabetes
What is carbohydrate counting? Carbohydrate counting, also called carb counting, is a meal planning tool for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrate counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbohydrate in the foods you eat each day. Carbohydrates are one of the main nutrients found in food and drinks. Protein and fat are the other main nutrients. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches, and fiber. Carbohydrate counting can help you control your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, levels because carbohydrates affect your blood glucose more than other nutrients. Healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are an important part of a healthy eating plan because they can provide both energy and nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and fiber. Fiber can help you prevent constipation, lower your cholesterol levels, and control your weight. Unhealthy carbohydrates are often food and drinks with added sugars. Although unhealthy carbohydrates can also provide energy, they have little to no nutrients. More information about which carbohydrates provide nutrients for good health and which carbohydrates do not is provided in the NIDDK health topic, Diabetes Diet and Eating. The amount of carbohydrate in foods is measured in grams. To count grams of carbohydrate in foods you eat, you’ll need to know which foods contain carbohydrates learn to estimate the number of grams of carbohydrate in the foods you eat add up the number of grams of carbohydrate from each food you eat to get your total for the day Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian or diabetes educator who can help you develop a healthy eating plan based on carbohydrate counting. Which foods contain carbohydrates? Foods that contain carbohydrates include grains, such as b Continue reading >>
How Low Is Low Carb?
Many agree: People with diabetes should eat a low-carb diet. Last week we looked at what “carbs” are. But what is meant by “low?” How much carbohydrate should you eat? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, (PDF) recommend that healthy people get 50–65% of their calories from carbohydrates. A study posted on the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Web site agrees. For a woman eating a below-average 2,000 calories a day, 50–65% would be 250–325 grams of carb a day. The Dietary Guidelines call for “a balanced diet that includes six one-ounce (28.3 g) servings of grain foods each day.” This would mean 170 grams of carbohydrate from grains alone each day. And the average American diet includes many other carb sources. Most men eat closer to 3,000 calories a day, so their numbers would be higher. Sixty percent of 3,000 would be 1,800 calories, equivalent to 450 grams of carbohydrate each day. Anything less than the recommended range is sometimes considered “low-carb.” Most popular low-carb diets, like Atkins, South Beach, Zone, and Protein Power, are much lower, from 45% of calories down to 5%. Many diabetes experts recommend somewhat lower carb intakes than ADA does. On our site, dietitian Jacquie Craig wrote, “Most people need between 30–75 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 15–30 grams for snacks.” So that sounds like between 120 and 300 grams a day. Dr. Richard Bernstein, an MD with Type 1 diabetes and a long-time advocate of the low-carb approach to diabetes, suggests much lower intakes. He says eat 6 grams of carbs at breakfast, and snacks, 12 grams each at lunch and dinner. So that would be about 40 grams of carbs per day. If 12 grams per meal sounds like a small amount, it is. It’s about the amount in an average slice of bread. An Continue reading >>
How Many Carbs Should A Diabetic Eat?
Figuring out how many carbs to eat when you have diabetes can seem confusing. Meal plans created by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) provide about 45% of calories from carbs. This includes 45–60 grams per meal and 10–25 grams per snack, totaling about 135–230 grams of carbs per day. However, a growing number of experts believe people with diabetes should be eating far fewer carbs than this. In fact, many recommend fewer carbs per day than what the ADA allows per meal. This article takes a look at the research supporting low-carb diets for diabetics and provides guidance for determining optimal carb intake. Glucose, or blood sugar, is the main source of fuel for your body's cells. In people with diabetes, the body's ability to process and use blood sugar is impaired. Although there are several types of diabetes, the two most common forms are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that allows sugar from the bloodstream to enter the body's cells. Instead, insulin must be injected to ensure that sugar enters cells. Type 1 diabetes develops because of an autoimmune process in which the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells, which are called beta cells. This disease is usually diagnosed in children, but it can start at any age, even in late adulthood (1). Type 2 Diabetes Type 2 diabetes is more common, accounting for about 90% of people with diabetes. Like type 1 diabetes, it can develop in both adults and children. However, it isn't as common in children and typically occurs in people who are overweight or obese. In this form of the disease, either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body's cells are resistant to insulin's effects. Therefore, too much sugar stays Continue reading >>
Healthy Carbs For Diabetes
1 / 9 Making the Best Carb Choices for Diabetes "When you say 'carbohydrate,' most people think of sugar," says Meredith Nguyen, RD, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Methodist Charlton Medical Center Diabetes Self-Management Program in Dallas. But that's only half the story. Carbohydrates are also starches and valuable fiber, which are found in many nutrient-rich foods that should be part of a diabetes diet. Sugar is the basic building block that, depending on how it's organized, creates either starches or fiber. You need about 135 grams of carbohydrates every day, spread fairly evenly throughout your meals. Instead of trying to avoid carbs completely, practice planning your diabetes diet with everything in moderation. "There's nothing you can't have," Nguyen says. "The catch is that you might not like the portion size or frequency." Use this list of healthy carbohydrates to help you stay balanced. Continue reading >>
Can You Put A Number On Carbs?
I'd appreciate learning about how many grams of carbohydrate I should eat as a guideline to keep my glucose numbers normal. Continue reading >>
How To Count Carbs For Better Blood Sugar Control
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. It’s 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 (and be spaced out throughout the day) if you have type 2 diabetes. There’s 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 here’s where your diabetes care team comes in: Talk to your dietitian or diabetes educator to determine the right carb-counting number for you so you’ll 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 Counting carbs is an effective way to monitor your carb intake and keep sugar from building up in the blood. You can use these basic tips to help manage your carb consumption: Foods that contain carbohydrates include starches, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, beans, and sweets. Most people with type 2 diabetes should stick to eating around 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. For foods that have nutrition labels, add up the grams of carbohydrates per serv Continue reading >>
How Much Should I Eat Daily To Control My Blood Sugar Levels With Diabetes?
The types of food you eat, when you eat them, the timing of medications and even physical activity levels can all affect blood sugar levels. A good component to type 2 diabetes management is keeping your blood sugar levels under control as best as possible. The road to management can be a challenging and winding one. The day-to-day efforts you put in trying to ensure you maintain your target blood sugar levels, can sometimes seem like minute-to-minute efforts. You’ve learned how to check your blood sugar, what medications you should take, recommendations on what you should eat, but have you learned what foods work best for you and your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are the one consistent factor in diabetes management that everyone, including doctors can agree require more information on how to manage them more effectively. What’s The Big Deal on Blood Sugars? Type 2 diabetes happens when your body is no longer sensitive to the insulin, or it begins to develop a delayed response to the way insulin is secreted to change your blood sugar levels. Beyond the complications associated with diabetes, high blood sugar levels can gradually do damage to all the blood vessels in the body. Over a longer period of time, these elevated blood sugars and damage can lead to a bigger problem of the loss in sensation throughout the body, particularly in the legs and feet. This condition is known as neuropathy. Deterioration of your eyesight, reduced kidney function and an elevated risk for heart disease are also potential complications. For more information read these guides: Episodes of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar put those with type 2 diabetes at just as high of a risk for complications. Loss of consciousness, confusion, risk of seizures and potential brain damage when Continue reading >>
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10 Diabetes Diet Myths
Have you heard that eating too much sugar causes diabetes? Or maybe someone told you that you have to give up all your favorite foods when you’re on a diabetes diet? Well, those things aren’t true. In fact, there are plenty of myths about dieting and food. Use this guide to separate fact from fiction. MYTH. The truth is that diabetes begins when something disrupts your body's ability to turn the food you eat into energy. MYTH. If you have diabetes, you need to plan your meals, but the general idea is simple. You’ll want to keep your blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Choose foods that work along with your activities and any medications you take. Will you need to make adjustments to what you eat? Probably. But your new way of eating may not require as many changes as you think. MYTH. Carbs are the foundation of a healthy diet whether you have diabetes or not. They do affect your blood sugar levels, which is why you’ll need to keep up with how many you eat each day. Some carbs have vitamins, minerals, and fiber. So choose those ones, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Starchy, sugary carbs are not a great choice because they have less to offer. They’re more like a flash in the pan than fuel your body can rely on. MYTH. Because carbs affect blood sugar levels so quickly, you may be tempted to eat less of them and substitute more protein. But take care to choose your protein carefully. If it comes with too much saturated fat, that’s risky for your heart’s health. Keep an eye on your portion size too. Talk to your dietitian or doctor about how much protein is right for you. MYTH. If you use insulin for your diabetes, you may learn how to adjust the amount and type you take to match the amount of food you eat. But this doesn't mean you Continue reading >>
How To Count Carbs In 10 Common Foods
What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are sugar-based molecules found in many foods, from cookies to cantaloupes. If you have diabetes, planning your carb intake—and sticking to the plan—is critical to keep blood sugar on an even keel and to cut your risk of diabetes-related problems like heart disease and stroke. Whether or not you have diabetes, you should aim to get about half your calories from complex carbohydrates (which are high in fiber), 20-25% from protein, and no more than 30% from fat, says Lalita Kaul, PhD, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. 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. (If you're counting carbs in your diet, be aware that 15 grams of carbohydrates count as one serving.) 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 American Diabetes Association and University of California, San Francisco.) How many carbs per day? If you eat 2,000 calories a day, you should consume about 250 grams of complex carbohydrates per day. A good starting place for people with diabetes is to have roughly 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal and 15 to 30 grams for snacks. While snacks are key for people with diabetes who use insulin or pills that increase insulin production (otherwise, they run the risk of low blood sugar), they aren’t essential for non-insulin users. The goal for anyone with diab Continue reading >>
Treatment Of Diabetes: The Diabetic Diet
The mainstays of diabetes treatment are: Working towards obtaining ideal body weight Following a diabetic diet Regular exercise Diabetic medication if needed 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. In this Article Working towards obtaining ideal body weight An estimate of ideal body weight can be calculated using this formula: For women: Start with 100 pounds for 5 feet tall. Add 5 pounds for every inch over 5 feet. If you are under 5 feet, subtract 5 pounds for each inch under 5 feet. This will give you your ideal weight. If you have a large frame, add 10%. If you have a small frame, subtract 10%. A good way to decide your frame size is to look at your wrist size compared to other women's. Example: A woman who is 5' 4" tall and has a large frame 100 pounds + 20 pounds (4 inches times 5 pounds per inch) = 120 pounds. Add 10% for large frame (in this case 10% of 120 pounds is 12 pounds). 120 pounds + 12 pounds = 132 pounds ideal body weight. For men: Start with 106 pounds for a height of 5 foot. Add 6 pounds for every inch above 5 foot. For a large frame, add 10%. For a small frame, subtract 10%. (See above for further details.) Learn More about Treating Type 2 Diabetes The Diabetic Diet Diet is very important in diabetes. There are differing philosophies on what is the best diet but below is Continue reading >>
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What Is The Recommended Daily Intake Of Carbs For A Diabetic Male
Male diabetics can usually handle slightly more carbohydrates compared to female diabetics, but the optimal amount of carbs you should eat will also depend on your weight, physical activity level and blood-sugar control. Male diabetics will generally need fewer carbs compared to non-diabetics because an excess of carbs is associated with higher blood-sugar levels, which can eventually lead to diabetes complications. Working with a diabetes educator or registered dietitian can help you dial in your carb intake to help you optimize your diabetes control and prevent complications. Carbohydrate counting is an important skill to learn to help diabetic males better understand the link between the food they eat and their blood-sugar levels. Carbohydrates are mainly found in foods containing sugar or flour, as well as in grains, starchy vegetables and fruits. Look at the nutrition facts table on food labels to determine the amount of carbs found per serving. Adjust the carb content according to the serving you consume. For example, if the label of a package of rice says that 1 cup of cooked rice contains 45 grams of carbs and you usually eat 2 cups of rice, your carb intake will reach 90 grams. Keep a food diary to keep track of the food you eat and your carb intake. Standard Advice The daily carb intake for male diabetics recommended by the American Diabetes Association varies between 135 and 180 grams for your three basic meals along with up to 60 to 90 grams of extra carbohydrates at snack time. Your daily recommended carb intake could therefore vary between 135 grams a day if you don't snack up to 270 grams a day. Since these recommendations are quite broad, the American Diabetes Association suggests working with a diabetes educator or registered dietitian to get more speci Continue reading >>
How Many Carbs Should A Diabetic Eat In A Day?
Diabetes affects the way the body metabolizes sugar. Whether you have type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, paying close attention to the amount of carbohydrates you're eating is critical. With proper planning and education, a healthy diabetic diet -- which includes carbohydrates in moderation -- is just as satisfying as a regular one. Video of the Day How Many Carbs Can Diabetics Eat? All foods that have carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels. But some carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels more than others. By keeping track of how many carbohydrates are in foods, diabetics are better able to control their blood sugar levels and subsequently manage their diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults with diabetes consume about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal, which adds up to 135 to 180 grams of carbohydrates per day. Note that some individuals may need more or fewer carbohydrates. Consult a registered dietitian for an individualized recommendation. The three main type of carbohydrates include starches, sugars and fiber. Starchy foods, also known as complex carbohydrates, include peas, corn, beans, grains, whole wheat pasta, oats, barley and rice. Sugars can occur naturally -- in milk and fruit, for example -- or be added during processing. Common names for sugar include table sugar, brown sugar, honey, beet sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods that passes through the intestine when you consume fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. The general recommendation is that adults consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. Fiber offers an added benefit for diabetics, because it helps control blood sugar levels by slowing the release of sugar into the bloodstream after a meal. Carbohydrate C Continue reading >>
How To Start A Low-carb Diabetes Diet
There is strong evidence that eating fewer carbohydrates helps improve blood sugars. This makes sense intuitively: carbohydrates are broken down by the body into sugar, directly leading to high blood sugars. Eat fewer carbohydrates and you will typically end up with less sugar in your blood. For those with type 2 diabetes or are newly diagnosed with type 1, fewer carbohydrates mean that your body’s natural insulin production will have an easier time processing your blood sugars. If you take insulin, you will have a much easier time taking the appropriate amount of insulin. Before you start a low-carbohydrate diet, talk with your healthcare provider. If you are taking blood sugar-lowering medications, then eating fewer carbohydrates without lowering your medication dosage may cause dangerous low blood sugars. There are studies that show that people with diabetes can achieve success on both low-carbohydrate and high-carbohydrate diets. Those pursuing high-carb diets are often primarily eating more vegetarian or vegan diets that are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. They are also frequently athletes who burn large amounts of sugar during exercise. We will look at other dietary approaches in a future article. If you would like to dive into the research on low-carb diets for diabetes, please skip to the last section in this article. Also, be sure to read Key Facts About Carbohydrates Everyone with Diabetes Should Know. What Is a Low-Carb Diet? There are many different ways to define and follow a low-carb diet. In this article, we are generally looking at people who wish to eat fewer carbohydrates than they are currently eating. There is no one way to follow a low-carb diet. Generally, people try different amounts of carbohydrates until they reach an amount per day t Continue reading >>
Carb Counting For Diabetes: Meal Planning To Manage Blood Sugar
Carb counting is one form of meal planning that can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Diabetes is an incurable, yet manageable, medical condition where the body's blood sugar levels are too high. This happens when there is not enough insulin in the body, or the insulin does not work properly. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas. It helps the body to process glucose (the simplest form of sugar), which is used by the cells to create energy. When this doesn't happen, sugar stays in the bloodstream. This can lead to serious health problems. This article explores carb counting as a meal planning method that can help people with any form of diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Diabetes and the role of carbohydrates In the United States in 2014, approximately 9 percent of Americans, totaling nearly 29 million people, were found to have diabetes. Diabetes is classified into different types and includes: Type 1 diabetes: In this type, the body does not produce insulin. This is due to the body attacking its own insulin producing cells within the pancreas. It is most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes: In this type, insulin is either not made in high enough quantities or not used efficiently. This form of diabetes affects people of all ages and is the most common type. Gestational diabetes: Some pregnant women will develop a typically temporary form of diabetes called gestational diabetes. This raises their risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Most times, once the baby is born, this form of diabetes disappears. What happens after carbohydrates are eaten? The digestive system breaks down the carbohydrates into sugar. This enters the bloodstream and is used by the body's cells for energy. Typicall Continue reading >>
How Many Carbs Per Day For A Diabetic?
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? No doubt that's why you're here reading this as well, right? And like many other people you may be totally confused by that question. That's not surprising because the amount of carbs recommended does vary depending on where you read it. Why is this? Well, there is no specific recommendation for carbs, that's why there are so many different numbers. However, there is good scientific evidence to suggest what's best. But unfortunately, that information is not getting out to the public (to YOU) as fast as it should. Luckily though, here at Diabetes Meal Plans, we pride ourselves on sharing up-to-date evidence-based info because we want you to get the best results. And we're proud to say what we share works: Sheryl says: “My doctor’s report was best ever: A1c was normal for the first time since I was diagnosed diabetic in 2007; My LDL was 60; my total cholesterol was 130. My lab results were improved across the board. Best news: I am taking less diabetic meds, and my weight is within 5 lbs of normal BMI. I am a believer in what you have written, and I’m grateful to have a site I can trust.” Here at Diabetes Meal Plans we encourage a low carb diet because research shows that lower carb diets produce far more effective results than traditional low fat diets. As you read on, be prepared to have some of your longheld diet beliefs shattered. But also be prepared to be amazed by the possibilities. Because with a few dietary changes, you can reverse* your diabetes and live your life anew! Rethinking ‘Mainstream' Carb Recommendations Over the years it’s been pretty common practice to recommend a low fat, high carbohydrate diet to people with type 2 Continue reading >>