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What Is Carbohydrate Counting In Diabetes?

Carbohydrate Counting: The Basics

Carbohydrate Counting: The Basics

Counting carbohydrates in the foods you eat can help you control your blood glucose. This is because carbohydrates raise your blood glucose more than any other nutrient. Foods can be divided into three nutrient groups: carbohydrates, meats and meat substitutes, and fats. Carbohydrates such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk are healthy foods. They provide energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The balance between the amount of carbohydrates you eat and insulin determines how much your blood glucose level goes up after meals. This means you need to know what foods have carbohydrates and how many carbohydrate servings to eat to keep your blood glucose within the target range. Carbohydrate-Counting Meal Plans Your dietitian can help you set up a meal plan based on counting the carbohydrates you eat. First, you and the dietitian will decide how many carbohydrate servings you should eat at meals and snacks based on how carbohydrate foods affect your blood glucose. By checking your blood glucose levels, you can tell when and where changes in the plan might be needed. If your blood glucose levels are too high, you may need to eat fewer carbohydrate servings, be more physically active, or work with your health care team to add or make changes in diabetes medicines. Carbohydrate Foods Carbohydrates are starches and sugars and can be found in many foods. These include: Breads, crackers, and cereals Pasta, rice, and grains Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and peas Nonstarchy vegetables, such as broccoli, salad greens, and carrots Milk and yogurt Fruits and juices Sweets and desserts Foods that contain sugars, such as cakes, cookies, and candy, are counted as carbohydrate servings but do not provide vitamins or minerals like the healthier types of carbohydra Continue reading >>

How To Count Carbs For Better Blood Sugar Control

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 >>

Basic Carbohydrate Counting​

Basic Carbohydrate Counting​

Carbohydrates (car-bow-HIGH-drates) are nutrients in food that turn into glucose (sugar) after being digested to provide energy to the body. People with diabetes should have a moderate amount of carbohydrate at each meal, rather than avoiding them completely. Eating the right amount of carbohydrate at each meal will help to keep blood glucose in a healthy range. Below are some basic guidelines for counting and regulating the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. In general, these foods contain carbohydrates: Starchy vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, dried beans, corn, and peas Fruits: fresh, frozen, canned and juice All breads, cereals, pasta, rice and crackers Milk and yogurt Desserts and sweets Most snack foods Carbohydrates (carbs) are often counted in "servings" or "choices". One carb choice contains about 15 grams of total carbohydrate. The portions in the table below are equal to one carb choice. In general, women should have 3 to 4 carb choices at each meal and men should have 4 to 5 carb choices at each meal. Both can have 1 to 2 carb choices as an evening snack. Food Choices Equaling One Carbohydrate Choice (15 Grams of Total Carbs) Starch Fruit Milk Other Carbohydrates 1 slice bread Apple or orange the size of a tennis ball 1 cup (8 ounces) skim milk 2-inch unfrosted cake 2 slices light bread 1/2 cup grapes 6 ounces light yogurt 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce 1/3 cup pasta or rice (cooked), or baked beans 1 cup cubed melon 1 cup (8 ounces) soy milk 1/2 cup regular, light, or no-sugar-added ice cream 3/4 cup unsweetened cereal or 1/2 cup cooked cereal 1 cup berries 1/2 cup sugar-free pudding 1/2 cup corn, peas or mashed potatoes 1 small or 1/2 medium banana 3 gingersnap cookies 1/4 large or 1 small (3 ounces) baked potato 2 tablespoons raisins 5 vanilla wafers Continue reading >>

Carbohydrate Counting 101

Carbohydrate Counting 101

Carbohydrate Counting 101 There are several different ways people with diabetes can manage their food intake to keep their blood glucose (sugar) within their target range and one such method is 'carbohydrate counting'. Carbohydrate, or carb counting is a method of calculating grams of carbohydrate consumed at meals and snacks. Foods that contain carb have the greatest effect on blood glucose compared to foods that contain protein or fat. Before starting any new treatment or meal plan, you should always consult with your diabetes care professional. What are the benefits of counting carbs? ·Counting carbohydrates is a good solution for many people with diabetes. Once you learn how to count carbs, you’ll find it easier to fit a wide variety of foods into your meal plan, including combination foods such as those in frozen dinners. For example, by checking the grams of total carbohydrate on the Nutrition Facts label on a frozen dinner, you can figure out how to fit the dinner into your carb allotment for a particular meal. Many people find carb counting to be much easier than using a more traditional exchange meal plan. ·Another benefit of counting carbohydrates is that it can bring tighter control over your glucose readings. Being as precise as possible with your carb intake and medication will help you better manage your blood glucose after meals. ·Lastly, if you take mealtime insulin, counting carbohydrates allows you to decide how much carb you want to eat at a meal, rather than having to eat a certain amount of carbohydrates, even if you do not want to. Who can use carbohydrate counting? Carbohydrate counting can be used by anyone with diabetes, not just people taking insulin. This method is also useful for people who are using more intensive methods of adjusting i Continue reading >>

Carb Counting For Diabetes: Meal Planning To Manage Blood Sugar

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 >>

A Beginner’s Guide To Carbohydrate Counting

A Beginner’s Guide To Carbohydrate Counting

Pia has a Bachelors Degree in Clinical Nutrition from Cornell University and a Masters of Science in Nutrition from New York University. She completed a dietetic internship at the Bronx Veterans Medical Center in order to become a registered dietitian. Prior to joining BD, Pia educated people with diabetes about medical nutrition therapy in a private physicians office, an outpatient clinic at a hospital and a nursing home where she counseled patients one-on-one and in group classes. This slide show explains: • What foods contain carbohydrates • How much of these foods you can eat • Where to look up the carb content of foods Next slide This is not true! Carbohydrates (carbs) have the greatest effect on your blood sugar. 90 to 100 percent of the carbs you eat appear in your bloodstream as blood glucose within minutes to hours after you have eaten. You may be asked to count the carbs that you eat. The carbs you will need to count are both: • starches that break down slowly into sugar • simple sugars that break down into blood glucose almost right away Many people believe that a diabetes meal plan means that you just have to cut back on sugar. Previous slide Next slide Products made from grains, such as pasta, bread, rolls, bagels, crackers, cereals and baked goods Starches include certain vegetables, all grains, and products made from grains All of these foods contain starches: Starchy Vegetables Regular and sweet potatoes, corn, fresh peas and lima beans Legumes Dried beans and peas Grains Grains like wheat, oats, barley, and rice Sugars include the natural sugars in fruit and milk, plus certain sweeteners added to prepared foods and drinks Fruit and fruit juices Foods that contain fruit or fruit juices such as jams, jellies, and fruit smooth Continue reading >>

45 Top Carb-counting Tips

45 Top Carb-counting Tips

Tried-and-true tactics for fine-tuning your techniques and attitudes Carb counting sounds simple. After all, anyone who's passed third grade knows the basics of adding numbers. Unfortunately, counting carbohydrate grams isn't as easy as one, two, three. That's why Diabetes Forecast went to the experts for help. Who better to give tips on carb counting than the people who do it day in and day out? Read on for 45 tried-and-true carb-counting how-tos. "It's really important to work with your doctor," says Tammy Walker, 36, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago. "If you're newly diagnosed and your doctor doesn't have the experience, have your doctor refer you to a dietitian to teach you how to eat." "It's getting past that initial 'I can't do it,' " says Daniele Hargenrader, 31, who's had type 1 diabetes since she was 8. "The first days and weeks are the hardest. Anyone can change." Count total carbohydrate grams, not just the sugar grams listed on the food label, says David Frank, 41, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a year ago. A cereal may only have 1 gram of sugar, for instance, but 21 grams of carbohydrate. "You have to look at the carbohydrates because carbohydrates break down into sugar." "The only way you can really know what your blood sugar is doing is if you have a readout. You can't guess what your blood sugar is," says Hargenrader. "And you can't guess how many carbs you need if you don't check your blood sugar." Checking before a meal and about two hours after the first bite shows you how what you eat affects your blood glucose. Intensive insulin users may do this frequently; for others, it can be helpful to do so when starting new medication or making other treatment changes. "They start to remember things," says Gabrielle Brits, whose Continue reading >>

Carb Counting If You Have Diabetes: 8 Key Steps To Know

Carb Counting If You Have Diabetes: 8 Key Steps To Know

iStock/4kodiak Because carbohydrates raise blood sugar, managing your carbs is key to managing your diabetes. One way to do it is through carbohydrate counting. Knowing how many carbs you can have throughout the day—and following those guidelines consistently every day—will set your blood sugar levels on an even keel, make you feel more energized, and help you avoid complications of diabetes. Most of the foods you eat—from milk and fruit to breads and grains—contain carbohydrates. There’s no way to avoid them, and you wouldn’t want to. Carbs serve as the main fuel source for your body. The trick is to avoid eating too many carbs in one day or at one sitting. Here are some of the best carbs for diabetics. When you eat carbs, your body breaks the food down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream. That triggers your pancreas to release the hormone insulin, which helps move the glucose into your cells for energy. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin your body needs to help convert the food to energy. When you have diabetes, your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body can’t use the insulin to move the glucose into the cells. Starved cells make you feel tired and sluggish. And chronically high blood sugar levels boost the production of free radicals and lower your immunity, on top of other negative effects. The key, then, is to gain better control over your blood sugar levels by learning just how many carbohydrates you should eat throughout the day. Here’s what to do. 1. Determine your activity level factor This is based on your gender and your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories—and carbs—you can eat. If you’re a couch potato, rate yourself “sedentary.” If you exercise occasionally, r Continue reading >>

The Nuts And Bolts Of Carb Counting

The Nuts And Bolts Of Carb Counting

If you’re living with Type 1 diabetes, you might find that carbohydrate counting, or carb counting, is an effective way of managing your blood glucose levels – it means that your insulin dose can be individually matched to the amount of carbohydrate you eat and drink. Being aware of the amount of carbs in food and drinks is important for everyone with diabetes, but carb counting is particularly helpful for those on basal-bolus insulin regimen. This is when the person with diabetes (mostly Type 1 diabetes) injects insulin with each meal or uses an insulin pump. Although carb counting requires a great deal of time and effort, once mastered it can lead to better blood glucose control and greater flexibility in the times and amount of carbohydrate you eat. It doesn't mean total freedom to eat whatever you want in excess as this would be unhealthy for anyone, although special occasions and treats can be more easily incorporated and insulin adjusted to match. Carbohydrates can be counted in two ways, in grams or as carbohydrate portions (CP). One CP is usually equal to 10g of carbohydrate. It is important that you find the method that works best for you. Once you’ve got to grips with estimating the amount of carbohydrate you are going to eat and drink, the next key piece of information you need is your insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio. Insulin-to-carbohydrate ratios vary from person to person, so you will have your own personal ratio depending on your age, weight, activity levels and how sensitive you are to insulin. Your diabetes healthcare team will help you work it out and, eventually, you may even have a different insulin to carbohydrate ratio for each meal. They will usually estimate your starting insulin-to-carb ratio and subsequently fine-tune this based on your blo Continue reading >>

How To Count Carbs In 10 Common Foods

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 >>

Carbohydrate Counting & Diabetes

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 To Count Carbs

How To Count Carbs

By Terri D'Arrigo WebMD Feature When you have diabetes, it’s important to balance your carbs with your medication. Have too many carbs and not enough medication and your blood sugar can soar. Too few carbs and too much medication and it can crash. Neither is good. Counting the carbs you eat at each meal or snack can help you balance them with your medications and keep your blood sugar stable. How Many Carbs Should You Eat in Each Meal? 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 (RDA) 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 you’re going to eat once you know approximately how many carbs are in different foods. Using this method, you have a certain amount of “carb choices” 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 you’re 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 Continue reading >>

Carbohydrate Counting: A Practical Meal-planning Option For People With Diabetes

Carbohydrate Counting: A Practical Meal-planning Option For People With Diabetes

Lena has been overweight for a few years. She is 52 years old, and she found out that she has type 2 diabetes 1 year ago. She has been seeing a nurse at her physician's office for nutrition information, and the nurse has referred her to a registered dietitian (RD) in the outpatient clinic at the nearby hospital. Lena brings her food records to her initial visit with the RD. The RD reviews the records, which consist only of Lena's food choices with no portion sizes or amounts consumed listed. The RD recommends that Lena consider weighing and measuring her portion sizes and writing them down along with her food choices. The RD provides Lena with a copy of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) basic carbohydrate counting pamphlet1 and uses food models to demonstrate appropriate portions of the foods Lena might select. During the ensuing 3-month period, Lena works with a carbohydrate budget for each meal, uses the basic carbohydrate counting pamphlet, and pays attention to her portion sizes. She loses some weight, improves her glycemic control, and becomes more motivated to continue. Gino, age 35 years, has had type 1 diabetes for 3 years and enjoys his ethnic Italian food. He consumes carbohydrate foods at all meals and also at bed-time. He has started using an insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio to match his insulin to the amount of carbohydrate he consumes, and he finds this helpful. But he is concerned because his postprandial glucose (PPG) levels are not within the target range. He expresses his concern to his doctor and is referred to an RD for a consultation. A nutrition assessment indicates that Gino has tried to reduce his carbohydrate intake and increase his protein intake in order to get his PPG levels into the target range. The RD revisits the basic carbohydrate cou Continue reading >>

Carbohydrate-counting Chart For People With Diabetes

Carbohydrate-counting Chart For People With Diabetes

Carbohydrate-Counting Chart for People with Diabetes Carbohydrates are your bodys main energy source. During digestion, sugar (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood sugar (glucose). If you consume too much carbohydrate-rich food at one time, your blood sugar levels may rise too high, which can be problematic. Monitoring your carbohydrate intake is a key to blood sugar control, as outlined in a plan by your doctor or dietitian. Carbohydrates are found in lots of different foods. But the healthiest carbohydrate choices include whole grains , vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, and low-fat dairy products. The chart below shows a single serving of carbohydrate-containing foods, which equals 15 grams: For more information about eating with Type 2 diabetes, click here . For more specific information or help, talk to your health care provider. The American Diabetes Association's National Call Center also offers live advice from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday at 1-800-DIABETES or 1-800-342-2383. This article has been reviewed and approved by Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. Super article...now if only there were a simple diabetic exchange counter we could use easily here. I dont want to leave SparkPeople, but I also dont want to have to track in two separate places. I know, I know; its all just tracking. But I was just given a diabetic-type exchange chart and I cant stand the thought of having to flip back and forth between chart and logging in foods here. Why hasnt this been done already? (Not expecting an answer here, I know. I will be copying and mailing emailing this to the friendly folks at SparkPeople for feedback.) Continue reading >>

What Is Carb Counting?

What Is Carb Counting?

By the dLife Editors Carbohydrate counting is a method of meal planning that involves calculating the amount of carbs you eat at each meal and snack. Keeping track of your daily carbs can help you keep your blood sugar in your target range. That’s because carbs—which include sugars, starches, and fiber—affect your blood sugar more than protein or fat. Your body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream, raising your blood sugar levels. Balancing your carb intake with physical activity (and diabetes medications, if you take any) can help keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible, which lowers your risk of diabetes-related complications. Simply counting the grams of carbs in the food you eat is the most popular and accurate method of carbohydrate counting. Older methods of keeping track of your carb intake include: The carb choice system. One “carb choice” is about 15 grams of carbs. Examples of foods that contain about 15 grams of carbs include one slice of bread; 1/3 cup of pasta or rice; 1 small fresh whole fruit; and 1/2 cup of starchy vegetables. A food with 30 grams of carbs would be considered two carb choices. The dietary exchange lists system. Each exchange list groups together foods that contain approximately the same amount of carbs, protein, fat, and calories—and therefore have about the same effect on your blood sugar. Any item on a specific food list can be exchanged with any other item on that list. For example, you could have 1/2 cup of beans or 1/3 cup of cooked pasta for your starch choice. The amount of carbs you should eat a day depends upon a variety of factors, including your age, weight, level of physical activity, medications, and blood sugar targets. Tips for Counting Carbs The first step in carb c Continue reading >>

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