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Why Is Carbohydrate Counting Important To A Person With Diabetes?

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 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 >>

Counting Carbohydrates

Counting Carbohydrates

To best control your blood sugar: Do not skip meals. Counting calories might be something you’ve already done at one time or another in your life. Counting carbohydrates may be something new to you. So why is counting carbohydrates so important when you have diabetes? Counting carbohydrates: Keeps you in control of your blood sugar Keeps you in balance with with your medication or insulin dose Keeps you in control of food portions to manage your body weight How much carbohydrate do I need each day? Carbohydrates are measured in units called grams. Grams are a measure of weight. The total grams or amount of carbohydrate you need each day depends on your calorie goals, activity level and personal preferences. Carbohydrates generally provide 45-65% of your daily calories. For most people with type 1 diabetes, this ranges from 150-250 grams of carbohydrate a day. How you distribute this carbohydrate throughout the day can also make a difference in your blood sugar. To best control your blood sugar: Eat three meals a day, roughly 4-6 hours apart. Do not skip meals. Try to consistently eat the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. Your registered dietitian can help you choose a carbohydrate goal and daily meal plan that keeps your food, medication and physical activity in mind. How much carbohydrate is found in the foods I eat? There are many resources you can use to count carbohydrates: The American Diabetes Association Exchange Lists for Meal Planning: Choose Your Foods lists grams of carbohydrate per exchange serving size. In this system, one carbohydrate exchange serving equals 15 grams of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate counting and food composition books are available. These resources can also be found online. Some cookbooks are available that provide nutrition informa 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 >>

Treatment Of Diabetes: The Diabetic Diet

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 >>

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 >>

Carbohydrate Counting And Diabetes

Carbohydrate Counting And Diabetes

Foods that contain carbohydrate are an important source of fuel for your body. Glucose is used by the body’s cell for energy. This makes the amount of carbohydrates you ingest an important consideration. Carbohydrate counting can help you manage your diabetes. Read more in our carbohydrate counting and diabetes factsheet. 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 >>

Diabetes: Counting Carbs If You Use Insulin

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 >>

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 >>

Counting Carbohydrates Like A Pro

Counting Carbohydrates Like A Pro

Practical Tips for Accurate Counts Let’s get this straight: There is no such thing as a “pro” when it comes to carbohydrate counting. There is no master’s degree or PhD in Carbohydrate Science at any major university, nor is there a course focusing on counting carbohydrates in any dietetics or nutrition science program. And I’ve yet to meet anyone at a circus or carnival who, for a mere dollar, will “guess the carbohydrates” in your favorite food item, lest you win a valuable prize. So why would anyone with diabetes want to count carbohydrates “like a pro”? Simple. When it comes to keeping blood glucose levels in control, carbohydrate counting works better than any other system. Better than counting calories. Better than avoiding sugar. And certainly better (and simpler) than the exchange system. Carbohydrate is what raises blood glucose level abruptly after meals. Not fat or protein or vitamins or minerals. Just carbohydrate. Counting and managing the amount of carbohydrate in your diet has important benefits. If you take multiple daily injections of insulin or use an insulin pump, carbohydrate counting allows you to match doses of mealtime rapid-acting insulin to the foods you eat. This allows for almost unlimited dietary flexibility and helps to prevent post-meal highs and lows. If you control your diabetes with diet and exercise, pills, or just one or two insulin injections a day, you can also use carbohydrate counting to improve your control. Researchers at the University of Texas School of Allied Health Sciences in Galveston found that consistent carbohydrate intake (eating the same amount of carbohydrate at the same meals every day) in people with Type 2 diabetes leads to improvements in blood glucose control, whether or not a person also loses 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 >>

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: Why And How

Carb Counting: Why And How

Why Count Carbs? After you eat food that contains carbohydrate, it breaks down into glucose and enters the bloodstream. This is why your blood glucose, or blood sugar, rises after eating most sources of carbohydrate. Carb counting helps to consistently control the amount of glucose going into the bloodstream at one meal. People with type 2 diabetes who don’t take rapid-acting insulin before meals can use what’s called basic carb counting. People with type 1 diabetes and those with type 2 who take insulin before meals will likely want to learn to use what’s called advanced carb counting. However, everyone should start with the basics of carb counting no matter how long they've had diabetes or what their ultimate carb counting goal is. What Foods Contain Carbs? There are healthier sources of carbohydrate and less healthy sources. Foods that contain nutrient-dense carbs are an important part of healthy eating and should not be avoided completely. Carbs provide energy and nutrients you need. The calories in these foods and food groups are mainly from carbohydrate. Some contain varying amounts of protein and fat. • Starches: bread, cereal, pasta, whole grains • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, corn, legumes • Fruit and fruit juice • Nonstarchy vegetables: green beans, tomatoes, lettuce • Milk, yogurt • Sugary foods: regular soda, gumdrops • Sweets: ice cream, chocolate candy Basic Carb Counting With basic carb counting, the goal is to eat similar amounts of carbohydrate at the same time each day. For example, if you eat 40 grams of carb for breakfast, you should eat that amount at breakfast every day. Keeping carbohydrate intake consistent helps keep blood sugar under control. This doesn't mean you have to eat the same thing at every meal every day. You can Continue reading >>

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