Calculating carbohydrates-keeping track of the carbohydrates in each of your meals, snacks, and drinks-can help you match activity levels and medications to the food you eat. Many diabetics simplify blood sugar management by counting carbohydrates, which can also help them:
- Stay healthy longer.
- Feel better and improve their quality of life.
- Prevent or delay the complications of diabetes, such as kidney disease, eye disease, heart disease and stroke.
If you take insulin with a meal, the carbohydrate content will be calculated so that your insulin dose matches the carbohydrate content in food and beverages. If your blood sugar is higher than your target level when you eat, you may also take extra insulin.
What are the different types of carbohydrates?There are 3 types of carbohydrates:
- Sugars, such as natural sugars in fruits and milk or sodas, and sugars added to many other packaged foods.
- Starches, including wheat, oats, and other grains; starchy vegetables, such as corn and potatoes; and dried beans, lentils, and peas.
- Fiber, a plant-based food that is not digested but helps you stay healthy.
Sugar and starch will increase blood sugar, while fiber will not.
How are carbohydrates measured?
Carbohydrates are measured in grams. On packaged foods, you can find the total carbohydrate grams on the nutrition profile label.
For a diabetic meal plan, 1 serving of carbohydrate contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate. This is not always the same as the food you think. For example, most people will treat small pieces of baked potatoes as 1 serving. However, about 30 grams of carbohydrates, it counts as 2 servings of carbohydrates.
How many carbohydrates should I eat?
There is no "one size fits all" answer. Everyone is different, because everyone's body is different. The amount you can eat and stay within the target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level and other factors.
On average, the goal for people with diabetes should be to get about half of their calories from carbohydrates. This means that if you usually consume about 1,800 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight, there are about 800 to 900 calories in carbohydrates. Based on 4 calories per gram, 200-225 carbohydrates are needed a day. Try to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates in each meal to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day (if you use an insulin pump or multiple injections per day, you don’t have to do this-you need to supplement insulin with fast-acting or fast-acting meals to match The amount of carbohydrates you eat).
This sample menu contains about 1,800 calories and 200 grams of carbohydrates:
½ cup oatmeal (28 g)
1 cup low-fat milk (13 g)
2/3 medium banana (20 g)
¼ cup chopped walnuts (4 g)
Total carbohydrates: 65 g
2 slices of whole wheat bread ( 24 g)
4 oz. Low-sodium turkey meat (1g)
1 slice of low-fat Swiss cheese (1g)
½ large tomato (3g)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard sauce (1g)
¼ cup shredded lettuce (0g)
8 small carrots (7g)
6 Ounces of plain fat-free Greek yogurt (7 grams)
¾ cup of blueberries (15 grams)
Total carbohydrates: 59 grams
6 ounces of grilled chicken breast (0 grams)
1 cup of brown rice (45 grams)
1 cup of steamed broccoli (12 grams)
2 TBS margarine (0g)
total carbohydrate: 57g
1 low-fat cheese stick (1g)
2 oranges (18g)
total carbohydrate: 19g