Carb Counting to Manage Your Blood Glucose Levels
How many carbohydrates, protein, and fat do you eat on a regular basis? How do they affect your blood sugar levels? These are questions everyone should be able to answer but are especially important for someone previously diagnosed with diabetes. The foods you consume have an impact on your glucose levels. Generally, foods containing protein and fats have less of an effect on your blood glucose than carbohydrates, but could also be a factor.
Let’s talk about “carbs”
Counting carbs is one of the many ways to manage blood glucose levels. According to the American Diabetes Associate, “carb counting” may give you more choices and flexibility when planning meals. Understanding terminologies and finding the right amount of carbs for you may seem complex, but with time you will be able to figure out the right balance.
The carb umbrella is huge! You will hear terms like starches, sugar, fibers, naturally occurring sugar, added sugar, low-calorie sweeteners, sugar alcohols, reduced-calorie sweeteners, processed grains, enriched grains, complex carbohydrate, sweets, refined grains and whole grains. It can be very hard to keep track of all the carbs you can or can’t eat and the effects they have on your body.
Which foods contain carbs:
- Grains (i.e. rice, oatmeal, barley)
- Grain-based food (i.e. bread, cereal, crackers, pasta)
- Starchy vegetables (i.e. potatoes, peas, corn)
- Dairy Products (i.e. milk, yogurt)
- Beans (i.e. pinto beans, soybeans)
- Sweats and snack food (i.e. sodas, cakes, cookies, juice drinks, chips)
The amount of carbs consumed is also very important. Noticing and keeping track of the food labels can make carb counting a whole lot easier.
What to look for in a food label:
- Serving size: Note how many servings are in each container or package. If you will be eating more than 1 serving size, remember to multiply the numbers accordingly.
- Grams of total carbohydrates: This includes the main categories of carbohydrates which are sugar, starch, and fiber.
A diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming and finding the ideal carbohydrate balance may take some time. Just remember that you are not alone! You and your diabetes care team will get through the challenges.
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