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Diabetes can be a nasty disease. Constant monitoring is needed, it can cause heart disease, vision loss, poor circulation with possible amputation of limbs, and more. In short, it’s nothing to waste time on.

Our bodies need energy and carbohydrates are the fuel that creates the energy our bodies run on. Control your carbohydrates and you can control your diabetes. That’s why diabetics have to watch portion sizes, meal frequency, and count calories.

So what are carbs anyway? Carbohydrates or (carbs) are glucose. Sugar, starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, grain-based foods like bread and cereal are “high” carbohydrate foods. Dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and many beverages can contain carbohydrates. (Just as a side note, it used to be thought that sugar and glucose were the only way to bring diabetics out of diabetic shock when they passed out… Now it has been discovered that “Milk”, the peanut butter added to glucose tablets put enough sugar into the bloodstream to herald diabetic shock).

After eating any type of carbohydrate, it is broken down into glucose and enters the bloodstream. Protein and fat won’t have as big an impact on blood sugar as carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate counting is to more consistently control the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream to stabilize blood sugar levels. Everyone starts with basic carb counting, no matter how long they’ve had diabetes or what their ultimate carb counting goal is.

Simple Carb Counting

Try to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time every day. For example, if you eat 4 carb choices, or 60 grams of carbs, for breakfast, you should eat that amount for breakfast every day.

By keeping carbohydrate intake constant, we can keep blood sugar levels in check. That doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing at every meal every day. Vary your food selection, but keep the same amount of carbohydrates as the day before.

two ways to count

Carbohydrates can be counted in two ways: by grams or by choices. When working with carb options, remember: 1 carb option = 15 grams of carbs.

How many carbohydrates should I consume?

Each person’s carbohydrate needs vary based on factors such as height, weight, age, activity levels, and medication. The following is a GUIDELINE, about a general guideline!:
3 to 4 choices per meal (45 to 60 grams) for women
4 to 5 choices per meal (60 to 75 grams) for men
1 to 2 options per snack (15 to 30 grams)
If you need help determining your carbohydrate needs, consult a dietitian.

Read the nutritional information, they are there for a reason.

The Nutrition Facts label on food packaging tells you what you need to count carbohydrates. Look at the SERVING SIZE and TOTAL CARBOHYDRATES (in grams):

Serving size is based on one serving, not the entire package. Multiply the number of servings by the total grams of carbohydrates and you know how many carbohydrates you are eating. Sugar is included in total carbohydrates. All carbohydrates raise blood glucose in a similar way.

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