Our bodies use food for fuel. The three food sources of fuel are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Our bodies change these fuels into glucose for energy or store them as fat.
Eating a balance of foods that contain carbohydrates, protein, and fat every day will help keep your blood glucose close to normal. It may also keep your weight where you and your doctor want it to be.
Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for our bodies. Many foods contain carbohydrates. Some are better for you than others.
If you eat too many carbohydrates at one time, your blood glucose may get too high.
By counting carbohydrates, you can learn to eat the right amount at meals and snack times and keep your blood glucose in balance.
The Relationship Between Carbohydrates & Blood Sugar
The digestive system converts most digestible carbohydrates into glucose (also known as blood sugar).
Cells are designed to use this glucose as a universal energy source.
As blood sugar levels rise in a nondiabetic individual, beta cells in the pancreas churn out more and more insulin, a hormone that signals cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage.
Why Should I Count Carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the main nutrient that affects blood sugars.
Don’t avoid them.
The key is keeping the amount consistent by watching your portion size. The concern with diabetes is that too many carbs in one sitting can lead to high blood sugars and cause complications down the road.
Changes in carb intake can lead to high and low blood sugars and is discouraged.
Why Use Carbohydrate Counting?
• It is easier to learn than Exchanges or the Point System.
• It offers more variety in choices.
• It provides a more accurate guess of how blood sugar will rise after a meal or snack.
• Carbohydrate information on food labels makes meal planning easier.
• You can swap an occasional high sugar food (even though it may contain fewer nutrients) for other carbohydrate-containing foods.
• More flexible than other meal-planning methods.
• Sugar is not forbidden!
• Focuses attention on the foods that are most likely to make blood glucose levels go up.
What Are The Benefits Of Counting Carbohydrates?
Counting carbohydrates is a good solution for many people with diabetes. Once you learn how to convert grams into their equivalent amount of carbohydrates, it is easier to incorporate a wider array of foods into your meal plan, including combination foods such as those in frozen dinners.
For example, by consulting the Nutrition Facts on a frozen dinner, you can easily calculate the number of carbohydrates in the meal, rather than trying to calculate how that particular food fits into the 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 likely will allow you to regulate blood glucose after a meal.
Lastly, counting carbohydrates may also allow you to adjust the amounts of carbohydrates you eat at each meal, rather than feeling like you have to eat a certain amount of carbohydrates, even if you do not want to.
How Many Carbohydrates Should I Eat?
The amount varies according to:
• Your current weight
• Your height
• When and how much exercise you do
• What medications you are taking
• Your desired weight
• Your age
• Other medical conditions
• Various laboratory levels such as cholesterol and tests measuring kidney function
The suggested minimum amount of carbohydrates for adults is 130 grams per day.
This provides a minimal amount of carbohydrate for various organs in the body such as:
• The central nervous system-for brain function, and
• Skeletal muscles-for movement) that prefer to burn carbohydrate as an energy source.
So the answer to the question; how many carbohydrates should I eat? However many your healthcare provider tells you should.
What Foods Contain Carbohydrates?
• Breads, cereals, pasta, and grains
• Rice, beans, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas)
• Fruit and fruit juices
• Milk and yogurt
• Regular soda, fruit drinks, jelly beans, and gum drops
• Cakes, cookies, and chocolate candy
What Foods Do Not Contain Carbohydrates
Wow, tellmeaboutdiabetes, that was a wonderful reply. Couldn't have expressed it better myself.
Counting carbs is very important. I have what is called Metabolic Syndrome, that if left untreated will eventually turn into Diabetes. I did something about it by going on a diet, restricting my carb intake and last year I lost 60lbs. and regained control of my blood sugar. Recently, I went off the "wagon" and started eating a lot of sugar. I regained 15lbs. and my blood sugar started it's up and down routine, getting me high when it spiked and putting me to sleep when it plunged. My blood pressure also went up. I'm back on the diet now and lost the weight I had regained. I will never go off the diet again, as I see now how important it is.
Also, checking your blood sugar before and about a half hour after meals will reveal how certain foods will affect you and will give a clearer picture of what you can and cannot eat.