A healthy diet consists a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins and these nutrients play an important role in our lives.
Some people watch their diet so as to stay fit and look good, for those struggling with diabetes, if they want to survive they have no choice than to watch their diet and keep track of their calorie intake by carbohydrate counting.
According to Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, People living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should aim to get 45% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, so what is carbohydrate counting?
Carbohydrate counting is a way of controlling the blood sugar level and is used in managing diabetes. When a person keeps count of his carb intake, he get to know how much sugar and starch is in the food and is able to plan the best way to eat for a steady blood sugar level throughout the day.
Types of Carbohydrates
There are three main types of carbohydrates ;
2. starch and
- Sugar belongs to the simple carbohydrates category. A simple carbs may have one sugar molecule or two sugar molecules.
- Starches and fiber are both of complex carbohydrates. They have at least three sugar molecules found in them.
Under this major categories, we have several examples of carbohydrate sources.
- Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas
- Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, corn
- Non Starchy vegetables: All other vegetables (e.g., green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale, beets, etc.)
- Fruit: All kinds
- Dairy products: Milk, yogurt
- Sugary beverages: Regular soda, fruit juice
- Sweets: Ice cream, candy, baked goods
How to count your carbs.
As someone struggling with diabetes, it’s important to know the amount of carbs, protein, and fat you can eat throughout the day which would help keep your blood sugar levels steady.
For meals:45-60 grams of carbs per meal
For snacks :15-20 grams per snack.
However the number may go up or down, depending on how active you are and your prescribed medicines.
Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help figure out how to balance carb intake with your medications, insulin, exercise routine so as to regulate your carb intake.
It’s important to pair carbohydrates with protein and fat to slow digestion, prevent a blood sugar spike and keep you feeling fuller longer.
The type of diabetes one has may require different counting of your carbs.
- For Type 1 Diabetes: It means that your body cannot make insulin anymore and you would need to take your insulin whenever you have carbs to offset them.
Carb counting lets you know how much insulin is required and at what time.
- For Type 2 diabetes . You cannot produce insulin with this type of diabetes and you are also resistant to insulin.
This means that you need to be highly mindful of how many carbs you consume and be disciplined enough to consume the same amount throughout the day.
Since you aren’t using insulin in the same way as Type 1, you may not have to count your carbs,instead you can do a more traditional version of carb counting to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day.
What are some high carbohydrate foods that you should avoid if you are diabetic?
High carbs food to AVOID or LIMIT as a diabetic person
- Breads, muffins, rolls, and bagels
- Pasta, rice, corn, and other grains
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and taro
- Milk and sweetened yogurt
- Most fruit, except berries
- Cakes, cookies, pies, ice cream, and other sweets
- Snack foods like pretzels, chips, and popcorn
- Juice, soda, sweetened iced tea, and other sugar-sweetened drinks
- Beer, wine, and spirits
Keep in mind that not all of these foods are unhealthy.
For example, fruits are highly nutritious, but eating large amounts isn’t optimal for anyone trying to manage their blood sugar levels by eating fewer carbs.
In conclusion, your diet plays a vital role in coping with diabetes and though it would be difficult at first, it is possible to remain quite healthy while diabetic.
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