We must go to a specialist to make us a personalized study based on our characteristics, as well as our lifestyle and the possible medication that we take.
“Carbohydrate counting is a technique that has been shown to be efficient in the management of blood glucose levels”.
This measure is an important part of the life of people with diabetes who seek better control of their disease. Although most foods contain carbohydrates, they do not all have the same amount. Learning to count the carbohydrates that each food gives us can make a big difference in our state of health.
How Many Carbohydrates to Eat?
To perform the correct carbohydrate count, we must first ask the endocrinologist to perform the corresponding calculation. This calculation cannot be carried out ourselves because several factors must be taken into account:
- Medications that the patient is taking.
- Physical characteristics of the patient (weight, BMI, etc.).
- Physical activity and lifestyle that the person carries.
Usually, the carbohydrate count for a diabetic person who has controlled their disease and leads a healthy life is between 45 and 60 grams per meal.
Food and its Carbohydrate Count
Most foods contain a part of carbohydrates. The foods with the greatest amount are:
- Refined foods, bread, cereal, rice, cookies, etc.
- Fruit and juices
- Milk and its derivatives.
- Vegetables with high starch content: potatoes, corn, etc.
- Sweets and foods rich in sugar: cakes, packaged juices, sweets, soft drinks, etc.
These foods contain high levels of carbohydrates and most should be avoided or restricted in the diet of those living with diabetes. For practical purposes it has been determined that the amount of carbohydrates contained in each food ration is:
- Cereals: 15 grams (½ cup of precooked rice, ½ potato, etc).
- Dairy: 12 grams (1 cup of skim milk, 1 cup of low-fat yogurt, etc.).
- Greases: 0 grams.
- Fruits: 15 grams (1 cup of watermelon, 2 guavas, etc.).
- Vegetables: 4 grams (1 cup of lettuce, ½ cup of spinach, etc.).
- Meats: 0 grams.
- Legumes: 20 carbohydrates (½ cup of cooked beans, ½ cup of cooked beans, etc.).
If you have doubts with the measures corresponding to a portion you must go to your nutritionist to advise you.
The Importance of Reading Labels
Carbohydrate counting is easier to do when we consume products that are labeled with nutritional information. These are an excellent tool to know with certainty the amount of carbohydrates we are eating and also allow us to better plan what we eat. There are five aspects that we must take into account:
- Serving size: This information tells us the exact amount of the product that represents an individual portion. In addition, many of the products we consume bring several servings in a package, even those that seem very small. When we do not take into account the size of the portions we may be eating too much without realizing it. Remember, also, that if you eat the total content, you must multiply the number of total servings by the total carbohydrates.
- Total carbohydrates If you have read the labels of the food you will already know that they indicate several nutritional aspects. Thus, to count the carbohydrates you must take into account the data indicated as total.
- Calories if you are also looking to lose weight, then you should check the total calories per serving.
- Saturated and Trans fats. You should also choose the products that contain the lowest amount of saturated and Trans fat possible. Ideally, they should not have anything, but if there are product characteristics, at least try to minimize them.
- People who suffer high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake, so you should avoid products with high levels of this ingredient.
Take a Balanced Diet
Although only truly natural products are totally healthy, canned or packaged products can also help us have a better life. Thus, it is important that you try to look for foods that have a good balance between the amount of carbohydrates, calories, saturated and Tran’s fats and sodium. You should also seek the advice of a specialist (dietitian or nutritionist).
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