Counting carbohydrates is a meal planning tool used commonly by those with type I or type II diabetes. Counting carbs is simply keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates that are ingested in foods that are eaten every day. Carbohydrates are commonly found in a number of foods and because they contain starch, fiber and sugar, it is imperative that the amount of carbohydrates eaten are watched carefully by those with diabetes. Counting carbs is often done by using a carb chart for diabetics to ensure that they are not eating an excess of foods containing these sugars and starches in order to control blood sugar.
There are healthy carbohydrates, typically found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, that are an important part of a healthy diet. These foods provide vitamins and minerals that are important for overall good health. Fiber is often found in whole wheat, vegetables and fruits and helps to control weight, lower cholesterol and offers a number of other benefits. Although these are healthy carbohydrates, they still need to be added to the carb chart for diabetics, as the total amount of carbohydrates eaten each day has an overall effect on blood sugar levels.
Unhealthy carbohydrates are those that are loaded with excess amounts of sugar. These provide energy but typically have few if any nutrients or benefits. Unhealthy carbohydrates include soft drinks, sugary cereals, white bread, rolls, and other foods that are normally excluded from healthy eating lists. While these foods can be consumed, even by diabetics, it is important that they are only eaten minimally and they should always be included in the carb chart for diabetics.
In order to keep an accurate carb chart for diabetics, each carbohydrate must be counted. Carbs are counted in grams and packaged foods typically give the number of grams of carbs per serving. Fruits and vegetables and other foods that are not pre-packaged have a set number of carbs that should also be counted. Diabetics should learn which foods contain carbs and learn how to estimate the number of carb grams in a serving. When charting, which should be done after every meal and snack, simply count up the number of carbs in the foods that are eaten and add them to the carb chart for diabetics.
Good Food Choices For Carb Counting:
If you are keeping a carb chart for diabetics, you should learn the foods that are best, which means those that have little to no carbohydrates. These are going to be healthier, not just for diabetics but for anyone who is counting carbs to lower cholesterol, lose weight or experience other benefits of lowering carbohydrate consumption. There are a number of vegetables that are low in carbs, which include broccoli, celery, lettuce, asparagus, green beans, and various salad greens. Many types of meat, fish and poultry do not contain carbs. It is important to note that pre-packaged meats, such as those that are meal ready like pot pies and casseroles, may contain a lot of carbs. When preparing meats for lower carbohydrate consumption, it is best to use raw meats and create meals from scratch. Doctors can offer good eating plans that contain healthier foods and those that are lower in carbs and there are a number of websites that offer recipes for diabetics that can be very helpful.
Why Is A Carb Chart For Diabetics Important?
When you ingest foods that have carbohydrates, those carbs are broken down. Your digestive system breaks down the starch and sugar and turn them into glucose. This is one of the simplest forms of sugar. This glucose will then enter your bloodstream and raise your blood glucose level. Insulin helps the body to absorb the glucose and turn it into energy. Once glucose is used up, the blood glucose level goes down once again.
Why Do You Need To Count Carbohydrates?
You can use a carb chart for diabetics to help control your blood glucose level and keep it close to normal. This is essential for diabetics in order to avoid blood sugar levels that are too high or in some cases, too low. For those without diabetes, controlling the number of carbohydrates that are ingested every day can help to avoid this disease. For those with diabetes, carb counting can help to prevent kidney disease, blindness, blood vessel disease and many other health issues.
How Much Carbs Do You Need?
The number of carbohydrates for those with diabetes has not yet been defined. Simply put, each person is different and what may be best for one may not be best for another. In order to know for certain how much carbohydrates you need if you have diabetes, it is best to check with your doctor. Generally speaking, experts suggest that the average intake should be somewhere between 45 to 65 percent of the total daily calories. So, those who are avoiding carbs are obviously going to want to keep that number toward the lower end of the spectrum. You should understand that just one gram of carbohydrate has about four calories so to get the right number, you need to divide the number of total calories that you want to get from your carbs by four. This gives you the total number of grams that you should aim for every day. For instance, if you are eating 1800 calories every day, and you want only 45 percent of your calories to come from carbs, then you will multiple 45 percent by your 1800 total calories to get 810 calories. When you divide that by the four calories per gram of carbohydrate, you get 202.5 carb grams that you can safely eat throughout the day and keep within your limit. Remember that it is crucial that you keep track of this on your carb chart for diabetics to make sure that you do not inadvertently forget to add carbs that you may have eaten.
Checking the Blood Glucose Level:
If you are diabetic, it is imperative that you keep track of your blood glucose level throughout the day. This will always help you to know whether or not your carbohydrate counting is working to help keep it low. It is also advisable for those with diabetes to have an A1C blood test performed at least two times each year. This test gives you an accurate reading of the average amount of glucose that has been in your blood over the past three months. If those levels are too high then you can do other things, aside from charting your carbohydrates, in order to regulate your blood sugar level.