Why is carbohydrate counting becoming more popular?
Carbohydrate counting is a method of planning meals to ensure the amount of carbohydrates consumed at every meal, every day, is constantly the same so that blood sugar control is generally better. This method has gained popularity ever since 1994 when the ADA (American Diabetes Association) altered its recommendations on food. With scientific proof showing that sugar is the same as carbohydrates when it comes to affecting levels of blood sugar and that no particular meal plan brings the same effect to every person, the ADA issued new advisory information which no longer discourage sugary foods to give greater attention to limiting carbohydrate consumption and have meal plans suitable for just a particular individual.
The diabetics who were given intensive insulin treatment with the use of insulin pumps or many insulin injections each day were the first to practice carbohydrate counting. It helps them to calculate the amount of insulin necessary to work on the quantity of carbohydrates consumed at a particular meal. Today, even more diabetics who do not need insulin are doing carbohydrate counting as it assist them to control blood glucose levels.
It’s the carbohydrates which causes blood sugar levels to rise
Any noticeable increase in levels of blood sugar after a meal is due to the carbohydrates consumed, and is not caused by the protein or fat eaten. The level of increase is dependent upon the percentage of carbohydrates found in the foods taken, the amount of those foods containing the carbohydrates, and the quantity of insulin in the bloodstream. Consuming the same quantity of carbohydrate for lunch or dinner as well as snacks each day can assist a diabetic to have his levels of blood sugar constantly inside his target range and notice any abnormal movements of lows or highs.
The Complete Guide to Carb Counting -Video Guide
How much carbohydrate to eat?
A professional dietitian can assist you to find out how much carbohydrates you ought to have each time you eat by evaluating the total caloric requirements and observe how your body reacts to the food consumed by looking at the movement of your blood sugar levels. That is why keeping a record, to show the foods as well as the amount eaten, the type of medicines you use, your physical activity, and the levels of blood sugar for the whole day, is important as it will assist your dietitian to make changes to improve your meal plan. When your dietitian has helped you to know how much carbohydrates should be eaten at each meal, you are permitted to pick your preferred foods and the amount of the food at every meal to be same as the targeted amount of carbohydrates.
For instance, suppose you are permitted to consume carbohydrates amounting to 60 grams for a particular meal, it is possible for you to have several foods, such as
- Orange juice - ½ a cup (carbohydrate content 15 grams)
- A scrambled egg (about 1 gram of carbohydrate)
- Toast - 2 slices (30 grams carbohydrate), with jelly - 1 tbsp (15 grams carbohydrate)
- Shredded wheat - ½ cup (15 grams of carbohydrate)
- Skimmed milk - a cup (15 grams carbohydrate)
- 2-ounce bagel (30 grams of carbohydrates)
- Cream cheese (no carbohydrate content)
The given two meals have different amounts of protein, fat, and calorie content. However, since each of them have the same amount of carbohydrate, both should have the same effect on the levels of blood sugar and so need the same quantity of insulin
Beware of poor nutrition
Although you can replace a food with carbohydrate content with another and gives you the opportunity to eat your delightful sweets in practicing carbohydrate counting, you ought to realize that you can be moving towards less nutritious food. A good variety of foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables together with reduced-fat dairy items as well as fish is important to a healthy diet.
Ways to calculate with accuracy
In carbohydrate counting, accuracy in getting the size of the portions right is essential to success. A four ounce bagel or a bigger potato cannot have the same amount of carbohydrates as a two ounce bagel or a smaller potato and a wrong estimate can give different blood glucose results later. There is food which is proportioned, like a slice of bread, with carbohydrate amount printed on the label, and this helps to make carbohydrate counting easier. To calculate accurately certain foods so as to obtain the right portion needed, you may have to resort to a food scale, measuring spoons, or measuring cups.
From exchange system to carbohydrate counting
If you are using the exchange system at present, it is easy for you to change to carbohydrate counting by knowing the amount of carbohydrates in every exchange in the meal plan you are using. There are carbohydrates amounting to 15 grams in an exchange of each starch or fruit; carbohydrates amounting to 12 grams in an exchange of milk; carbohydrates amounting to 5 grams in an exchange of each vegetable; and no carbohydrate content in an exchange of a fat or meat.