Additional Resources to Help You .……………………………………………...30
The eating regimen for someone with diabetes is a healthy way of eating from which the entire family can benefit. This handbook will provide you with the basic survival skills to count carbohydrates while eating a healthy diet.
Why Count Carbohydrates???
Food is made up of many different nutrients:
Vitamins and minerals
Our bodies need a little bit of each of these nutrients. But, when someone has diabetes they need to pay close attention to the amount of carbohydrate that they consume. Carbohydrate is the nutrient that breaks down to sugar in our bodies as we digest it. Our bodies use carbohydrate for energy. In order to utilize that energy, however, insulin must be available to carry sugar (glucose) into cells. Because people with diabetes have impaired insulin production and/or utilization, sugar can build up in their blood, causing hyperglycemia, if they take in too much carbohydrate at one time. This is why it is very important to count the grams of carbohydrate in the foods that you eat. It will allow you to control your diabetes better by eating the correct amount of carbohydrates for the amount of insulin that your doctor prescribes. Carbohydrates and insulin are a balancing act.
Healthy Eating Guidelines
Guidelines for meal planning:
Eat a variety of foods to make sure your diet is well balanced.
Limit intake of sweets, fats, and salt to make your diet healthier.
Increase intake of fiber.
Eat meals and snacks at the same time each day.
Eat the same amount of carbohydrates at meals and snacks.
Is this food a carbohydrate, protein, or fat?
Now that you will be counting carbohydrates, you will need to determine if the food that you are eating contains carbohydrates. If any food contains more than 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving you will need to include it in your meal plan. Foods can be a combination of “carbohydrate, protein, and/or fat”. You can use the food guide pyramid to help you determine if a food is a carbohydrate, protein, or fat, or a combination.
There are two steps to follow when reading food labels to count carbohydrates:
Look at the serving size for the food. This is located at the top of the label.
Look at the total carbohydrate amount. This is located towards the middle of the label.
These two parts of the label tell you what you need to know. The amount of total carbohydrates listed is for the particular serving size listed. Also keep the following information in mind when reading food labels:
“Sugars” reflect both added sugars and those that naturally occur in foods. It is important to look at the total amount of carbohydrate rather than the source.
If sugar alcohols are listed on the food label, divide that number by 2 and subtract it from the total carbohydrate. (Sugar alcohols only provide half the calories as sugar.)
If dietary fiber is listed on the food label, you can subtract the full amount of fiber from the total carbohydrate. (Fiber is not digested as sugar and therefore, will not have an effect on our blood sugar.)
Measuring Serving Sizes Measuring the serving size of the items that you are choosing to eat is very important. The total amount of carbohydrates depends on the serving size. Therefore, it is very important that you have measuring cups, spoons, and/or a food scale. The following is a list of descriptions to help you visualize what a serving size might look like, in case measuring cups are not available.
Easy Ways to Estimate Portion Size 3 oz boneless meat = deck of cards
Salad dressings: ***ranch, oil and vinegar, Caesar
***The following are salad dressings that can be high in carbohydrate per serving. Please read the food label to determine the amount of carbohydrate:
Red wine vinaigrette
***Items that are “fat-free,” “low-fat”, “lite”, or “reduced-fat” may actually have sugar/carbohydrate added to them to make them taste better, since the fat was taken out. Therefore, you should always read the food label for the total carbohydrate.