CARBOHYDRATE COUNTING

CARBOHYDRATE COUNTING
Carbohydrates should account for 55 to 60% of the total calories taken on a daily basis. 1 gm of carbohydrate is equivalent 4 calories, so if a diabetic patient is on a 1200 kcal diet, approximately 720 kcal should come from carbohydrates (180 gm of carbohydrates) spread over the day. One serving of carbohydrate is measured as 15 grams. A food that contains 15 grams of carbohydrate is called “one carb serving”.

bread

 

WHAT IS “CARB” COUNTING?
Carb (carbohydrate) Counting is a meal planning method for people with diabetes. It is a way to count the carb grams or servings in meals and snacks. By evenly spacing carb foods through the day and by eating about the same amount at each meal or snack there is better blood glucose control and one can stay within blood glucose targets. There is a greater variety of meal and snack choices. Carb Counting can be basic or advanced and is a good meal planning system for anyone with diabetes.

WHAT IS CARB (CARBOHYDRATE)?

Carb foods are very important to a healthy meal plan. They give us energy as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Foods that provide most of their calories from carb include fruit, milk, sugar, sweets, breads, cereals, rice, and pasta as well as starchy vegetables such as corn, peas, potatoes, and dried beans. Carbs break down into sugar and are released into the blood stream.

CARB-CONTAINING FOODS

food triangle

CARB AMOUNTS IN THE EXCHANGE LISTS FOR MEAL PLANNING

Carb Amounts in the Exchange Lists for Meal Planning

Food Carb Grams  
 
Exchange Group Per Item Carb Servings
Rice (Cooked) 52 g carb 1/3 cup carb serving or choice
Starch/Bread 15 g carb 1 carb serving or choice
Chapatti 35 g carb 1 small serving or choice
Starch/Bread 15 g carb 1 carb serving or choice
Fruit 15 g carb 1 carb serving or choice
Milk 12 g carb 1 carb serving or choice
Other Carbs 15 g carb 1 carb serving or choice
Vegetable 5 g carb 1/3 carb serving or choice
Meat/Meat Substitute 0 g carb 0 carb serving or choice
Fat 0 g carb 0 carb serving or choice

Everyone needs a different amount of carb.

The amount that is best for you depends on your age, height, weight, level of physical activity, current blood glucose level, and your blood glucose targets.

carb limits for women and men

ADVANTAGES OF CARBOHYDRATE COUNTING
The advantage of carbohydrate counting at any level is that the person has more flexibility in choosing what they want to eat. Following any meal plan is difficult and rarely do people do eat the same food at each meal every day. When people have more choice and feel confident in their ability to make decisions, they will be more likely to stick to their meal plan.