Understanding Ways To Count Carbohydrates Before Regret It
Living with diabetes requires proper planning with respect to the carbs, calories and other parameters related to your food to control diabetes. One significant aspect here is to count the carbohydrate content in your food to control diabetes, especially those with type 2 diabetes or those who take insulin twice or more in a day.
Once you learn to count the carbs in any food for diabetic patient, you are able to better plan your meal and maintain healthy blood glucose levels, even in case of diabetes type 2. All it takes is to count the carbohydrate grams in a diabetes patient food and matching that to your dose of insulin. Since carbs in foods that control diabetes include sugars, starches, and fibre, they affect blood glucose levels more than proteins or fats.
Diabetic Patient Diet – Foods That Contain Carbohydrates
The food items in which carbs are present in diabetic patient diet which need to be measured according to your condition of type 2 diabetes are:
- grains like rice, oatmeal, and barley
- grain-based foods like bread, cereal, pasta, and crackers
- starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas and corn
- fruit and juice
- milk and yogurt
- dried beans like pinto beans and soy products like veggie burgers
- sweets and snack foods like sodas, juice drinks, cake, cookies, candy, and chips
- Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, and cauliflower have comparatively lesser amount of carbs and minimal impact on your blood glucose.
While some food items will have labels mentioning the carb content, others do not display it upfront, in which case you can refer to some carb counting tools online.
How to Count Carbohydrates
There are five prescribed ways of counting the carbs:
1. Food Labels – Using the Carbohydrate Per Portion Values
The labels of certain ready to eat meals look like this:
|Typical Values||100g contains||Each oven baked meal (317g) contains|
|Energy||433kJ (103kcal)||1372kJ (325kcal)|
|Of which sugars||2.0g||6.3g|
When counting the carbs in such a meal, always consider the total carbs, excluding the ‘of which sugars’ value. Hence determine the actual portion of the food item you will eat and then calculate the carb values.
2. Using the Carb Count Per 100g Values
Food items like pasta or rice have food labeling information like –
|Typical Values||As sold 100g contains|
|Of which sugars||0.2g|
First decide the actual portion size of the food item, and then accordingly calculate the total carb value based on per 100g.
Example: If you decide to have 80g of this rice, the amount of carbohydrate you would count is 61.9g of carbohydrate and not 77.4g. Invest in a good quality scaling device which are accurate to within 5g.
3. Reference Lists and Visual Guides
At times when you don’t have any scaling device or you are eating out and do not know the recipe, reference lists or visual guides like Carbs & Cals will come to your rescue. This will help you estimate carbohydrates as the numbers are listed as handy measures like ‘one bread roll’, ‘one medium banana’, ‘one scoop of ice-cream’ etc.
4. Nutrition Information of Recipes
Certain references act as ready reckoner like the diabetes websites and cookbooks, which make it easier to calculate the carb content of as many as 250 recipes. This regular calculation and assessment will also help you build a personal reference list for future mention.
5. Restaurant and Cafe Nutrition Information
For a bacon breakfast roll served in a restaurant:
|Per 100 g||Per 114 g serving|
|Energy||1381.6 kJ||575 kJ|
|Energy||328.1 kcal||374 kcal|
|Fat||19.2 g||21.9 g|
|of which saturates||6.8 g||7.8 g|
|Carbohydrate||22.2 g||25.3 g|
|of which sugars||1.4 g||1.6 g|
|Fibre||1.3 g||1.5 g|
|Protein||15.8 g||18 g|
|Salt||3.07 g||3.5 g|
With increasing awareness about the carbs counting along with other nutritional values of food served in restaurants, detailed information is provided. These values mentioned are average values which may vary according to the portion size served to you.
How You Can Start Counting Daily Carbs
- Identify which of your foods and drinks contain carbs and accordingly make a mental note of which need to be counted.
- Make it a habit to scrutinize nutritional labels. Check the food items in your kitchen to see their food labels carefully.
- Let carbs be your focus with respect to diabetes meal plan. Practice estimating the carbohydrates content of your meals using the reference given above.
In the end, it is extremely important to consult your diabetes educator or doctor before planning any diabetic diet. Keep monitoring blood glucose levels using a compact glucometer and add the readings to the records. These readings from glucometer will help you track changes in your diabetes management.