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CheneyHsiung
Fri 22nd January '16, 4:15pm
What is Carbohydrate Counting?

Calories in food come from three sources: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Each affects blood sugar differently. Carbohydrate, which includes both sugar and starch, has the biggest effect on blood sugar. Carbohydrate counting is based on two ideas:



Eating equal amounts of sugar (such as fruit or, on occasion, candy) or starch (such as bread or pasta) will raise blood sugar about the same amount.
Carbohydrate is the main nutrient that effects blood sugar. Within one to two hours after eating carbohydrate, most of it is changed to blood sugar. Protein and fat have much less effect on blood sugar.


The key to remember is that the amount of carbohydrate you eat (whether sugar or starch) will determine how high your blood sugar level will be after a meal or snack.

Why Use Carbohydrate Counting?



It is easier to learn than Exchanges or the Point System.
It offers more variety in choices.
It provides a more accurate guess of how blood sugar will rise after a meal or snack.
Carbohydrate information on food labels makes meal planning easier.
You can swap an occasional high sugar food (even though it may contain fewer nutrients) for other carbohydrate-containing foods.


How Does Carbohydrate Counting Work?

There are two methods of carbohydrate counting -- simple and advanced.



Simple Carbohydrate Counting


With the simple method, you work with your dietitian to plan how many grams of carbohydrate to eat at meals and snacks. One serving from the Bread/Starch, Fruit, or Milk group each contains between 12 and 15 grams of carbohydrate. Vegetables contribute little carbohydrate and are not counted. When you know how many grams of carbohydrate you need each meal, you can choose foods from any of the three carbohydrate-containing food groups to meet your allowance. For example, if you need 75 grams of carbohydrate for breakfast each day, you might have dry cereal, fruit, and yogurt when you are not rushed. On a more hectic day, you could get the same amount of carbohydrate by eating a bagel, low sugar jelly, and a glass of milk as you rush out the door. Knowing portions is important. For example, a bagel from a bakery is usually 4-5 ounces and contains 60-75 grams of carbohydrate while a frozen grocery store bagel is about 2 ounces and has about 30 grams of carbohydrate.




Breakfast #1


Food
Amount
Grams of
Carb


Cereal, dry flakes
1 1/2 cups
30


Milk, skim
1 cup
12


Blueberries
3/4 cup
15


Yogurt, light, with fruit
1 cup
15


Total Grams:
72


Breakfast #2


Food
Amount
Grams of
Carb


Bagel
1 bagel (4 oz.)
60


Low sugar jelly
1 Tbsp.
6


Milk, skim
1 cup
12


Total Grams:
78







Advanced Carbohydrate Counting

The advanced method of carbohydrate counting matches your short-acting insulin dose to the amount of carbohydrate grams to be eaten. People who use this method usually take three to four insulin injections daily, or use an insulin pump (http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/d_06_f00.htm). If you choose this method, you must understand how to use food labels, use measuring cups and spoons to measure your food portions, and be skilled at estimating carbohydrate content of restaurant foods. Records of your food intake and blood sugars will be used to determine the amount of insulin to take for the amount of carbohydrate you wish to eat. This is called a carbohydrate to insulin ratio. It's important to work with a professional diabetes team to help you determine your individual carbohydrate to insulin ratio.

Source: children with DIABETES - Carbohydrate Counting (http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/d_08_d00.htm)