Carbohydrate counting is a way of planning your meals if you are unfortunate enough to be afflicted by diabetes or even if you just want to watch your weight. The control of diabetes will be much better if you can balance the carbohydrates with the insulin doses that you need to take. This counting can allow you to include a variety of foods in your diet that can be carbohydrate rich. To understand carbohydrate counting, you will have to know what carbohydrates are, have a way of counting the carbohydrates and then lastly have an idea of the amount of carbohydrates that your body needs. Simple rules such as these below can help you plan your carbohydrate intake:
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Rule One: Knowing what carbohydrates are
Carbohydrates are the source of energy for the body that are preferred over the other two macro-nutrients which are fat and proteins. Carbohydrates are split into two types:
- Simple carbohydrates
- Complex carbohydrates
They differ from each other in the chemical structure and normally for good health complex carbohydrates are preferred over simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index whereas simple carbohydrates have a higher glycemic index. Food with a high glycemic index converts easily to glucose and increases the sugar level in the blood, which is bad for diabetics. Complex carbohydrates are found in fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds and grains. Starchy foods like bread, cereal, pasta, dry beans, carrots, corn and sugar are examples of simple carbohydrates.
Rule Two: Counting the carbohydrates
Carbohydrates need to make up about one third to one half of the total calories that are consumed in a diet. You can count the carbohydrates in your diet by using a carbohydrate counter. These gadgets have information of over 6000 types of food, their glycemic index, fat and calorie count and other details.
Prefer foods with lower glycemic indexes to make up the calories in your diet and totally avoid those with a high glycemic index. These gadgets can also keep a track of your insulin doses as well as the exercise routines that are suggested for you. For reasons not exactly known, regular exercise does help persons suffering from diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.
Rule Three: Carbohydrates that you need
You first need to determine the amount of calories that are most suited to your body and then decide on the carbohydrates that you will need to eat to make up these calories. This is best done in consultation with your physician who will make the judgment based on the blood sugar levels in your body and the amount of insulin that has been recommended.
It is imperative that your diet is balanced and all other needed nutrients are a part of this diet. Eating a right mix of fruits, nuts, vegetables and grains is almost certain to give you the right amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Determine the calorie count of each of these before you decide on the helpings that you can permit yourself. Also make it a point to exercise regularly so that it helps your body to control the blood sugar levels.
While you are counting those carbohydrates and controlling your diet, you must make sure that at no stage are you deficient in carbohydrates as this can lead to hypoglycemia.