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Heart Healthy Eating: Counting Carbs


On average, people with diabetes should aim to get about half of their calories from carbohydrates (carbs). Eating around the same number of carbs at each meal keeps your blood sugar levels consistent. If you exercise more, talk to your nurse, doctor, or dietician about increasing the amount of carbs you eat. Carbohydrates raise your blood sugar, but eating some carbs at every meal is still important. Carbs like grains, fruit, and milk are great choices.


There are 3 types of carbs: Sugars, starches, and fiber. Sugars are found in foods like fruits and milk, or added sugars in beverages. Starches include things like oats, wheats, and grains, as well as starchy vegetables like potatoes. Fiber is found in leafy greens, almonds, legumes, and quinoa. Sugar and starches raise your blood sugar, while fiber does not. Why is this? This is because fiber is a carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. While most carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (blood sugar), fiber cannot be broken down into glucose, and instead passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps to keep hunger and blood sugar in check by regulating the body’s use of sugars.


So… how many carbs should I eat?

Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer, since everyone's body and health needs are different! The number of carbs you should eat are dependent on your age, weight, activity level, and health conditions. If you have specific questions about your carb consumption, you should discuss with your nurse, doctor, or primary care provider. For diabetes meal planning, 1 carb serving is about 15 grams. Each of the following has 15 grams, or 1 serving of carbs:



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