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What is carbohydrate counting for diabetes?

Carbohydrate counting, or "carb counting," is a meal planning technique for managing your blood glucose levels. Foods that contain carbohydrate raise blood glucose. By keeping track of how many carbohydrates you eat and setting a limit for your maximum amount to eat, you can help to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range. Finding the right amount of carbohydrate depends on many things, including how active you are and what, if any, medicines you take.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Carbohydrate counting is used for people with diabetes as a diet management tool. Carbohydrate counting is taking the amount of carbohydrate in foods and using that information to help manage your blood sugar levels. For those on insulin, the amount of carbs will be matched up with the dose of insulin you will inject. For instance, at lunch your prescription is 10 grams of carb per 1 unit of fast acting insulin. This would mean that you would dose 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbohydrate eaten. Carb counting is often used for people with diabetes who are not on insulin as well. Carb counting is a way to help balance your carbohydrate intake throughout the day. Carbs have a direct relation to blood sugar readings. Check the nutrition facts panel or a carb counting book for the listing of carb content of specific foods. In general, all fruit, starchy vegetables (peas, corn, potato, beans), breads, cereals, grains, milk and yogurt -all contain carbohydrate.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.