Dec 12, 2017
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Counting Carbohydrates Made Easier

Diet orders for diabetic diets come through in many different shapes and sizes: LCS, Consistent Carbohydrate (carb), CHO diet, ADA, etc.  One of the most recent is a series of numbers on an order such as 65-75-75.  This is what is known as carbohydrate counting, a meal planning technique to help control blood glucose levels.

Carbohydrate information is listed on food labels.  Be sure you understand how to read these.  In foodservice, the nutrition information may be included on the outer box containing bulk food items.  The sugars listed on the label are included in the total grams of carbohydrate and do not need to be counted separately.  You may also go to the manufacturer website to obtain nutrition information.

Not all carbohydrates are created equal.  Whole grains, whole fruits, and most vegetables are better carbohydrate choices.  Also, eating them along with protein and fat will help to decrease how quickly blood sugar levels are affected.  Any foods containing carbohydrate can raise your blood sugar levels, some faster than others.  The glycemic index indicates how quickly a food will raise the blood sugar level.  White bread or glucose has a glycemic index of 100.

Many popular diets use the glycemic index of food to help with weight control.  This can be useful in counseling residents on weight reduction diets or who believe that juice is a good low calorie item to indulge in.  Remember, the higher the glycemic index, the more quickly blood sugar goes up and insulin is released to take care of this increase.  When the blood sugar goes down, sometimes dropping quickly or too low, this can stimulate hunger.  Also, when insulin is secreted to lower blood sugar, usually this excess sugar is stored as fat.

Carbohydrate counting can be a great way to help control blood sugar and to help with weight reduction goals.  Educating clients with these issues on better food choices is the way of the future and allowing them the flexibility offered through carbohydrate counting may ultimately lead to better compliance.

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