When people think of diabetes, one of the first associations that comes to mind is food, especially the old prohibition against eating sweets. In fact, today's dietary guidelines are not as stringent, but are slightly more complex. The guidelines are:
- eat a variety of healthy, nutritious foods
- reduce fat and protein to reasonable amounts
- balance carbohydrate with insulin and exercise.
Numbers 1 and 2 relate to good eating habits and discipline. Both are strongly encouraged for long-term health. Number 3 determines most of the blood sugar control related to eating. Maintaining this balance is what carb counting is all about. Over 90% of the carbs derived from starches and sugars end up as glucose that moves through the blood to your cells. Half the day's insulin is used to balance the carbohydrate we eat in foods. The other half meets the background insulin need, and this need remains relatively steady from day to day.
Carb counting is well worth the effort to learn when you consider the impact it has on your control. To learn how to carb count effectively, you need to:
- know what carbs are
- know what grams are
- know the 500 Rule
- know how to count carbs
- know how many carbs you need
- practice, practice and practice some more
Buy Carb Counting books at the Diabetes Mall.