When Should I Eat If I Have Diabetes
Some people with diabetes need to eat at about the same time each day. Others can be more flexible with the timing of their meals. Depending on your diabetes medicines or type of insulin, you may need to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time each day. If you take mealtime insulin, your eating schedule can be more flexible.
If you use certain diabetes medicines or insulin and you skip or delay a meal, your blood glucose level can drop too low. Ask your health care team when you should eat and whether you should eat before and after physical activity.
Using The Plate Method
Some people with type 2 diabetes use a less formal method of gauging how many carbs to eat. Called the plate method, it doesnt require any counting at all. Instead, you simply imagine dividing your plate in half. Then divide one side in half again.
Fill the large section with nonstarchy veggies. Fill one small section with grains, starchy veggies, or cooked beans and peas, and the other with meat or another protein food. Add a cup of low-fat milk and a piece of fruit, and youve got a balanced meal.
How Many Carbs Are In Fruits
Fruits are packed with nutrients and can provide a healthy, sweet treat, but theyre also high in sugar. The trick is knowing which have a greater effect on blood sugar. Bananas, apples, pears, mango, papaya, grapes, figs, dates, and raisins are highest in carbohydrates, Upchurch says. Berries, melons, avocados, and peaches are lower-carb choices. Half of an apple or banana, for example, has 15 grams of carbs. By comparison, 1¼ cups of strawberries offers the same carb count, according to the American Dietetic Association. Aim to eat a variety of whole fruits to get the mix of vitamins and minerals they provide, but balance low- and high-carb varieties.
Tracking Your Carb Intake
The easiest way to manage your daily carb intake is to pay attention to the number of carbs youre eating and when youre consuming them.
Chat with your doc about your exact number. In general, women will want to stick to 30 to 45 grams per meal and men to 45 to 60 grams per meal.
Apps like MyFitnessPal allow you to input everything youve eaten throughout the day and see a full nutrition profile, so you can get an idea of where your carbs, protein, and fat are coming from.
Or you can choose a calculator specifically designed for people with diabetes, like Fooducate or BG Monitor Diabetes. If youre feeling ambitious, write it all down in a daily food journal.
This will help you know exactly how many carbs youre eating and give you a better idea of which high-carb foods youre consuming most often.
Once youre in the groove of logging and tracking carbs, dont forget to make time to plan meals ahead so you can avoid high-carb foods and prevent those annoying french fry cravings.
Prevent Low Blood Glucose
Because physical activity lowers your blood glucose, you should protect yourself against low blood glucose levels, also called hypoglycemia. You are most likely to have hypoglycemia if you take insulin or certain other diabetes medicines, such as a sulfonylurea. Hypoglycemia also can occur after a long intense workout or if you have skipped a meal before being active. Hypoglycemia can happen during or up to 24 hours after physical activity.
Planning is key to preventing hypoglycemia. For instance, if you take insulin, your health care provider might suggest you take less insulin or eat a small snack with carbohydrates before, during, or after physical activity, especially intense activity.4
You may need to check your blood glucose level before, during, and right after you are physically active.
Dont Forget About The Snacks
For a mid-morning snack, you could try something rich and protein-packed like these tasty peanut butter balls that only have 5g carbs.
Lets change things up and swap out our second snack of the day for a delicious after-dinner dessert thats sure to hit the spot.
This decedent chocolate mousse tastes sweet enough to please the palate but amazingly it has just 6 grams of carbs!
If you add up all three meals plus the snack and dessert, we have a grand total of just 69g of carbs.
The high amounts of protein, healthy fat, and dietary fiber in these meals and the lack of carbohydrates is a recipe for stable blood sugar and, eventually, a lower A1c.
Want even more low carb meal inspiration? Take a look at a few more daily menus weve put together as examples
What About Sugar Substitutes
A sugar substitute is a sweetener that is used in place of sugar. The sugar substitutes approved by the Food and Drug Administration are aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and neotame. All can be safely consumed in moderation. Sugar substitutes do not need to be counted in your meal plan. If they are used as a sweetener in food that contains few calories and no other carbohydrate , that food is considered to be a “free food.” If, on the other hand, the sugar substitute is used in a food that contains other carbohydrate sources , the total carbohydrate content must be counted. That food is not considered a “free food.”
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There Are Several Aspects In The Treatment Of Diabetes Each One With A Very Important Role
The mainstays of diabetes treatment are:
Note: Type 1 diabetes must be treated with insulin if you have type 2 diabetes, you may not need to take insulin. This involves injecting insulin under the skin for it to work. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the digestive juices in the stomach would destroy the insulin before it could work. Scientists are looking for new ways to give insulin. But today, shots are the only method. There are, however, new methods to give the shots. Insulin pumps are now being widely used and many people are having great results.
Healthy Carb Intake For People With Diabetes
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends that people with diabetes get about 45% of their daily calories from carbohydrates. Put another way, for a 2,000 calories diet that equates to about three or four servings of carbohydrates.
For those with diabetes, eating well is not just a matter of counting grams and calories, though. Choosing nutritious foods is key, says Jennifer Smith, Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition at Integrated Diabetes Services in Madison, Wisconsin.
There are two main types of carbs:
Simple carbs hit the bloodstream quickly and can lead to a higher spike in blood sugar levels compared to complex carbs.
“If you’re doing 45% carbohydrates because that’s what you’ve been told to do, but it’s all white rice and white bread and Fruit Loops, that’s not healthy,” Smith says. “Simple sugars have a big impact on blood sugar, while more complex carbohydrates like grains, beans, and legumes have more fiber in them, which slows blood sugar impact once your body takes it into your system.”
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How Many Carbs Should You Eat In Each Meal
Half of each meal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you get between 45% and 65% of your calories from carbs. You could think of this as half your plate at each meal can be taken up by carbs.
Carbohydrates in grams. To be more precise, count the carbs. You can see how many grams of carbohydrates are in packaged foods by reading the nutrition facts labels. For non-packaged foods, you can look this information up online.
The Recommended Daily Allowance for carbs is 130 grams per day. Per meal this comes to about:
- 60-75 grams of carbohydrates per meal for men
- 45-60 grams per meal for women
Carbohydrate choices. This can help you eyeball the number of carbs youâre going to eat once you know approximately how many carbs are in different foods. Using this method, you have a certain amount of âcarb choicesâ you can have in a meal or snack.
- Men can have 4 to 5 carb choices per meal
- Women can have 3 to 4 carb choices per meal
- Whether youâre a man or woman, snacks should be 1 or 2 carb choices
So what is a carb choice or serving of carbs? A carb choice is an amount of food that has about 15 grams of carbs in it.
For example, 1 slice of bread is one carb choice. But 1/4 of a large baked potato is also one carb choice. So having a whole baked potato could blow your whole carb choice budget for one meal.
You can find lists of carb choices for different foods online. You can also ask a nutritionist or diabetes instructor.
Nutrition Basics For Diabetes
Carb counting goes hand-in-hand with calorie counting. So before getting into the nitty-gritty of counting carbohydrates, it’s helpful to do a quick refresher on what makes up a calorie. Calories come from three nutrients: carbohydrate, protein and fat, which are also known as macronutrients. Alcohol also has calories. In contrast, vitamins and minerals are micronutrients and don’t have any calories. The foods we eat are made up of varying amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat. For example, a potato is mostly carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. Top it with sour cream and you’ve added calories from fat. A piece of skinless chicken breast-like the one in the recipe for Chicken Burrito Bowls above-contains mostly protein, a small amount of fat and no carbohydrate. How the chicken is prepared can add other nutrients and calories. For example, breading chicken will add more carbohydrates frying it will add more fat.
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The History And Safety Of Ketogenic Diets
There are cultures who have thrived for centuries on high-fat, low-carb diets, such as the Masai warriors and Inuits.
Ketogenic diets have been used as medical treatments for a long timeâspecifically, to treat children with epilepsy. In the past 20 years, many endurance athletes have started adopting low carb and ketogenic diets for improved performance.
What Are The Different Types Of Carbs
There are 3 types of carbs:
Sugars and starches raise your blood sugar, but fiber doesnt.
How Many Carbs Are In Milk And Yogurt
Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products are good sources of calcium and other nutrients, but youve got to count the carbs they bring to the table. One cup of milk or low-fat yogurt has about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Carb counts go up from there for sweet fruity yogurts, so the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends reading labels carefully. If you want to trim off a few carbs, opt for plain, nonfat Greek yogurt as it has about half as many carbs per 100-gram serving 3.6 versus 7.04 in traditional yogurt and it packs more protein, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And cheese, believe it or not, has minimal carb counts.
How Many Carbs Should Diabetics Eat
As a person with diabetes, counting how many carbohydrates you consume daily can be an essential part of your diabetes management. It helps you to control your blood sugar and understand how much sugar and starch are in your food. Doing this helps you plan the best way to eat so you can maintain steady blood sugar throughout the day and avoid fluctuation. Read more to learn about diabetes and carbohydrates.
As a diabetic person, you should try to get half of your daily calories from carbs. For example, if you consume 1,800 calories daily, you should aim for 900 calories in carbs a day. There are four calories per one gram of carbs, so that means you should aim to eat at least 200 grams of carbs. However, this dramatically differs between people based on how many calories they need to eat to maintain a healthy weight.
You should consult with a dietician or doctor to determine how many carbs per day you should be eating. Of course, certain lifestyle factors play into that, so make sure you update your provider as needed. Be sure to also get support from your medical team to find healthy recipes that match your carb needs.
You should eat the same amount of carbs in each meal. This helps keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. However, this can be mitigated if you are giving yourself multiple injections of insulin in a day.
Additionally, based on what type of disease you have, carb counting can be different. The differences are:
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Personalize Your Carb Intake For Diabetes
If youd like to learn more about how you can reverse diabetes, lower high blood sugar, and get the health benefits of simply eating a more healthy diet, you can reach out to our coaches through our coaching program.
Our diabetes educators are experts with years of experience and the latest research and can work with you, your healthcare professional, and your registered dietitian to develop a healthy diet that works for you.
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Mastering Diabetes has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
5. Lifestyle Management: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes2019 | Diabetes Care. .
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Carbs And Blood Sugar
Keeping your blood sugar levels on track means watching what you eat, plus taking medicines like insulin if you need to. Your doctor may also have mentioned that you should keep track of how many carbohydrates you eat. But what exactly are carbohydrates and how do they affect your blood sugar?
The foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy and other things the body needs, and one of these is carbohydrates. The two main forms of carbohydrates are:
The body breaks down or converts most carbohydrates into the sugar glucose. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, and with the help of a hormone called insulin it travels into the cells of the body where it can be used for energy.
People with diabetes have problems with insulin that can cause blood sugar levels to rise. For people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to make insulin. For people with type 2 diabetes, the body can’t respond normally to the insulin that is made.
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Per Meal Carbohydrate Breakdown
Different people will feel comfortable with different levels of carbs per day. As you get more familiar with the eating plan, your body will tell you what feels best for you.
Carbs per meal 120g per day
- Breakfast: 30 g carbs
- Dinner: 10g
- 2 snacks: 10 g carbs each
In most cases, every meal you eat each day will not be an exact amount at every meal, but your overall daily carb intake would still be considered in a low carb range when you add it all up.
While some people like to count exactly how much they eat every day, it is not necessary. If you stick to the low carb diet guidelines above, you will find your carbohydrate will naturally fall within the low carb range.
Your carbohydrate intake may fluctuate daily and thats normal as we all consume different meal combinations each day.
A Word Of Caution!
If you are on insulin therapy, it is important to lower your carb intake under close supervision of your health practitioner because you will have to make adjustments to your dosage and a fast rapid change can result in hypoglycemia. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely when making dietary transitions and be aware of symptoms.
Where To Get Started With Carbs
Since most people usually have to lower carb intake quite a bit, 120 grams per day is often a comfortable place to start and then you can tweak and reduce your own individual intake from there.
A Word Of Caution!
If you are on insulin therapy or blood sugar-lowering medication, it is important to discuss your dietary changes with your healthcare team before making any changes. You may need to make adjustments to your medications and a fast rapid change in carbohydrate intake can result in hypoglycemia. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely when making dietary transitions and be aware of symptoms.
So lets break 120 grams down per meal so you can see what that might look like.
Carbs per meal
- Dinner: 30 g crabs
- 2 x snacks: 15 g carbs each or 3 x snacks 10 g carbs each
This tends to work fairly well for the majority of people when getting started. And if you find this is a comfortable place for you over the long term, it can still work okay too.
The idea is you want to be able to sustain a diet, not go on a diet for 6 months and then switch back to old habits. So keep that in mind as you make changes.
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