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You don't have to eat special foods when you have diabetes. Carbohydrates (carbs) raise blood sugar higher and quicker than any other nutrient. Carbs are found in desserts, breads and cereals, and fruit. They're also in starchy vegetables. These include potatoes, corn, and grains such as rice and pasta. Carbs are also in milk and yogurt.
The more carbs you eat at one time, the higher your blood sugar will rise. Spreading carbs all through the day helps keep your blood sugar levels within your target range.
Counting carbs is one of the best ways to keep your blood sugar under control.
If you use insulin, counting carbs helps you match the right amount of insulin to the number of grams of carbs in a meal. Then you can change your diet and insulin dose as needed. Testing your blood sugar several times a day can help you learn how carbs affect your blood sugar.
A registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you plan meals and snacks.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Your daily amount depends on several things, such as your weight, how active you are, which diabetes medicines you take, and what your goals are for your blood sugar levels. A registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you plan how many carbs to include in each meal and snack.
For most adults, a guideline for the daily amount of carbs is:
Counting carbs lets you know how much rapid-acting insulin to take before you eat. If you use an insulin pump, you get a constant rate of insulin during the day. So the pump must be programmed at meals. This gives you extra insulin to cover the rise in blood sugar after meals.
If you take insulin:
If you do or don't take insulin:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter G703 in the search box to learn more about "Counting Carbohydrates When You Take Insulin: Care Instructions".
Adaptation Date: 5/7/2021
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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