Carb Counting

Carbohydrate (carb) counting is a meal planning tool for people with diabetes. Carbohydrate counting involves keeping track of the amount of carbohydrate in the foods you eat each day. Counting your carbs can help you control your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels because carbohydrates affect your blood glucose more than other nutrients like protein and fat.

Carbohydrates are found in many of the foods you eat every day. Carbohydrates include sugars, starches and even fiber.

Carbohydrates that you should eat less of include foods and drinks with added sugars. These types of carbohydrates have no nutrients.

Healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are an important part of a healthy eating plan because they can provide important nutrients and increase your energy. Fiber, for example, can help you control your weight, prevent constipation and lower your cholesterol levels.

Carbohydrates are not all bad for you, but counting them each day can help you manage your healthy lifestyle better. Look at the “eat more of this, less of that” guide to get an idea of carbs that you can swap out for healthier ones.

How to count carbs

The amount of carbohydrate in foods is measured in grams (g).

Meal plans created by the American Diabetes Association advise that about 45% of calories should come from carbs. This measures out to 45-60 grams per meal and 10-25 grams per snack, totaling out to about 135-230 grams of carbs per day.

Look at the nutrition labels on the foods you eat to find the carbohydrate count. When you count the carbs for all of your foods, you can keep track of how many carbs you are eating each day.

Talk to your diabetes advisor or nutritionist to create a meal plan that works for you.