Carbohydrate counting helps you to control your blood sugar when you have
- Carbohydrate counting helps you determine the
amount of sugar and starch (carbohydrate) in the foods you eat. This is
important, because carbohydrate affects your blood sugar more than fats or
- Carbohydrate counting involves learning how to spread
out the amount of carbohydrate you eat throughout the day to help prevent high
blood sugar after eating.
- You should test your blood sugar after
meals to see what effect different carbohydrate foods have on your blood sugar
How to count carbohydrate
Here are some ways to help
you count carbohydrate and spread carbohydrate throughout the day.
Eat at least three
meals a day to spread your intake of food, especially carbohydrate, throughout
It is a great idea to get out your cookbooks and plan several main meals (What is a PDF document?) at the same time. You can double some recipes and freeze the
leftovers to use for other meals.
The following suggestions can help you count
carbohydrate and balance your meals and snacks:
- Talk with a
registered dietitian to help plan the amount of
carbohydrate to include in each meal and snack.
- Get a book that
lists the carbohydrate content in different foods.
- Count either grams or servings of carbohydrate. If you are having high blood sugar
levels after eating—for example, after breakfast—you may want to decrease the amount of
carbohydrate you eat at that time.
- Eat standard
portions of carbohydrate foods. Each serving size or standard portion contains about 15 grams of
carbohydrate. It might be helpful to measure your food portions when you are first learning what makes up a standard portion.
- Talk with a registered
dietitian about how much protein and fat you need.
- Read food labels for the carbohydrate
content, and check the serving size on the package.
- Check your
blood sugar level before and 1 hour after eating the first bite of each meal to see how
the food affects it.
- Record what you eat and your blood sugar
results in a food record (What is a PDF document?). At each regular visit with your diabetes specialist,
or whenever you think your meal plan needs adjusting, you can review the
- Get more help. The American Diabetes Association offers
booklets to help people learn how to count carbohydrate, measure and weigh
food, and read food labels.
Return to Gestational Diabetes: Counting Carbs
|By: ||Healthwise Staff ||Current as of: November 14, 2013|
|Medical Review: ||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator