Diabetes Self-Management Articles

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Carbohydrate Factors
A Precise Method for Meal Planning

by Dana Armstrong, RD, CDE, and Jan Chait

Who can benefit?
Using carbohydrate factors can be a useful addition to the diabetes toolbox of anybody who wants to improve his overall blood glucose control. For people who use insulin, getting a really accurate carbohydrate count can mean more accurate dosing of premeal rapid-acting insulin and perhaps fewer episodes of high or low blood glucose.

For people who use oral diabetes medicines or who manage their diabetes with diet and exercise, using accurate carbohydrate counts can make it easier to eat consistent amounts of carbohydrate from one day to the next, and that can make it easier to determine whether their intake of carbohydrate matches their pancreas’s output of insulin. You know you have a good match when blood glucose levels two hours after the beginning of a meal are within target range. If your blood glucose levels after eating are consistently higher than your goal range, you can precisely lower your carbohydrate intake and assess the change. (Keep in mind, however, that not all blood glucose control problems can be resolved by eating less carbohydrate and that cutting out entire categories of food can leave your diet low in necessary nutrients. If you’re having trouble with blood glucose control in spite of following a balanced diet, speak to your diabetes team.)

So the next time you need to calculate your food intake, why not leave the measuring cups and spoons in the drawer and pull out a gram scale instead? Think of it as another “factor” in helping you manage your diabetes.



More articles on Nutrition & Meal Planning



Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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