What is carbohydrate counting?
Carbohydrate counting is a way of planning your carbohydrate intake to manage your blood sugar levels. It places importance in keeping the carbohydrate content of meals and snacks consistent on day to day basis, but allows you to have variety and flexibility in your diet
For diabetics on insulin, carb counting is practiced widely, however, it is recommended by expert agencies such as ADA even for diabetics not on insulin
The way carbohydrate counting works is the following: you need to the serving size equal to one ‘carb choice’ for common carb foods, which equals 15 grams of carbohydrate, the amount equivalent to carb present in one tablespoon of sugar
Carbohydrate containing foods includes cereals, pulses, vegetables especially starchy vegetables, fruits, milk, sugar, honey etc.
Foods in the fat and protein category do not affect blood glucose directly and hence are not part of carb counting. Foods in this category include meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, peanut butter, most cheeses and fats such as butter, margarine and oils
Following is the list of common Indian carb foods, with their serving sizes containing one carb choice (15 grams of carbohydrates)
Now, some snacks and sweets containing one carb choice
This means that if you want to say, have a gulab jamun in a meal, you should skip one chapatti in the same meal to keep your carb intake in check
A word of caution: carb units are only telling you how much carb is here in a given food, say a samosa, but you need to also replace calorie for calorie, to avoid excessive calorie intake!
CHECK OUT: Our references for diabetes mellitus