How many carbs should diabetics eat per day? Tips to choose the right ones for blood sugar control  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- For people with diabetes, keeping a track of the amount of carbs in each meal or snack is essential for blood sugar management
- Getting the right balance of nutrients can help you maintain a strong, healthy body and mind
- Find out how many carbs you should be consuming per day if you have a condition like diabetes
New Delhi: If you have diabetes, tracking your diet habits, especially the intake of carbohydrates in all your meals, is one of the key ways to manage blood sugar levels. Carbs are a major food source that can be part of a healthy diet. But, when you’re living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to get the appropriate amount of this nutrient to avoid high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). A healthy, balanced diet consisting of the right amount of carbs, protein, healthy fat, fibre, and other essential nutrients will help you control blood sugar, manage weight and keep diabetes complications at bay.
Perhaps, whether or not you have diabetes, adopting a healthy eating plan along with regular exercise and low stress will go a long way in maintaining overall health and well-being. In this article, let us take a look at the number of carbs a person with diabetes need to take per day, the different types of carbs, and how to make the right food choices for better blood sugar management.
How many carbs should diabetics eat per day?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) should aim to get about 45 per cent of their total calories each day from carbs. However, the amount of carbs a person with diabetes need per day would depend on a number of factors – such as weight, age, physical activity level, diabetes medications – that can have an impact on their blood sugar levels.
For instance, an obese or overweight person may need fever carbs as weight and fat can affect blood sugar levels. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, excessive body fat can cause a person at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to have less effective insulin, which can lead to high blood sugar. The more a person is active, the more he/she would need more calories for energy. Hence, there’s ‘no one size fits all’ as certain factors can influence how many carbs a person with diabetes needs per day.
Also, it is recommended that women get 3-4 servings of carbs, at 15 grams per serving, whereas, men should aim for 4-5 servings.
Food sources of carbs
Carbohydrates can be found in a variety of foods, including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and baked goods. Some foods high in carbs are:
- Fruits and juices
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn
- Beans, legumes, peas
- Grains and foods that contain grains such as cereal, pasta and bread
- Soft drinks
- Snack foods
Carbs are divided into three main types:
- Sugars – this includes natural sugar in fruit and milk or the added sugar in soda and many other packaged foods.
- Starches – refined and whole grains, starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes, dried beans, lentils, and peas, etc.
- Fibre – whole grains, fruis, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, etc.
Experts recommend that you should get most of your carbs from unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains. You should understand that sugars and starches can raise blood sugar levels, while fibre doesn’t. Foods high in fibre have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, boost digestion and lower the risk of certain health conditions, including heart disease.
How to choose healthy carbs
People with diabetes should focus on healthy carbs such as:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Legumes – beans and peas
- Low-fat dairy products like milk and cheese
- Avoid foods that contain added sugars, fats and sodium.
Keeping track of carbs or counting carbs in your diet will make blood sugar control easier, which will also help you feel better, prevent or delay diabetes complications and improve the quality of life.
The bottom line is, nutrition plays a major role in diabetes care. Ensuring that you get all essential nutrients in the right amounts will help you keep blood sugar in check and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.