Q:What is diabetes carbohydrate (carb) counting?

A: Years ago, and still too often today, people with diabetes are sent to a dietitian to be "put on a diabetic diet." The fact of the matter is no one can put someone on a "diabetic diet" or any diet for that matter. It's up to you to choose to make changes in your eating habits to eat healthier. Today, many people with diabetes use carbohydrate, or carb, counting as a flexible way to plan their meals and/or to dose their insulin.

Carb counting has evolved to be a commonly used way to plan meals because research has shown that carbohydrate is main contributor to rising blood glucose levels after meals. All sources of carbohydrate, or foods that contain carbohydrate, including starches, fruit, vegetables, dairy foods, sweets; raise blood glucose levels in about the same time and to about the same degree.

Does that mean you should avoid foods that contain carbohydrate? No, foods that contain carbohydrate are among the healthiest, nutrient packed foods to eat. To learn more read how can I learn about the food and nutrition recommendations for people with diabetes?

Use carb counting to learn to eat similar amounts of carbohydrate at your meals to keep your blood glucose in control. If you have type 1 diabetes or you have type 2 diabetes and take insulin, you can learn to adjust your insulin based on the amount of carbohydrate you eat and your blood glucose level. To learn more about carb counting check out my book Complete Guide to Carb Counting.

Hope Warshaw