Carb counting is a crucial meal planning technique that’ll help you manage your blood sugar. Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on blood sugar, resulting in the breakdown of glucose within the body. It’s vital to be careful to be careful when consuming carbohydrates because it can result in a blood sugar spike. Foods to be careful with containing carbohydrates include starches like bread, cereal and rice, as well as fruit, juice, milk, yogurt and starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes.
Simple vs. Complex Carbohydrates
There are two different types of carbohydrates; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are mainly simple sugars that raise blood sugar much faster and higher than complex carbs. An excess of simple carbs can also lead to weight gain. Simple sugars are found in candy, syrups, soda, but also products containing white flour and packaged cereals. Fruit and milk contain simple carbs as well (fructose and lactose respectively), though they do provide your body with important nutrients. Fruits also contain fiber so they are really a blend of simple and complex carbs, like lots of foods.
Complex carbs include typical starches like oatmeal, whole grains, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, high-fiber cereal, but also legumes and lentils, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, broccoli and spinach. Complex carbohydrates have a much higher nutritional value than simple carbohydrates and due to their more complex structure, the body takes longer to break them down.
The glycemic index estimates how high and how quickly blood glucose levels will change after eating specific carbohydrates. The higher the glycemic index value (GI value) of a food the higher the blood sugar level will rise, and the longer it will take for it to return to a normal level. Glycemic index charts can be helpful when planning meals and evaluating the impact of carbohydrates on your blood sugar. Note that ripeness, cooking method, processing and length of storage can all impact the GI value.
When planning meals, the most important tactic when focusing on carb intake is to focus on consuming more complex carbs and less simple carbs. This will help control blood sugar levels.
A typical meal should include 45-60 grams of carbohydrate. The ideal guidance is the nutrition label, if available to you. Key elements on the label include the serving size and total carbohydrate amount. You must remember that if you eat double
the serving size, you’re consuming double the amount of carbs, which will impact your blood sugar levels.
Not every person can aim for the same amount of carbohydrates. Factors that may influence your specific number can depend on how active you are and the types of medications you’re taking. Make smart choices when choosing carbs for meals and snacks, and take into account your past experiences with carbohydrates—everyone’s body is different.
Evaluate your meal preparation, serving size of meals, and grams within each serving size in order to keep your blood sugar from spiking. Balanced levels create a happy lifestyle!
Take glance at the following lists to familiarize yourself with both simple and complex carbohydrates:
Bread made with white flour
Pasta made with white flour
All baked goods made with white flour
Most packaged cereals
Whole grain bread and pasta
Oat bran cereal
Lettuce and leafy greens
Chickpeas and hummus
Black beans and legumes