Carb counting gives one the most variety in the eating plan. It is a bit more work but provides more flexibility which is one of its benefits. It is really just calculating the carbohydrate to insulin ratio. It is some kind of a meal planning tool for people who have diabetes and are taking insulin.
With carb counting, one has to calculate the carbohydrates consumed for each meal including snacks. Along with this, the amount of insulin taken is adjusted according to the carbohydrate intake. Why is this done? It is in order to keep the blood sugar level from getting too low or too high which is indeed a disaster in the making.
It is different from the other dietary methods in the sense that with carb counting, one does not have to calculate the number of calories, protein or fat consumed. These quantities are not considered when determining the insulin dose. Is this a dream come true? Can one really eat carbohydrates, fat and protein without regard to portions? No, this does not mean one can overeat foods containing these nutrients. That will be a risky proposition.
At this point, it is good to remind oneself that the consumption of too much fat and lots of calories will only increase the risk for gaining weight, stroke, heart conditions and other diseases. It is therefore important to keep the lid on overeating or grow some seeds of concern.
Can you see how this way of meal planning will give one the idea how the body responds to the insulin injection? It gives one a clue on how to adjust the insulin dose depending on the carbohydrate intake. This will give one the power to manage the blood glucose level without the looming problems ahead.
After a meal, the blood sugar level usually rises and when the quantity of carbohydrates consumed in the meal is known, then one knows how much insulin to inject. That is why keeping a record of the food intake is a good idea. It will give one a sense of which road to take when it comes to meal planning and insulin.
There is a bit more work in carb counting. If one needs help at the start, consult with a dietitian who will help one learn how calculate the amount of carbohydrates taken. He or she will also show how to adjust the insulin dose. Pretty soon, one will master this and get the handle on what reactions the combination will elicit with the goal of making the adjustments.
The best way to start carb counting is through a fixed meal plan. Keep a record of the food consumption along with the activity minutes and the results of the blood glucose monitoring. Write down also the amount of the insulin dose.
Then monitor how the body responds to the amount of insulin injected. There are no two people alike but generally, one needs one unit of insulin for every fifteen grams of carbohydrate intake. Some people may need more or less than this amount. That is why one has to monitor how the body responds to the amount of insulin and make adjustment until it has been fine tuned like a well-oiled machine.
It is another story for someone who is pregnant but other reading materials below will lead one to some pages that could give rise to some choices. Reading this will provide some pointers that will make a strong case for the adjustment one has to make between insulin dosage and carb counting.
By Roger Guzman, M.D. and Evelyn Guzman
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