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Carb Counting in Gestational Diabetes Diet

Carb counting? What is that? It is one of the dietary methods where one calculates the quantity of carbohydrates eaten and does not have to measure the calories, protein or fat. It really is the variation of what used to be called the ADA diet which is now referred to as the exchange diet.

With carb counting, one is allowed a definite amount of grams of carbohydrate for every meal. Like the exchange diet, one is not restricted as to the kind of carbohydrate to choose. One makes use of tables to calculate the quantity of carbohydrate in the food. One does not have to keep track of the quantity of protein and fat.

So here is how carb counting works. Instead of being allocated two starch exchanges, one fruit exchange, and one milk exchange, one may be allotted 57 grams of carbohydrate for lunch. In this case, one will then have to calculate the amount carbohydrate in each chosen food.

Really, when one comes to think of it, carb counting is more precise than the exchange diet. Why? Well, it's obvious because one calculates the exact amount of carbohydrate for each meal. Therefore especially when one is attempting to match the insulin shots to the carbohydrate one eats, this fits those who use insulin to manage their blood sugar level.


Since carb counting is a variation of exchange diet, let's have some background information on this. Exchange diet is for those who don't want to go through a total change of food selections, for this diet allows almost any food as long as the portions are controlled.

Unlike carb counting, each food in exchange diet is categorized into protein, fat, milk, starch, fruit and vegetable groups. Then for each meal one is assigned a definite amount of various exchanges. On a 1500-calorie exchange diet for instance, one may be allotted two starch exchanges for lunch plus exchanges for the other groups as well.

Like the carb counting, exchange diet is low in fat and high in carbohydrate but any kind of carbohydrate is allowed. It is a good thing there is control in the number of calories because this way one can control the blood glucose level. Eating in or eating out, one can enjoy his favorite food in small portions.

How about low-carbohydrate diet? How does that relate to carb counting? This is just the opposite of the USDA Food Pyramid for this strictly restricts the eating of any type of carbohydrate. And get this? It permits bigger portions of fat and protein.



The low-carbohydrate diet is similar to carb counting in the sense that this diet consists of 72 grams of carbohydrate a day plus just about anything else and in any quantity one wants. This is what Christian B Allan said in his book, Life Without Bread. He further said there are no other rules.

The problem with carb counting is one may not lose weight whereas the trouble with low-carbohydrate diet is that the high fat content may raise one's risk of heart disease. Some people though have reported improvement in their lipid and blood glucose levels.

The best approach is to try the diet the doctor or nutritionist recommends. Do this for a few months while monitoring the blood glucose level. Then according to the result of this monitoring, one can make some adjustments and see how the blood sugar level responds to the change. This way one will find the best diet that works. Perhaps carb counting, maybe not.

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