counting carbs

By evansrabbitranch Latest Reply 2011-11-11 09:12:04 -0600
Started 2011-11-04 21:43:11 -0500

My mother is type 2 and I am hypoglycemic, there is a strong family history of diabetes, I just learned my grandfather on my father's side was type 1. I'm confused on how to count carbs and how many "counts" to have at each meal. My mother's doctor allows her 4 "counts" per meal and each "count" is 15 grams. Is this common or how do I find out how many per meal? No money and no insurance for a doctor.

18 replies

Type1Lou 2011-11-05 09:06:01 -0500 Report

There are 2 main ways to count carbs…by actual carb grams or by carb exchanges. It sounds like your Mom was advised to use the carb exchange method which I find more confusing than just counting the actual carbs. That's because whlie 1 bread or fruit exchange is worth 15 carbs, 1milk exchange = 12 carbs and 1 vegetable exchange = 5 carbs and meats and fat = 0 carbs…too much math and calculating. I allow myself 120 total grams of carb per day (30 @ breakfast and 45 each @ lunch and dinner). Gary Scheiner in his book, "Think Like a Pancreas" has a good discussion/explanation of carb counting in Chapter 4 "Keys to Successful Control." He has also published "The Ultimate Guide to Accurate Carb Counting" that retails at $9.95 but you could probably get it for less through I've found that accurately counting the carbs and limiting them is essential in managing my diabetes.

evansrabbitranch 2011-11-10 08:22:29 -0600 Report

I got a book at walmart called The Diabetes counter according to the method in it I can have 200 grams a day, but I budgeted it out to 195 grams between 3 meals and 2 snacks, does that sound ok? Today is the first day I am trying this budget.

Type1Lou 2011-11-10 08:32:53 -0600 Report

This is a very individually determined amount. You need to determine what will work for you…for me it is 120 grams of carb per day but then, I am 5'3" tall and weigh 120 pounds and am moderately active with a pretty high insulin sensitivity. You will also find experts on both sides of the carb fence…some saying eliminate as many as possible (Dr Richard Bernstein) and others who maintain that you need a goodly amount of carbs in your diet. There is no one right answer…After reading Dr Bernstein's book ("Diabetes Solution") a good number of years ago, I adopted the very limited carb approach with very good results. Others here on DC find that lowering their carb intake has worked well for them too. Good luck…we're with you in this! Don't hesitate to ask any questions that pop up.

evansrabbitranch 2011-11-10 08:41:47 -0600 Report

I slowly cut out most of my simple carbs and do not miss them so I am hoping improving my choices and limiting the complex carb choice will help. I am now testing my bs before and after meals to help me adjust so I don't spike too much. Thank you :)

Type1Lou 2011-11-10 08:48:08 -0600 Report

Sounds like a good plan! You'll find that cutting the carbs will help with both the BG control and with losing weight (It's the foundation of the Atkins Diet).

evansrabbitranch 2011-11-10 08:52:14 -0600 Report

I've already seen a big difference. 4 months ago I was 210 lbs today I reached 190! I celebrated with my fave foods for breakfast: pickles, jerky and a banana. LOL sounds gross but I love them.

Type1Lou 2011-11-10 09:01:59 -0600 Report

You've discovered that if it works for you, it's good! I just posted my approach to pasta in another discussion here. My husband loves Italian food. When I make spaghetti for him, his sauce goes over traditional pasta while I serve my sauce over french style green beans…much lower in carbs. For lasagna, I make a smaller pan for me substituting the noodles with cooked cabbage leaves or eggplant…again, much lower carbs. And I find, I don't really miss the pasta…after all, most of the flavor is in the sauce! BTW, congrats on the weight loss! Hurrah!

evansrabbitranch 2011-11-10 17:44:40 -0600 Report

Thank you, I use spaghetti squash instead of pasta myself. I cut don on pasta a lot. I will have to try the green beans though, it sounds yummy!

GabbyPA 2011-11-11 09:12:04 -0600 Report

Pasta is my nemesis. I LOVE it and all things on it. I like spaghetti squash too. That is yummy.

GabbyPA 2011-11-10 10:29:30 -0600 Report

Have you ever tried zucchini strips for pasta replacement? I have in lasagna and it works quite nicely.

Type1Lou 2011-11-10 11:16:03 -0600 Report

Thanks for the suggestion Gabby! I think zucchini would work very well…especially if you made thin slices lengthwise, just like lasagna noodles. Plus its a way to use up that inevitable bumper crop of zucchinis if you're growing your own! Yummmmm!

GabbyPA 2011-11-11 09:11:22 -0600 Report

What I did was dehydrate it a little to get rid of the water some. It helps it absorb the sauces better too. I have to figure out how to make them look more like a spaghetti noodle. There is a tool for that, but I don't have one. I have also made zucchini chips. I dehydrate them and get them crispy. The sodium in the concentrates and they are almost like eating a chip. That is good too. That is good with summer squash as well.

Young1s 2011-11-09 14:23:06 -0600 Report

I agree. You could pull your hair out in frustration trying to understand the exchange. I count the actual carbs themselves (45 grams per meal), as well as, I make note of how much protein is in what I'm eating.

GabbyPA 2011-11-05 08:37:00 -0500 Report

It is not really too hard, but it can be confusing in the start because there are some different ways to count them.
Here are my favorite videos for explaining how to count carbs:

I hope these help you see how counting grams and exchanges are really the same, just different ways of doing it.

evansrabbitranch 2011-11-10 08:36:52 -0600 Report

Thanks! Those videos were helpful. I'm using serving size and carb count to help layout my plate each meal and am eating better already, this helped me understand more.

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-05 01:00:03 -0500 Report

That sounds about right. you also have to monitor your bs to see what carbs are going to spike you or not. Complex carbs are better because they don't go right into your bloodstream like simple carbs would. You want to stay away for sugary drinks, white flour and white rice and the such. Things like whole grains are better. Proteins are important also, chicken, fish and eggs, etc.
It WILL get easier as you go along. Read your labels and keep asking ?'s. This site has a lot of people with more experience then I and will give you great advice and support!
Good luck and God Bless.

evansrabbitranch 2011-11-10 08:38:24 -0600 Report

Thank you :) We moved away from white bread a couple years ago but now I am having wheat versions of tortias and pitas too. Next change will be to brown rice instead of white.

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