Carb Counting, Portion Control, or Calorie Counting...What's Your Method?

By MAYS Latest Reply 2013-02-27 03:22:22 -0600
Started 2013-01-26 11:53:20 -0600

Carb Counting, Portion Control, or Calorie Counting each one has its own benefits for helping one to manage their diabetes, health and wellness.

Whether they are used individually, or in conjunction with one another they can go a long way towards making things a little easier for a diabetic or caregiver.

What is your method of choice, and why?
(Feel free to add to this list of informative sites and resources)

Here are some helpful links on the subjects in this discussion:

Carb Counting:

Portion Control:

Calorie Counting:

Food Labels and other Tools:

55 replies

Fefe12 2013-02-27 03:22:22 -0600 Report

I count my carbs and do portion control. I don't watch my calories much. I love to excercise so I have no problem with that. I love food so I'm always looking for new recipies and trying them out. Its been a realitivly easy process. I came into this with my eyes wide open and I'm not stopping now.

CJ55 2013-02-01 01:55:01 -0600 Report

Hello Mays.. I am still having a hard time counting carbs and mesuring foods. I just put it in my dish and eat.. then think.. darn.. I didn't measure anything. I am not eating a lot at all. I eat 1 or 2 meals with 1 snack. However, I loose 10 pds and the next week it is back.. then off then back. It is driving me CRAZY !!! I am using the "plate method" and also a smaller plate. That helps. Also, on 2/14 I am seeing my D. Educator and having a 1 on 1 meeting regarding meal planning and what to eat and not eat and what to combine to eat. I am really looking forward to that. My A1C last month was 5.4 so I must be doing something right, but the weight is getting to me. I can start back in the pool the first of March. Next Thurs 1/7 I am back in the hospital for another back proceedure. This is getting old. I just had 4 shots in my hips this past Monday, they didn't help the pain and swelling, I still can barely walk. Oh well, life goes on and we smile !! Talk soon my friend.. Hugz

GrammieMags 2013-01-31 19:34:37 -0600 Report

Hi all. I'm still new to this aspect of blood sugar - 5 1/2 months. My diet is very monotonous, so I figured the average carb count for every 1/2 cup of what I usually eat. Then I just keep track of how many carb units I have.

I am still eating small meals. The protein - usually 1 - 2 oz. worth and the carbs are enough. I first watch my sugar intake (too much and I develop tendinitis, which is a good motivator) and then I try to cut back on the flour products. I have added lots of fruit which is fun, and am working the veggies back into things.

I wasn't able to much physically before I was diagnosed, so being able to do light housework has been enough to drop some pounds!

GrammieMags 2013-01-31 19:35:50 -0600 Report

of course I read labels, I always have. It's the only thing to do. How else will I know how many crackers equal one carb unit?


lefthandedjoyce 2013-02-01 22:00:55 -0600 Report

Get the "Old Food Pyramid" and post on your refrig for a good go to daily reference and learning to read labels for sodium content, saturated fat, trans fats & (of course) carbs. Sounds like a lot of drudge work—- but remember Rome was not built in a day and learning to be a savey, healthy meal planner takes a few weeks for it to be second nature (Behavior Modication in the dietary world). Love ya'll, JC

lefthandedjoyce 2013-02-01 22:00:55 -0600 Report

Get the "Old Food Pyramid" and post on your refrig for a good go to daily reference and learning to read labels for sodium content, saturated fat, trans fats & (of course) carbs. Sounds like a lot of drudge work—- but remember Rome was not built in a day and learning to be a savey, healthy meal planner takes a few weeks for it to be second nature (Behavior Modication in the dietary world). Love ya'll, JC

MrsCDogg 2013-01-31 10:13:41 -0600 Report

I find that carb counting and portion control works best for me. I just feel so much better when I don't have the starchy and sugary foods.

alanbossman 2013-01-30 15:44:22 -0600 Report

Well I still am carb counting and protion size meals also working out at the gym

MAYS 2013-01-30 20:46:43 -0600 Report

Carb counting and portion control are winning methods that work well for you, not to mention working out at the gym periodically, getting prepared for another successful softball season?
Time to clear a space on the mantle, or in the trophy case for another championship trophy this year!


jigsaw 2013-01-30 05:30:45 -0600 Report

All three! Better safe then sorry, and very thorough!

MAYS 2013-01-30 06:13:06 -0600 Report

Very thorough indeed, and i agree, better safe than sorry!
Whichever method works, or whatever combination of methods proves to be effective in managing one's diabetes the bottom line is managing it!
Well said Jigsaw, well said!

Set apart
Set apart 2013-01-28 20:23:27 -0600 Report

Mays I count carbs and usually stick the same foods. This works or me, I watch my portions automatically and serve my foods on a smaller plate. My favorite meal is breakfast. I loved Dr. Bernsteins book, but also find the can't have list a bit extreme. I love some fruit which are the main carbs I allow myself to eat along with some legumes. Carbs are for energy and we all need them. If I don't eat some carbs I begin to feel sluggish and fatigued.

MrsCDogg 2013-01-31 10:16:26 -0600 Report

I find the more starchy stuff I eat the worse I feel. I feel slugish, and have "brain fog" constantly. I stick to non-starchy veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, green beans and the like along with chicken, fish, beef and pork and eggs.

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:26:34 -0600 Report

Set Apart, I see that you use a little of each method, and that's fine it works for you!
I believe that carbs have gotten a bad rap in the managemenof diabetes, you are correct in saying that carbs are a great energy source, many diabetics consume high carbs but do not put those carbs to good use such as exercising, physical activity of some sort, calculating carbs for energy can be a bit tricky (trial and error) but once we figure out how much is needed for us as individuals it makes diabetes management so much easier!
I agree, breakfast is a very, very important meal, it sets the tone for the day by fueling the body, everyone has their own method which works for them and it's important to do so, diabetes management would be great if it was a "One size fits all" but we both know that it isn't!

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Lizardfan 2013-01-28 14:35:08 -0600 Report

Can I answer *All of the above*? LOL! I follow Weight Watchers, but mostly I eat to my numbers as for carbs etc. But calories do count.

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:16:56 -0600 Report

If that is your answer, yes!
A believe that we take a little of each method (without knowing it) and apply it in managing our diabetes, and I agree that calories do count!

sassyirish mom
sassyirish mom 2013-01-28 14:30:02 -0600 Report

I'm new to being diabetic . I've been doin good but my blood sugars have been dropping badly lately ex specially after I eat . Why is that?

Lizardfan 2013-01-30 15:15:56 -0600 Report

Medication? Timing? Too little carbs or too much exercise for amount of food eaten etc. Hard to tell without knowing more. That would be the reasons mine would do that.

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:15:03 -0600 Report

Welcome to the family!
Being a diabetic is a learning experience, once you can find the "right" method for you, things will be ok, diabetes management is not a "one size fits all" method, we each have to find out what works for us and working closely with your diabetes medical management team will go a long way towards helping you to manage your diabetes.
Communicate well with them, ask questions, seek answers, explore new methods and incorporate something from all of them (if necessary) the beauty of diabetes is this, you are in control of managing it!

GabbyPA 2013-01-28 21:55:07 -0600 Report

It depends on many things. Could be your treatment plan, your diet, your exercise.
What are you doing to control your levels?

HeidiLynne 2013-01-29 06:32:18 -0600 Report

I usually do the same too, portions on smaller plates …but making sure I get enough protein
for each meal!

GabbyPA 2013-01-29 09:54:09 -0600 Report

I can't recall the last time I used the "dinner" plates in my set. We have eaten off smaller plates for years, even before I was diagnosed. However, you have to be sure that you don't keep refilling those smaller plates. LOL

GabbyPA 2013-01-27 16:45:32 -0600 Report

I am on the carb counting wagon. Like Sandy says, if I am lowering my carbs and don't go too nuts on the proteins, my calorie intake drops enough for me to have lost a large amount of weight.

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:08:49 -0600 Report

Gabby, Congratulations on your weight loss!
Do you think that lowering your protein intake has a lot to do with you managing your blood glucose level as well as weight control?

GabbyPA 2013-01-29 09:57:54 -0600 Report

To be honest, the less I focus on loosing weight the better I do. Go figure. When I am focusing on lower glucose numbers, I tend to loose weight. I just recently got back into weight loss mode. Thank goodness. I have been stuck for over a year. But I'm hoping that the excitement of that loss recently will keep me going.

We have cut back on protein as a whole in the family due to budgets more than anything else. I have to make that pound of whatever go a lot further than I used to. But I really have to restrict my carbs. No matter if they are good ones or not. That is the trick to my success with glucose and weight.

SandySilvers 2013-01-26 18:37:41 -0600 Report

I count my carbs first and foremost. I've found the right number of carbs per day for me (at this point). But I've also found that if I eat the right kind of "carby" foods that the other two fit well with my low carb meals. I've managed to lose a good deal of weight (41 lbs so far) by eating lower carb and the lower calories just happen to be a nice bonus. And I eat enough to feel full because of my carb choices, so I don't have to worry AS much about portion control.

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:06:32 -0600 Report

Congratulations on the weight loss!
Being a carb counter and knowing your limit to maintain control has proven to be beneficial on many fronts for you, eating enough to feel full is not stressed enough (in my opinion) to diabetics, continue your method, you are showing such positive results!

SandySilvers 2013-01-29 07:24:46 -0600 Report

I couldn't agree more! When I started eating lower carb, I was afraid that I would never feel full (which could lead me to cheat). I was totally wrong. By replacing all of the sweets and sugars with fruits and vegetables, I can actually eat less, but feel just as full after a meal (if not more so). And of course the lower calories are the added bons. And thank you for the encouragement!

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:36:10 -0600 Report

The encouragement comes from you, and others here at DC!
I love this discussion because it shows that different methods (or a combination of) work, that there is no "one" method and we have to find out which one works for us, and to have testimony from "Family" and "Friends" here at DC goes a long way towards helping others to experiment and determine which method is for them, after all diabetes is an "individuals" disease and should be treated as such.

SandySilvers 2013-01-29 10:05:47 -0600 Report

LOL it actually depends for me. I've found that I can eat liberal amounts of my two favorite veggies - green beans and broccoli. But I'm a little more careful with my other faves (like squash). I stick to about 4-5 ounces of chicken and beef. It all depends on you and your body and how in control you are. Ive also lost a good deal of weight and my metabolism is much better now, which makes a difference. I never realized how much I could learn from my own body until I really started listening.

GabbyPA 2013-01-29 10:09:12 -0600 Report

You hit the nail on the head here. We need to listen to our bodies. They talk to us every day and we tend to be so busy we ignore it. Or we rationalize it away. Eventually, if you ignore it long enough, it will start screaming and we will listen because we have no choice. It's so much better if we have dialogue in the start.

Nick1962 2013-01-26 18:29:06 -0600 Report

Portion control definately, food labeling to track carb and sugar content, and while I don't "count" carbs anymore (I know my limits), carb reduction is certaily right up there.

MAYS 2013-01-29 07:01:06 -0600 Report

Do you think that a "multi method" of food control is better than a single method of doing so?

Nick1962 2013-01-29 08:09:47 -0600 Report

Absolutely. Life and our bodies are constantly changing so picking just one method may work for a time, eventually that will need to be readjusted given circumstances.

old biker
old biker 2013-01-26 14:55:33 -0600 Report

I am another fan of Dr Bernsteins "diabetes solution " reading that book was the game changer for me..While his diet plan is a little EXTREME for me, no more than 30 carbs Total a day..There is a list of foods that you can eat and another list of what you should never eat.. I don't carb count I practice portion control based on his list and my numbers went down over night and I lost 20 pounds

MAYS 2013-01-26 18:26:43 -0600 Report

How is your progress towards eliminating your smoking habit coming along?
(I read that on your profile page)

old biker
old biker 2013-01-26 19:58:12 -0600 Report

I had to quit for health reasons not because I wanted to which makes it hard..But to answer your question it has been 32 days smoke free

CJ55 2013-02-01 01:42:26 -0600 Report

old biker.. Congratulations !!!!!!! I am sorry for the "Health Reaasons", but happy you were able to quit and have been smoke free 30 + days!! Great Job my friend..

MAYS 2013-01-27 05:08:34 -0600 Report

Regardless of the reason that you quit smoking, you stopped and that is a plus for you and an inspiration for us all here at "DC" smokers and non smokers alike!
Allocades are in order and respectfukky given, "Congratulations" on being 30+ days smoke free!

2013-01-26 22:04:26 -0600 Report

Congrats old biker on a month of no cigs!! It's a hard habit to break. I remember when I quit. It was harder than hell. I quit cold turkey. Is that how you did it?

old biker
old biker 2013-01-27 07:34:41 -0600 Report

No actually I started cutting back 4 months ago and went on chantix..Quiting is something I have been working on for awhile..They say the third times a charm..I hope they are right

MAYS 2013-01-26 18:24:48 -0600 Report

The same author, same book, different methods but positive results for glucose control!
The proof is in your testimony (as well as your over night results) glad to hear about your progress with your glucose control as well as your weight loss!

Type1Lou 2013-01-26 13:00:58 -0600 Report

I'm a definite carb-counter convert. Reading Dr Richard Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution" opened my eyes to the role carbs play in our blood sugar levels.

MAYS 2013-01-26 18:21:38 -0600 Report

A very good book indeed!
We have to work at what we need to do for ourselves as diabetics, and counting carbs may seem like a lot of work but it gets easier as we go along, there has got to be an easier way but we work with what we have!

manapua72 2013-01-26 12:36:52 -0600 Report

My favorite is carb counting since its a requirement in using an insulin pump … I need to do the calorie and portion control stuff too … My blood sugars r soooo much better but I REALLY need to get some weight off and I'm having a hard time … My biggest problem is I LOVE to eat …