Oh, that four letter word…CARB.

Whether we like it or not, it has become one of the most used words in our vocabulary right next to BG and A1c. It actually is more a friend then you think and learning how to count them can help you keep better control of your testing numbers.

Many of you know that my all time favorite video here is the pin cushion guy and he makes it so simple. And in all fairness, it is pretty simple once you get the basics.

The idea of using exchanges or 1 serving = 15g of carbs is how I got started.
The ADA (www.diabetes.org) offers an exchange book for free and it is a great foundation. It worked to get me started without overwhelming me as much.

So if 1 cup of sliced strawberries = 15g of carb = 1 serving.

So lets say breakfast your doctor told you to eat between 15-45 g of carbs in that meal. That equals 1-3 servings.
So if you have an egg, 1 slice of whole grain toast, a fruit cup and some coffee how will that work out?
egg= zero carbs = 0 servings
whole grain bread = 22g carbs = 2 servings
fruit cup = 18 g of carb = 1 serving
Coffee black = zero carbs = 0 servings
Add some butter to your toast and some stevia to your coffee and you are on target.

This is where you really have to read labels and pay attention to what a serving is and how many carbs are in it. You can get a low carb bread that might have only 12 grams of carb per slice. Maybe you could have two slices of toast if you make sure your fruit doesn't exceed a serving. Now you do have to watch out for the creep in carbs. Such as a bit of jelly, even sugar free, will have some carbs, that you might want on your toast. So could that splash of milk you add to your coffee. So just make sure you are looking at all your labels. It is a pain at first, but as you find your safe "go to" foods it gets easier.

Always revisit your labels and your carb servings as things change. I have found that it is not good for me to eat many carbs at all in breakfast. My body doesn't like it and I tend to spike in the morning on foods that later in the day don't seem to bother me.

When you are learning what carbs do to your levels, keep your log at hand and test more often to see how your body reacts. You may find that there is a particular food that no matter how little you eat, it bothers you. For me, that is corn. At the same time, you may find out that a food everyone tells you is a no-no doesn't bother you as long as you keep your portions in line.

Read those labels, do your math, measure your food and test. Before you know it, you will be able to gauge a carb portion as you eat out. At least give you a fighting chance to win the carb counting game.

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