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klvflwrgrdn2
Total Posts: 14
Registered on: ‎02-16-2014

Counting Carbs

I'm a bit confused regarding counting carbs. My son had medication induced diabetes from chemo and we were told that 15g carbs is equal to 1 carb towards his 6 carb meal. Now that I'm a diabetic, I am not sure if I should follow that or if there is another (better?) way to count my carbs. I was diagnosed on 2/14/14 with A1c of 9.9 and have kept my numbers under 200 for most of the past week.I take 500mg Metformin 2x day. I have also lost 3 lbs and am now down to 102.

 

Super Advisor
TikTok2
Total Posts: 2,074
Registered on: ‎05-13-2013

Re: Counting Carbs

I count ~15-20 grams of carbs as 1, but for me, that's one serving, and that's all I eat carb-wise at any one meal or snack. But that's me and what my body can tolerate.

 

TikTok2

• Diabetes on both sides of my family.
• Assumed trouble metabolizing sugar as long as I can remember; migraines induced by hunger, very sleepy after meals high in carbohydrates from childhood. Learned how to avoid sugar and lots of complex carbs early on.
• Since early 2000s, "prediabetes" controlled through low carb diet and exercise, mostly walking. FBG 95-105, A1c below 6; glucose tolerance test was borderline.
• But weight drifted upwards but working on it.
• NAFLD brought under control with pravastatin.
• Metformin ER, 500 mg, started sept 2013 when A1c reached 6.5 despite diet and exercise regiment since early 2000s. A1c back down to ~6.0.
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russ_k
Total Posts: 37
Registered on: ‎01-28-2014

Re: Counting Carbs


klvflwrgrdn2 wrote:

I'm a bit confused regarding counting carbs. My son had medication induced diabetes from chemo and we were told that 15g carbs is equal to 1 carb towards his 6 carb meal. Now that I'm a diabetic, I am not sure if I should follow that or if there is another (better?) way to count my carbs. I was diagnosed on 2/14/14 with A1c of 9.9 and have kept my numbers under 200 for most of the past week.I take 500mg Metformin 2x day. I have also lost 3 lbs and am now down to 102.

 


Hi,

 

I think the 1 carb choice = 15 grams of carbs was implemented to help simplify the arithmetic, not sure it does that, but it is what it is. For example, if the label on a food product says each serving has 30 grams of carbohydrate, each serving would be 2 carb choices.  Watch the serving size - lots of packages you'd think are one serving are actually more.

 

The right number of carbs per meal or snack will vary from person to person based on gender, size, activity level, whether or not they need to lose weight, medications and probably many other things. So, it's unlikely your son's carb levels for meals will be right for you.  If I had to guess, I'd say 6 carb choices or 90 grams of carb per meal is high, but I'm far from an expert and don't have the expertise or the information needed to come up with a plan.

 

If you haven't been to one, recommend asking your doctor to prescribe diabetes education or at least a consultation with a dietician.  The classes have been extremely helpful for me.  During the first session the dietician sat down with us one on one, asked a lot of questions about activity level, daily schedule, general health and came up with a meal plan with number of carb choices per meal and snack.  That was a good starting place for fine tuning with blood glucose readings - your meter readings will tell you whether you're on the right track.

 

You don't say whether you're on three meals a day or meals plus snacks.  In our class, the dietician said it's helpful to spread your food intake out over the day, i.e. add snacks between meals but cut down on size and carb count of the meals.  For example, I eat three meals per day along with small morning and afternoon snacks.

 

Hopefully one of the more experienced members here will come along with some more information for you.

 

Best regards, Russ

Valued Contributor
marty1955
Total Posts: 8,306
Registered on: ‎05-12-2013

Re: Counting Carbs


klvflwrgrdn2 wrote:

I'm a bit confused regarding counting carbs. My son had medication induced diabetes from chemo and we were told that 15g carbs is equal to 1 carb towards his 6 carb meal. Now that I'm a diabetic, I am not sure if I should follow that or if there is another (better?) way to count my carbs. I was diagnosed on 2/14/14 with A1c of 9.9 and have kept my numbers under 200 for most of the past week.I take 500mg Metformin 2x day. I have also lost 3 lbs and am now down to 102.

 


Hi!  I count the actual carbohydrate grams since I consider it to be more accurate than carb choices.  Since I remake a lot of recipes to lower carb grams, I would find it impossible to use the carb choices.  It also pays to learn how to count carb grams if you ever go on insulin.  The carb choices is actually the old style of computing carbs. 

 

No matter how you count, you will need to determine your own meal plan.  There is no set amount of carbs that covers all of us.  For instance, using your system, I would eat 1 carb choice at both breakfast and lunch, by dinner I would eat 1 1/2 carb choices and 1 carb choice for my evening snack.  My meal plan was based on my meter readings before meals and at my peak rise PP.  If you would like to learn more about testing, click here:http://lizzysdlounge.com/2012/04/14/getting-started/.  

"The road to success is always under construction."
- Lily Tomlin

01/2013 - diagnosed with T2 and hypothyroidism
A1c - 7.2
04/16/2013 - A1c 6.1
07/24/2013 - A1c 5.8 (bayernow)
09/21/2013 - A1c 5.6 (bayernow)
10/10/2013 - A1c 5.7
04/30/2014 - A1c 5.5
500 mg Metformin/1 per day
Low Carb
Beginning weight - 183
08/27/2013 - 143
10/03/2013 - 141
12/05/2013 - 138
Blood Pressure 12/05/2013 - 118/60
Blood Pressure 02/2014 - 106/54 (too low, medication cut to maintenance dose)
Blood Pressure 04/29/2014 - 110/65
T2 paternal grandmother, father, two sisters, my current and my ex husband

mollythed
Total Posts: 5,830
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Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: Counting Carbs

Yes, carb choices, or exchanges as they are sometimes called, are designed to be about 15 grams of carbs.  Well, for some strange reason, dairy products have only 12 grams per serving. I think that is just because an eight ounce glass of milk has 12 grams, and it is such a well established serving size for milk. The ideas of choices rather than counting by exact weights goes back to a time a few years, back before lots of people had computers and could look up exact carb counts on line and before we had nutrition labels on packaged foods.  They were meant to be a fairly easy way for people to learn appropriate serving sizes and keep track of what they were eating.  Nowadays, lots of us, especially on this forum, would rather count the actual weight of the carbs in our foods to get a more precise number.

 

If you want to use grams instead of choices to keep track of carbs, yes, you can just multiply the number of choices by 15, so, for instance, four choices would be 60 grams.

 

That brings up another issue.  The recommended number of carb choices may well be less than what we have been eating, but it still may be more than our bodies can handle without producing higher blood glucose than we would like to see.  We look at those recommendations from a dietician or diabetes educator as just an approximate starting point. While some dieticians might be happy enough to just add meds to help you handle all those carbs they recommend, a lot of us would rather lower the amount of carbs we eat so that we can get by without meds or with fewer meds. We manage to do that by doing a lot of testing of blood glucose before and after meals to find out how we actually respond to the food we eat and then lowering our carb intake to a point where we see the results we want.


"Molly" (aka mollythed)
Type 2 diabetes diagnosed in 1995, now managed with Lantus, Humalog and Metformin; diet and exercise.
My husband and three adult sons also have type 2 diabetes.





Trusted Contributor
maryd98
Total Posts: 5,659
Registered on: ‎08-07-2012

Re: Counting Carbs


klvflwrgrdn2 wrote:

I'm a bit confused regarding counting carbs. My son had medication induced diabetes from chemo and we were told that 15g carbs is equal to 1 carb towards his 6 carb meal. Now that I'm a diabetic, I am not sure if I should follow that or if there is another (better?) way to count my carbs. I was diagnosed on 2/14/14 with A1c of 9.9 and have kept my numbers under 200 for most of the past week.I take 500mg Metformin 2x day. I have also lost 3 lbs and am now down to 102.

 


Hi, klv,

 

First off, congratulations on lowering your numbers and losing weight! :smileyhappy: I think the change in your BG numbers is most likely from your change in eating habits, as metformin usually takes a while to kick in...but it may have started working its magic already, now that you've taken it for about two weeks.

 

I've followed an "exchange plan" since my diagnosis and have had good results.

 

One thing I like about the exchange plan I follow (which, like yours, considers 15 g carb = 1 serving) is that it divides all foods into various groups, so that instead of looking at "just carbs" I'm looking at carbs from various sources and making sure I've got a balance of starchy foods, fruit, etc.

 

For me that's really helpful, 'cause I could easily slip into eating little to no fruit and veggies. :smileytongue:

 

And as has been pointed out, sometimes 1 serving is not exactly 15 g carbs, but on my plan it's never over 15 g carbs.

 

Here's a link to a chart for counting carbs by food groups; it's very similar to what I was given at diagnosis. Maybe you already have something like this?

 

\\http://iuhealth.org/images/ril-doc-upl/Carbohydrate%20Counting%20Food%20List.pdf

 

  • Notice that there are two lists for veggies: starchy and non-starchy. Personally, I eat as much as I want of the non-starchy veggies, but I limit the starchy ones (or avoid them completely and get my carbs elsewhere).
  • If you eat any kind of packaged foods, go by what the package says in terms of the carbs, rather than by this chart.
  • Check out the "nutrition label" on the package which lists grams of carbs; don't go by the claims of "low carb" or "sugar free" (or anything like that) on the package.
  • Pay attention to the serving size listed on the package too--very important.

 

Till next time,
maryd98
the diabetic formerly known as 14 and counting, aka Mary
-----------------------------------
Diagnosed T2 July 1998
First A1C (July 1998): 13.6
First BG (July 1998): 537
Latest A1C (August 2014): 5.7
On oral meds for about 9 months after diagnosis
"Just" diet and exercise for 15+ years
lizzylou
Total Posts: 13,929
Topics: 564
High Fives: 1,987
Solutions: 142
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: Counting Carbs


klvflwrgrdn2 wrote:

I'm a bit confused regarding counting carbs. My son had medication induced diabetes from chemo and we were told that 15g carbs is equal to 1 carb towards his 6 carb meal. Now that I'm a diabetic, I am not sure if I should follow that or if there is another (better?) way to count my carbs. I was diagnosed on 2/14/14 with A1c of 9.9 and have kept my numbers under 200 for most of the past week.I take 500mg Metformin 2x day. I have also lost 3 lbs and am now down to 102.

 


Carb choices is such an old antiquated method that I really didn't think it was still being taught.  As an adult I'm sure you're capable of simple arithmetic, so why not count the actual carbs?  To me that would give you much more flexibility instead of the extra step.

 

Also the number of carbs you were told might be much more than your body can actually handle. There's no way that most of us could handle 90 carbs per meal, not even close.  You need to use your meter to find how many carbs are right for your body at this time.  

 

Here's a method that will show you how to do that, plus links to a carb counting site which includes ALL foods as well as many restaurant meals:  click here

 

Lizzy  

Knowledge is Power!





Here's some useful links, click on the titles


Testing 101
 
 All About Carbs

Resources For The Un-insured and Discount Medicine and Equipment

LizzyLou Videos



Lizzy's Blog
for lots more