How to Teach Carb Counting

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When you know the basics of the carb counting program and carbohydrate exchange system, you can teach others to monitor their carbohydrate consumption so they get a maximum of 15 grams per day. A registered and licensed dietitian explains the technique in this free video on nutritional calculations.

Part of the Video Series: Nutritional Calculations
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Charlotte Lawson, a registered and licensed dietitian. Now, if you're a diabetic, or you know someone that's diabetic, you may have heard the term carb counting and wondering how do I teach someone this, how do I learn myself? Well, I'm going to give you the basics as far as the carb counting program and carbohydrate exchange system. There are a couple different food groups that provide us with carbohydrates. First are your breads and your starches. These are the most familiar to people. You know these are your grains, your pastas, your rice, any sort of grain like that. Now also, we get carbohydrates from our fruits, as they have a naturally occurring sweetness and also the dairy group. Most people kind of forget this one, but lactose actually is a sugar and does provide us those carbohydrates. Now, certain milk products for instance the cheese, or lactose free, will not have that sugar. So, those are a little bit of an exception to that food group, if you will. So keeping in mind, we have starches, fruits, and dairy. We want to look at the amount of these products. Now typically, a carbohydrate counting system or a diabetic diet is really going to enforce an even amount of consistent carbohydrates. And when we do carbohydrate choices, we have a magic number of 15 grams. Now each of these different portions per food group is supposedly broken down into that 15 gram carbohydrate. Now, this is the ideal amount to bring someone back up from a low blood sugar, or also to monitor in a gradual blood sugar increase. So, say for instance you met with a dietitian or a physician that puts you on a diabetic diet and they say you're allotted three carbohydrate choices per breakfast for breakfast. Now, you could choose one slice of bread, as that's about 15 grams, you could choose a half a cup of fruit, again as that's about 15 grams, or you maybe you want two cups or excuse me, two servings of fruit, so you choose one full cup. Depending on how you want to mix and match as long as it's about 15 grams, that's a choice. For instance, you could do two full cups of cereal and get about two and a half carbohydrate choices. And those are your choices even though it's kind of one portion of cereal for you. So, let me reiterate. Fifteen grams is really the magic number. Try to keep your carbohydrate consumption consistent throughout the day. Meaning try to avoid long periods of time without eating, and also monitoring those three food groups that contain the carbohydrates. Now that's just a little bit of information, check with the dietitian in your area or check out the American Diabetes Association for some excellent information on carbohydrate counting and the diabetic diet. I'm Charlotte, and eat happy.


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