Wednesday, May 22, 2013

# Carb Counting Diet with Diabetes

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I love carbohydrates. I crave them. My idea of a perfect lunch would include a plateful of cheesy, creamy risotto followed by a rich chocolate mousse and a basket of hot bread that is so large that I could crawl inside its fluffy warm middle and take a nap.

It’s a cruel trick that what I desire most is likely the worst thing, as a type 2 diabetic, that I could eat.

However, I cross that things-I-should-eat \things-I-shouldn’t-eat line often because I can’t PROVE an item is bad for me because I can’t figure out the mathematical equations that have become my meals.

[DISCLOSURE: In elementary school I was in advanced reading but remedial math.

I also failed calculus my last semester of college and hence, didn’t graduate as planned. There is a happy ending, though. Thanks to a pushy boss, I did go back to school. Thankfully, I passed the class and went on with my life. At any rate, have patience with me on the mathematics. ]

We all know we should eat healthy, nutritious foods. We all know we should limit fat and cholesterol and not get crazy with the protein. We all know that we need to control portion sizes and ultimately, calorie consumption. Where I get lost is “balancing” carbohydrates. What does that mean anyway?

I’m discovering that first you have to ask “how many carbs do I need”? This is followed by learning what foods are carbs and estimating how many grams of carbs there are in any given food and if you are making decisions based on an “exchange” system, what group is that food item a part of and how many exchanges is that food item (usually 15g counts as an exchange)?

In my case, the nutritionist I met with after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes suggested that 45 % of my daily calorie intake should be made up of healthy carbs such as brown rice and whole grain bread. If I am dieting and moderately active (i.e. getting my butt to the gym or outside doing some physical activity) in an effort to lose 50 lbs this 45% would be approximately 161 grams of carbohydrates a day or just over 50 grams per meal.

Logging my meals for the last three weeks has shown me that either I’m eating too many carbs at one time or not enough. Ugh. Of course, this would be but one explanation as to why my blood sugar is wonky throughout the day.

Here’s an example of one day’s meals:

Breakfast:       Two tacos (egg and potato and bean and cheese) = 37.5 grams of carbs

Lunch:            Chopped salad (w/chicken) = 32 grams (how?)

½ bag of Baked Lay’s = 15 grams

Dinner:           6 California rolls (the closest I get to sushi) = 48 grams