Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

Q:
I am trying to work out a meal plan to help me lose weight and keep my sugar under control. I would like to know what is considered a low carb plan. Or perhaps the best way to ask my question is, how many carbs are considered normal in a daily meal plan. I want to try to limit my carbs and fat intake, therefore I need to know the amount of carbs considered "low".

A:
A maintenance intake of 100 grams of carbohydrates/day is considered to be physiologically necessary. This is the equivalent of 4 pieces of bread, 2 fruits and 1 cup cooked veggies.

An intake that is "low carbohydrate" for one person may not be for another. The form of carbohydrate is another consideration: legumes and whole grains will not impact blood glucoses to the same extent as refined foods like white rice, bagels, sodas, pastas and even juice. Legumes (dried beans and lentils) are a balance of carbohydrate, protein and fiber. High protein intakes, particularly of "flesh" origin, can be hard for the kidneys to process, in addition to building up a uric acid low in the body. Meal intakes that include lots of veggies will provide a healthier internal balance without raising blood sugars significantly.

And how can all this food juggling be handled so you don't feel so deprived to maintain your goals? EXERCISE! A 20 minute walk may be all you need to lower your glucose as much as 100 points while beefing up your lean tissue. The leaner you are, the better in control your blood sugars are. Be active and enjoy whole foods eating: you'll feel better!

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