How many carbs can I eat per day?

Question: How many grams of carbohydrates can I have in a day?

Answer: Answering this question depends on several things including your calorie needs, activity level and more. A registered dietitian can give you an individualized answer. In general, however, I don't give daily carbohydrate recommendations for people with diabetes. Rather I give target amounts for each meal and snack because each eating event affects your blood glucose. If, for example, you saved up most of a daily carb allowance, so you could eat a large amount at dinner, you'd likely have low blood glucose early in the day and high blood glucose after dinner. Your friends without diabetes can probably get away with saving up, but people with diabetes usually cannot.

I often see that my patients with diabetes do well with 45 - 60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. The only way to know if this is the proper amount for you to test your blood glucose frequently. Figuring all of this out takes some patience and detective work.

I really encourage you to work with a registered dietitian who is experienced in diabetes care and treatment.

About Jill Weisenberger

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss: Week by Week (American Diabetes Association, 2012). She serves as contributing editor of Environmental Nutrition. A recognized speaker and consultant, Jill is recognized for her practical advice and desires to help others improve their eating habits, to lose weight and to live healthier lives.

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