Managing my carbohydrate intake took practice
One of the first things I learned when I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was that I needed to monitor my carbohydrate intake. Staying within the recommended guidelines would help me control my blood sugar and my weight. Easy enough concept, right? But in practice, it takes some education and steps to modify my eating behaviors.
At diabetic education classes, I learned to recognize the proper serving sizes for various types of foods, and how many servings per meal I should have. A serving equals 15 grams of carbohydrate, and I was told to have four to five servings, or 60 to 75 grams of carbohydrate per meal, or 45 to 60 grams for weight loss. I got a chart for fresh produce carb values, but for canned, boxed, or other packaged foods, I had to learn to read labels. Once I got the hang of it, food shopping became a whole different experience.
Reading labels helps me manage my carbohydrate intake
The two most critical items on the label are the serving size and the grams of carbohydrate per serving. Manufacturers are tricky, packaging something that looks like one serving, but then assigning a carb value of just half of it and calling it two servings. I also learned to compare products. I found a great low-carb yogurt that has just four grams of carbs as opposed to 15 for a lite yogurt or 35 for a regular yogurt. Bread products also vary widely, depending on the bakery.
There are other values on the label to consider, such as the amount of saturated fat (bad) and fiber (good). Sugar is also listed, but it is just a subset of the carbohydrate total. With a little practice, label reading became second nature, and by paying attention to what I buy and eat, I have much better blood sugar control.