Since controlling blood sugar levels is the key cornerstone to managing diabetes and the symptoms of diabetes, planning your meals and knowing the composition of the food consumed is very important for any diabetic. It is also important to note that one food that is eaten alone may affect the blood glucose levels differently than when that food is eaten in combination with another.
Because of differences in biology, one meal plan may not work for all diabetics and a consultation with a doctor is very important to create an individualized meal plan for a diabetic to follow. Experimenting with various combinations of foods may be necessary to determine what works for you best to control your blood sugar levels and keep diabetes and the symptoms of diabetes at bay.
Impact of Carbohydrates
Blood sugar levels are greatly impacted by carbohydrates when the carbs are converted to simple sugars (glucose) and released into the blood stream to be distributed to the various cells in the body to provide the needed fuel or energy for daily activities. Consuming too many carbohydrates can significantly increase blood glucose levels and thereby overwhelming the body and leading to the various symptoms of diabetes as well as diabetes related complications including a diabetic coma that may prove fatal.
A diabetic meal should include a proper balance of carbohydrates and also include a suitable amount of proteins and fats. It is important to remember that fat should be kept at less than 30% of total daily calories. Fat should not be totally eliminated since the body does need certain "good" fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Try to eliminate "bad" fats such as trans fats and saturated fats. Fiber is also very important at every meal.
Most of the foods consumed contain carbohydrates and this will usually be the largest food group eaten. Foods contained in this food group include grains (e.g. rice, cereal, bread, pasta), starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, corn), other vegetables, dairy (milk, yogurt), fruits as well as fruit juices and desserts that may be consumed in limited quantities.
Reading food labels is important in order to determine the amount of carbohydrates as well as the amount of carbohydrates per serving sizes. Food labels will usually breakdown the compositions of each serving size and you have to consider how realistic the serving size is before purchasing any food item.
When carb counting, it is general practice to consider 15 grams of carbohydrates as one serving. This means that if you are interested in consuming some crackers, you would need to read the food label to determine how many you will need in order to control your carbohydrate intake. If the food label states that one serving size is 20 crackers and the total grams of carbs for this serving size are 30, this will mean two servings for a diabetic (15 grams x 2). The diabetic will then need to consume only 10 crackers for one serving of carbohydrates of 15 grams.
When working with raw ingredients, there are various tools on the market that will help a diabetic to control the amount of carbs consumed at each meal. The more a diabetic learns to counts carbs, the easier it shall become making the process of managing diabetes and the symptoms of diabetes easier and easier.