What Is Carb Counting: Carb counting is a relatively new method of managing diabetes. Prior to quite recently, diabetes was usually managed by placing the patient on a restrictive diet which essentially meant that there were certain foods and certain types of foods which the person could not eat. If he was motivated enough to take his health seriously, the patient simply abided by this diet, avoiding those foods completely.
Carb counting is more complicated! Instead of placing certain foods as “off-limits,” this newer method encourages the patient to monitor the number of carbohydrates which he consumes. He will find that there are a certain number of grams of carbohydrates in many types of food products, and learns how to monitor the number which he is allowed to consume.
With this method, there is far less emphasis on the difference between simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, which are found in food products that contain fructose, sucrose, and glucose, and present the most serious potential for problems and complications in a diabetic, are no longer completely off-limits to most diabetics who elect to manage their condition with the carb counting method.
While no longer having one’s diet restricted may sound like a dream-come-true to many diabetics, carb counting is not necessarily as positive and problem-free as a person might hope. One of the most important repercussions of being free to consume foods which were formerly forbidden is that when the diabetic allows himself to consume simple carbohydrates, for which the body has little use and little nutritional value, he must balance out his food choices by limiting complex-carbohydrate foods which are much healthier. In other words, you can have your candy or cake or sodapop– but you will have to balance that out by having fewer vegetables, pasta, and bread. Most people can easily see that the types of food products which contain complex carbohydrates have much more nutritional value and overall health benefits than those which provide simple carbohydrates!
In addition to the common-sense manner of looking at it from the viewpoint of optimal health, there is also the factor of inconvenience. While many people would readily consider the prospect of being able to eat nearly anything they wish to be well worth the inconvenience of consistently keeping track of their carbohydrate intake, many others would not think it to be worth such effort at all. This factor, of course, is up to one’s individual preference.
If you wish to try carb counting, how should you begin? Until you have become well-acquainted with the specific information for the foods that you eat on a regular basis, starting this endeavor will include weighing or measuring each product that you eat, checking the package label or a book to find how many grams of carbohydrates the item contains, and keeping an accurate record of your carbohydrate consumption. It is also essential to note that such factors as your weight, gender, and activity level all play a role in determining the number of grams you need per day.
You may not yet be certain as to whether you want to try carb counting. Perhaps the best way of looking at the subject is that it is a choice between being able to eat nearly anything you want and eating what is the best for your overall health. For example, you will find that the carbohydrate content of a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae is only a little higher than a serving of fresh potatoes– and it is not difficult to see which source of carbs will give you the most nutrition and health benefits!