Thursday, August 5, 2010

Counting Carbs

Counting carbs is part of a good diabetes regulation. In the States people with diabetes have been counting carbs for decades. Not all Belgians are familiar with carb counting, although it's not that difficult. And it's a great way to estimate your daily carb intake.

The easiest way to count carbs is to read labels. You check the amount of carbs in 100 gr of the product you purchased. Determine the amount of the product you will eat (use your scale!). Say you'll eat 30 gr of a product that contains 76 gr of carbs. Using the rule of three, this is how you count the carb content of your meal:

100 gr of this product = 76 gr of carbs
1 gr of this product = 0.76 gr of carbs
30 gr of this product = 22.8 gr of carbs (you can make that 30)

So your meal consists of 23 gr of carbs. Easy right?

It's trickier if no information of carb content on the package is available or if there is no package at all. That's where a Food Database comes in handy. You can purchase one in a bookstore, but there are also Food Databases online you can use for free. I have a friend who made a Food Database available on the cell phone. No need to go online. You download the Database and then it's always available on your mobile phone. It comes in different languages and it's really handy.

You will still need a scale. Track down the product in the Food Database. Let's say a product contains 58 gr of carbs. Put the product on the scale, to check the weight.  Use the same rule to find out what the carb content of your meal is.

100 gr of this product = 58 gr of carbs
1 gr of this product = 0.58 gr of carbs
65 gr of this product = 37.7 gr of carbs (38)

Some labels also specify the amount of carbs per portion. That's even better! No calculating, no need for a scale. As long as you stick to one portion or a derivative from that portion.

I would say: give it a try. Go for it. Get to know the carb contents of the foods you regularly eat. It's not as hard as you think. It'll help you find out what type of food you can have and what products you'd better avoid. And it will help you get better control.

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