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How Many Calories Should A Diabetic Have A Day

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How Do You Determine Your Optimal Carb Intake

How Many Carbs Should a Diabetic Eat?

To determine your ideal carb intake, measure your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter before a meal and again 12 hours after eating.

To prevent damage to your blood vessels and nerves, the maximum level your blood sugar should reach is 180 milligrams per deciliter , or 10 millimoles per liter , 2 hours after eating. However, you may want to aim for an even lower ceiling .

To achieve your blood sugar goals, you may need to restrict your carb intake to less than 10, 15, or 25 grams per meal. Also, you may find that your blood sugar rises more at certain times of the day, so your upper carb limit may be lower for dinner than for breakfast or lunch.

In general, the fewer carbs you consume, the less your blood sugar will rise and the less insulin or diabetes medication youll require to stay within a healthy range.

If you take insulin or diabetes medication, its very important to speak with a healthcare professional to ensure the appropriate dosage before reducing your carb intake.


Determining the optimal carb intake for diabetes management requires testing your blood sugar and making adjustments as needed based on your response, including how you feel.

Many studies support the use of carb restriction in people with diabetes. Research has confirmed that many levels of carb restriction can effectively lower blood sugar levels.

Factors That Impact Your Caloric Intake

A calorie is a measure of the energy in food.

To maintain your weight, energy in must equal energy out .

Eat fewer calories than you burn, and youll lose weight.

But if you consume more calories than you need, your body stores that energy for later .

Everybodys daily calorie needs are different, which can make it hard to figure out the magic number. In general, men need more calories than women. Active people need more than those who have desk jobs. And younger people need more than older people, whose metabolisms slow down as they age.

These factors can impact your caloric intake:

Tips For Healthy Eating Away From Home

Eating out is a way of life for many people. Many of these meals are purely a matter of convenience: a sandwich from the supermarket deli counter, drive-through burgers, or take-out Chinese food.

Although meal planning and weight loss can be more difficult when you eat out, you can step into a restaurant prepared. Try the following to make your dining experience as healthy as it is enjoyable:

Also Check: How To Count Carbs For Type 1 Diabetes

How Many Carbs Should Diabetics Eat

As a person with diabetes, counting how many carbohydrates you consume daily can be an essential part of your diabetes management. It helps you to control your blood sugar and understand how much sugar and starch are in your food. Doing this helps you plan the best way to eat so you can maintain steady blood sugar throughout the day and avoid fluctuation. Read more to learn about diabetes and carbohydrates.

As a diabetic person, you should try to get half of your daily calories from carbs. For example, if you consume 1,800 calories daily, you should aim for 900 calories in carbs a day. There are four calories per one gram of carbs, so that means you should aim to eat at least 200 grams of carbs. However, this dramatically differs between people based on how many calories they need to eat to maintain a healthy weight.

You should consult with a dietician or doctor to determine how many carbs per day you should be eating. Of course, certain lifestyle factors play into that, so make sure you update your provider as needed. Be sure to also get support from your medical team to find healthy recipes that match your carb needs.

You should eat the same amount of carbs in each meal. This helps keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. However, this can be mitigated if you are giving yourself multiple injections of insulin in a day.

Additionally, based on what type of disease you have, carb counting can be different. The differences are:

How To Find Your Body Fat Percentage

How Many Calories Should A Diabetic Woman Eat?

As you can see, calculating your daily calorie needs is actually pretty simple, as long as you know your body fat percentage. Most gyms should be able to measure that for you, or a trainer can give you a very good estimate just by looking.

You can also use a tape measure and this online calculator to estimate your body fat percentage. Its not as accurate, but you really only need an approximate number, so it should be good enough.

If you want a more accurate number , you can invest in a scale that measures body fat percentage . Its only $27.99 so its a worthwhile investment if you want to track your weight and body fat percentage.

Read Also: Is 119 High For Fasting Blood Sugar

How Much Should I Eat Daily To Control My Blood Sugar Levels With Diabetes

Modified: Jun 3, 2020 by Bridget Montgomery · This post may contain affiliate links ·

The types of food you eat, when you eat them, the timing of medications and even physical activity levels can all affect blood sugar levels. A good component to type 2 diabetesmanagement is keeping your blood sugar levels under control as best as possible. The road to management can be a challenging and winding one.

The day-to-day efforts you put in trying to ensure you maintain your target blood sugar levels, can sometimes seem like minute-to-minute efforts.

Youve learned how to check your blood sugar, what medications you should take, recommendations on what you should eat, but have you learned what foods work best for you and your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are the one consistent factor in diabetes management that everyone, including doctors can agree require more information on how to manage them more effectively.

Prevent Low Blood Glucose

Because physical activity lowers your blood glucose, you should protect yourself against low blood glucose levels, also called hypoglycemia. You are most likely to have hypoglycemia if you take insulin or certain other diabetes medicines, such as a sulfonylurea. Hypoglycemia also can occur after a long intense workout or if you have skipped a meal before being active. Hypoglycemia can happen during or up to 24 hours after physical activity.

Planning is key to preventing hypoglycemia. For instance, if you take insulin, your health care provider might suggest you take less insulin or eat a small snack with carbohydrates before, during, or after physical activity, especially intense activity.4

You may need to check your blood glucose level before, during, and right after you are physically active.

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What’s The Connection Between Carbs Insulin And Blood Sugar

When you eat foods with carbohydrates, the carbohydrate is broken down into glucose , which enters your bloodstream, raising the amount of sugar in your blood. This signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin then takes the sugar from your blood to your cells to be used for energy. Subsequently, the amount of sugar in your blood comes down. The next time you eat, this process happens again.

If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin properly, making it hard for your body to regulate the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. Because carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to rise, controlling your intake of carbohydrates helps control your blood sugar as well.

But here’s a little tip: While there are three types of carbohydratessugar, fiber and starchthey are not all digested the same.

Nonstarchy vegetables contain mostly fiber and little to no sugar, so they don’t raise your blood sugar very high, and therefore, not as much insulin needs to be released. So pile those nonstarchy vegetables on your plate!

How Do Diabetics Find The Amount Of Carbs For Their Food

How Many Carbohydrates(carbs) should a diabetic eat?

Most food products have food labels, from which you can simply read the number of carbs in them. However, suppose you need to know how many carbs something like a fruit or vegetable has. In that case, there is a wide range of apps, websites, and services from which you can get that information.

Two things that are important to remember when looking at nutrition labels are:

  • Serving size. Serving sizes are always outlined on the nutrition label, and they are estimates of how much a person should or would eat of the product in one sitting. However, this does not always reflect the amount you eat. Therefore, if you eat more or less of that serving size, you will need to reflect that in your calculations.
  • Total carbohydrates. Be sure to look at the number of total carbs in whatever you are eating. This number will also include the carbs from the added sugars and other ingredients, so you dont need to add those into your calculations. However, you should aim to eat food that does not contain added sugar in general.

Other dietary choices to make are to reduce your sugar intake, avoid adding excess salt while cooking, and limit your caffeine consumption. These choices can help to lower your blood pressure, and in turn, help lower your blood sugar.

Some foods that may increase your risk of high blood sugar may be safe in small portions. There’s even consistent evidence that moderate alcohol consumption may actually reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Recommended Reading: Type 1 Diabetes And Eating Disorders

How Do You Plan Your Carb Intake

Mapping out your daily meals can help you make sure you balance your carb intake appropriately.

Goals to keep in mind:

  • 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal or less
  • 15 to 30 grams of carbs per snack or less

Nutrition labels on packaged foods always list carbs per serving. If a food doesn’t have a label, consult a food journal app. These apps let you input foods and portion sizes to find the approximate number of carbs they contain.

It’s helpful to pair carbs with a protein and fat. Doing so will slow glucose uptake by your bloodstream.

Some individuals may benefit from eating the same amount of carbs during each meal. This can help take the guesswork out of managing your insulin medication, especially if you take fixed doses.

What Is The Tlc Diet For Diabetes

If you also have high cholesterol, your doctor probably will recommend something called the TLC plan.

The goal is to lower your cholesterol level, drop extra weight, and get more active. That helps prevent heart disease, which is more common when you have diabetes.

On the TLC diet, you will:

  • Limit fat to 25%-35% of your total daily calories.
  • Get no more than 7% of your daily calories from saturated fat, 10% or less from polyunsaturated fats, and up to 20% from monounsaturated fats .
  • Keep carbs to 50%-60% of your daily calories.
  • Aim for 20-30 grams of fiber each day.
  • Allow 15%-20% of your daily calories for protein.
  • Cap cholesterol at 200 milligrams per day.

You’ll also need to get more exercise and keep up with your medical treatment.

Read Also: 6 Small Meals A Day For Diabetics

How To Decide Your Activity Factor

The main mistake people make when using this calculation is to overestimate their physical activity level.

Even though I live a very active lifestyle and work out almost every day, I still only use the Light Activity multiplier. And that may even be on the high side because I also spend a lot time in front of a computer.

The higher multipliers are for people who use their bodies almost constantly throughout the day and therefore need a lot of energy, like construction workers, pro athletes, etc.

If you are pretty fit and active, you should probably use the Light or Very Light multiplier. If you are just starting a fitness program, use the Very Light multiplier.

Now that you know how many calories you burn in a day, the next step is to decide if you want to lose or gain weight.

Treating Diabetes With Exercise

How Much Protein Should A Diabetic Have A Day

If you have diabetes, its especially important to be physical active, not only to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and a healthy body weight, but also because exercise helps lower blood sugar levels. Here are some tips:

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activitythat means exercise that feels somewhat hard to hardat least five days a week. If you are trying to lose weight, then the duration may need to be upped to at least one hour. Walking, swimming, or bicycling are all good activities to pursue, but you will need to tailor your exercise choices to your particular health situationfor example, whether you have nerve problems with your feet or poor vision.

  • Strength training, whether with free weights, gym machines, or exercise bands, is also beneficial since it builds muscle, which is calorie-burning tissue. This in turn can help you lose weight. Try to do strength workouts 2 to 3 times a week on nonconsecutive days.

  • If you have not been physically active, see your health care provider before you start exercising to make sure there are no contraindications. In addition, depending on the type of diabetes medication you are taking, your health care provider may suggest a certain time of day to exercise or recommend that you eat a snack before, after, or while youre exercising so your blood sugar doesnt get too low.

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Estimated Calorie Requirements By Age

Whether you want to gain weight, lose it or find the perfect Goldilocks balance to stay exactly where you are, calories matter. And if youre a person who likes to track and measure things, you could benefit from determining exactly how many calories you need.

Digital apps and online calorie calculators can help, Zumpano says. But because it can be complicated , Zumpano recommends seeing a dietitian to get an experts take.

Others may not need to crunch the numbers to meet their calorie targets. Simply knowing your recommended calorie ranges can help you hit your goals.

Alternative Medicine For Diabetes

As with other chronic health conditions, many people living with diabetes seek out natural ways to treat their condition, such as taking vitamins, minerals, herb, or other dietary supplements.

Some studies have suggested that certain supplements may help improve blood sugar control in some people with diabetes. However, according to Dr. Hatipoglu, due to safety concerns and possible interactions with medications we give, patients should consult their doctors if they want to try supplements.

Dietary supplements that have been studied for diabetes include :

Recommended Reading: What Should Blood Sugar Be For A Diabetic

Resistant Starches And Fructans

Resistant starches are starch enclosed within intact cell walls. These include some legumes, starch granules in raw potato, retrograde amylose from plants modified to increase amylose content, or high-amylose containing foods, such as specially formulated cornstarch, which are not digested and absorbed as glucose. Resistant starches are completely fermented in the colon. It has been proposed that resistant starches may affect postprandial glucose response, reducing hypo and hyperglycemia. However, there are no published long-term studies in subjects with diabetes to prove benefit from the use of resistant starch.

Fructans are an indigestible fiber that has been suggested to have a glucose-lowering effect. Inulin is a fructan commonly added to many processed foods in the form of chicory root. A recent review and meta-analysis of 20 randomized clinical trials revealed that the use of inulin-type fructans demonstrated HDL-c improvement and glucose control in the T2DM subgroup. More well-powered, long-term, randomized clinical trials are required for a definitive conclusion on inulin-type fructan supplementation in improving lipid profile and glucose metabolism.

How Much Added Sugar Is Right For You

How many carbs should you eat each day with type 2 diabetes?

There is no current guidance for added sugars for adults with diabetes.

As a point of reference, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults without diabetes get no more than 10% of their calories from added sugar. The American Heart Association recommend an even lower limit of no more than 6% of daily calories from added sugar.

Specifically, that looks like:

  • No more than 6 teaspoons or 25 grams of added sugar for adult assigned females without diabetes
  • No more than 9 teaspoons or 37.5 grams of added sugar for adult assigned males without diabetes

If you have diabetes, you will need to work with your healthcare provider to find the right daily amount of added sugar. A nutritionist or CDE can also help with this decision.

Also Check: What Is The Best Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes

How To Get More Information

If you are interested in learning more about remission and want to find out about what support you may be able to get locally to lose weight, we would recommend speaking to your healthcare team.

To help chats between people with diabetes and healthcare professionals we have developed a type 2 diabetes remission Information Prescription. You can take this to your GP appointment

Patient Education: Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus And Diet

TYPE 2 DIABETES OVERVIEW Diet and physical activity are critically important in the management of the ABCs of type 2 diabetes. To effectively manage glycated hemoglobin and blood sugar levels, it is important to understand how to balance food intake, physical activity, and medication. Making healthy food choices every day has both immediate and long-term effects. With education, practice, and assistance from a dietitian and/or a diabetes educator, it is possible to eat well and control diabetes. This article discusses diet in the management of type 2 diabetes. The role of diet and activity in managing blood pressure and cholesterol are reviewed separately. ” and “Patient education: High cholesterol and lipids “.) Articles that discuss other aspects of type 2 diabetes are also available. ” and “Patient education: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Insulin treatment ” and “Patient education: Self-monitoring of blood glucose in diabetes mellitus ” and “Patient education: Hypoglycemia in diabetes mellitus ” and “Patient education: Diabetes mellitus type 2: Alcohol, exercise, and medical care ” and “Patient education: Preventing complications in diabetes mellitus “.) WHY IS DIET IMPORTANT? Many factors affect how well diabetes is controlled. Many of these factors are controlled by the person with diabetes, including how much and what is eaten, how frequently the blood sugar is monitored, physical activity levels, and accuracy and consiContinue reading > >

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