How Many Diabetic Exchanges Should I Eat – Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone – it is the key to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease. A healthy diet for people with type 1 diabetes is the same as everyone else’s. Our healthy diet video shows you how to build a healthy diet.
For type 1 diabetics, diet and nutrition also play an important role in blood sugar control.
How Many Diabetic Exchanges Should I Eat
The main nutrients that give us energy are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Understanding how these nutrients and the foods they contain affect your blood sugar and insulin needs will give you more confidence when making food choices. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are a vital source of energy for your body, especially the brain. When your body digests carbohydrates, it breaks them down into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. This raises the blood sugar level.
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Carbohydrates are found in many different foods, and from these foods we also get other important nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals. What foods contain carbohydrates?
Why are carbohydrates important? The amount of carbohydrates you eat during a meal has the greatest impact on blood sugar levels. It is important to learn how to estimate how many carbohydrates are in your meals so that you can decide how much insulin you need. For more information on carb counting, see the next tab.
Carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream at different rates. The glycemic index ranks foods based on how they affect blood sugar levels. Read more about the glycemic index in the tab above. Protein Protein is another source of energy in our diet and is the most important nutrient that helps the body grow and repair itself. Proteins are broken down in the intestine into amino acids so that they can be absorbed. Proteins don’t break down into glucose, so they don’t directly raise blood sugar.
Milk and yogurt are also protein-rich foods. However, since they also contain carbohydrates and raise blood sugar, we have listed them under carbohydrate foods. Fats Fats give the body energy and break down into fatty acids. Fatty acids are an essential part of all cells in the body, they also help store energy and insulate. Fats also allow for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Like protein, fat doesn’t break down into glucose, so it doesn’t directly raise blood sugar.
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Fat is the most energy-dense nutrient, so it’s important not to eat more than you need to. Eating a lot of fat can lead to weight gain, which can make diabetes control more difficult.
* Indicates sources of saturated fat. Saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol levels, so limit your intake of this type of fat. The Importance of a Dietitian A Registered Dietitian (APD) is an important part of your diabetes team. Regular appointments with an APD who are aware of type 1 diabetes can help you verify that the food you eat meets all of your individual nutritional needs and help you monitor the effect of your meals on blood sugar levels. Go to the Dietitians Australia website to find a dietician near you or contact our helpline on 1800 637 700.
To learn more about nutrition and type 1 diabetes, click on the tabs at the top of this page, including carb counts, glycemic index, and celiac disease.
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Carbohydrates can be found in many different foods and drinks. The amount of carbohydrates you eat with a meal has the greatest effect on blood sugar levels after a meal. This is because all carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Knowing how many carbohydrates are in the food and drinks you eat will help you determine your insulin dose, be more flexible about what you eat and when you eat it, and help keep your blood sugar in line with your goal . If you’re taking fixed insulin doses, eating a constant amount of carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar in line with your goal.
Counting the amount of carbohydrates in meals is called a carbohydrate or “carb” count. Counting carbohydrates takes practice, and learning these skills can take time.
Type 2 Diabetes Diet
Many common servings of carbohydrate foods are around 1 serving. For example, the following foods are all 1 carbohydrate swap, which means they contain approximately 15g of carbohydrates:
If you take the same dose of insulin with each meal each day, having the same number of carbohydrate swaps at each meal will help keep your blood sugar in line with your goal. Talk to your dietician about how many servings you should aim to eat at each meal, as everyone’s needs are different.
In the meal plan below, this person has 3 carb swaps (or 45g of carbs) with each meal.
To calculate the number of carbohydrates in meals and snacks, you need to look up their carbohydrate values. There are many helpful resources to help you find this information, including the NDSS Carbohydrate Counting Fact Sheet or you can order the Carbohydrate Counting Resources developed by Diabetes Victoria dieticians here.
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The amount of carbohydrates in the food can be viewed from the nutrition information panel on the food label. For more information on using food labels to make healthy food choices, read the Understanding Food Labels fact sheet.
Read our carbohydrate counting fact sheet, order our carbohydrate counting resource, and speak to a nutritionist for more information.
Contact our customer service team on 1800 637 700 to speak to a Diabetes Victoria dietician, or go to the DietitiansAustralia website to find the nearest dietician.
Not all carbohydrate foods have the same effect on blood glucose (BGL) levels. Some carbohydrate foods are broken down and released into the bloodstream very quickly, while others are much slower. The rate at which carbohydrate foods are released into the bloodstream is called the glycemic index (GI). Carbohydrate foods can be classified as low, medium or high glycemic index Foods with a low glycemic index Low glycemic index foods are digested slowly, so glucose is released into the bloodstream more slowly than foods with a high glycemic index . They are also much more filling because they stay in the stomach for a longer period of time before they melt. This can help with weight management as you are less likely to overeat.
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Examples of low-GI foods include traditional oatmeal, thick whole grain bread, lentils and legumes, sweet potatoes, milk, yogurt, pasta, and most fresh fruit.
Try to include at least one low GI food in each of your meals. Remember that carbohydrate portions have the greatest impact on your BGLs. Just because a food has a lower GI doesn’t mean it can be consumed in large quantities.
High Glycemic Foods High Glycemic Foods are broken down and released into the bloodstream faster than other carbohydrate foods. They tend to cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and often don’t fill you up as much as low-GI foods, so you may feel hungry for a short time after eating them.
Examples of high-GI foods include white bread, highly processed / low-fiber breakfast cereals, shorter grain rice (e.g. jasmine rice), sodas and sweets, and many processed and packaged snacks.
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Some high-glycemic carbohydrates are still nutritious foods, such as potatoes and tropical fruits. Just because they have a high GI doesn’t mean you should cut them out – eat them in smaller portions.
The University of Sydney Glycemic Index website has more information on the Glycemic Index and values for specific foods. You can also look for the low-glycemic index symbol on the package when shopping, but not all low-GI foods have this symbol. Check the website to see which products carry the low GI symbol.
Celiac disease is an immune disease that affects the small intestine. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their immune systems get activated, causing inflammation that damages the lining of the small intestine. If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to nutritional deficiencies, bone, joint and other organ problems, and affect fertility. People with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of celiac disease: it affects up to 10% of people with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes does not increase the risk of developing celiac disease. However, around one in 70 Australians have celiac disease, so people with type 2 diabetes can still get the disease. Symptoms Symptoms can vary greatly. Some of the most common are:
Some people have severe symptoms, while others may not have any at all. It is important to understand that the level of symptoms does not indicate the severity of the disease: intestinal damage
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