Imagining the amount of carbs to eat when diagnosed with diabetes can seem confusing.
Meal plans formed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) stipulate approximately 45% of calories from carbs. This includes 45–60 grams per meal and 10–25 grams per snack, totaling about 135–230 grams of carbs each day.
Nevertheless, a growing number of experts believe people with diabetes should be eating a far smaller amount of carbs than this. Many recommend fewer carbs per day than what the ADA lets per meal.
Research on Carb Restriction for Diabetes
There are many studies supporting the use of carb restriction in diabetics.
Very Low-Carb, Ketogenic Diets
Very low-carb diets typically induce mild to moderate ketosis, a state in which your body uses ketones and fat, rather than sugar, as its main energy sources.
There is currently no agreement on how many carbs a low-carb diet contains.
However, for purposes of this article, the term “low-carb” will refer to diets containing 50–100 grams of carbs, or 10–20% of calories, per day.
How to Determine Optimal Carb Intake
Although studies have shown that many different levels of carb intake may help control blood sugar, the optimal amount varies by individual.
It is worth repeating that diets containing 20–50 grams of carbs per day have been studied the most and typically produce the most dramatic results in diabetics.
However, in addition to keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range, it’s important to eat the number of carbs at which you feel best, as well as that you can realistically maintain in the long term.
Therefore, figuring out how many carbs to eat requires some testing and evaluating to find out what works best for you.
To regulate your ideal carb consumption, measure your blood sugar with a blood glucose meter before a meal and again one to two hours after eating.
How Low Should You Go?
Research has established that many levels of carb restriction successfully lower blood sugar levels.
Since carbs raise blood sugar, reducing them to any amount can help control how much your blood sugar rises after eating.
For illustration, if you’re presently consuming about 250 grams of carbs daily, reducing your consumption to 130 grams should bring about suggestively lower blood sugar after meals, as the few, moderate, low-carb studies that are available have shown.
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