Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Low Carb Eating and Type 1 Diabetes

Have you ever stopped to think about how many carbohydrates (in grams) you consume everyday? I didn't think so. Other than the low carb fad diets that pop up from time to time I hadn't given carbs a second thought in my own diet until a fateful day in November 2006. My husband had just turned 31 and I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter. In one week he lost his job and got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. To say the least, our world was turned upside down. After the carb withdrawal dust settled we adapted nicely to our new low-carb diabetes diet.

I whole-heartedly believe that if more people watched their carb loads the obesity epidemic would not exist. My own experience is a testament to that fact. No I have never been obese but I have seen a dramatic difference in my weight since counting carbs. My husband too has seen a dramatic difference in his weight but some of that can be attributed to his diabetes so I will leave his weight loss out of this story.

As I mentioned above I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter when my husband was diagnosed and our eating habits were turned upside down. Rather than changing only my husband's diet our entire family started eating according to his requirements. In the final 4 months of my pregnancy I gained 10 pounds, for a total my entire pregnancy of 18 pounds. Compare that to 35 pounds gained in my first pregnancy. Carbohydrates are notorious diet killers and cause us all to quickly pack on the pounds.  The average American's daily carb intake is in the high hundreds of grams, for some people it nears 800 grams. This is just insane! No wonder everywhere you look people are struggling with their weight.

My husband's daily carbohydrate intake is less than two hundred grams. Please keep in mind this is a little higher than recommended for most type 1 diabetics because he is tall, 6'3". On average he eats 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. Like my husband I too eat around 200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Of course I have had to alter my meal planning, but after over 3 years it has become second nature. It can become habit for you too, if you so desire.

How do you count total carbs? Simple. For packaged foods subtract the fiber (in grams) from the carbohydrates (in grams) to calculate the total carbs per food. For fruits, vegetables, and other common foods consult Carbohydrate Counting for Common Foods (a pdf).

total carbohydrates (g) - fiber  (g) = net carbohydrate amount per serving/food 

In addition to carb counting, here are some simple ways to drastically reduce your carb load for the day:
  1. You do not need bread, rice, potatoes, or other starches with every meal.
  2. Eliminate desserts. But rather make it a special treat once a week or so.
  3. But whole wheat. The fiber count in whole wheat is higher, therefore the total carb for the food will be lower.
  4. Substitute an extra portion of veggies for a serving of starch.
Low carb eating is not a diet for my family, it is our way of life.

Are you struggling with your waistline? Count your daily carbs for one week, you just might be sabotaging your diet and exercise efforts.

Stay tuned for low carb meal ideas.

post signature

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails