– Studies have shown that many different levels of carb intake may help manage blood sugar, and the optimal amount of carbs varies by individual. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) used to recommend that people with diabetes get around 45% of their calories from carbs.
However, the ADA now promotes an individualized approach in which your ideal carb intake should take into account your dietary preferences and metabolic goals ( 7 ). It’s important to eat the number of carbs at which you feel best and that you can realistically maintain in the long term. The typical American diet provides around 2,200 calories per day, with 50% of them coming from carbs.
This is equivalent to 275 grams of carbs per day ( 8 ). A severely restricted intake of less than 50 grams of carbs per day appears to produce the most dramatic results and may reduce or even eliminate the need for insulin or diabetes medication. This represents 9–10% of daily calories on a 2,000–2,200-calorie diet ( 9, 10, 11 ).
- When tracking carb intake, experts sometimes recommend focusing on your net carbs instead of the total amount of carbs you eat.
- Net carbs is total grams of carbs minus grams of fiber ( 11 ).
- People with diabetes can also benefit from diets that allow up to 26% of their daily calories to come from carbs.
For people who eat 2,000–2,200 calories a day, this is equivalent to 130–143 grams of carbs ( 12 ). Since carbs raise blood sugar, reducing them to any extent can help you manage your blood sugar levels. Therefore, figuring out how many carbs to eat requires some testing and evaluating to find out what works best for you.
How much carbs should a diabetic eat?
How to Count Carbs Medically Reviewed by on February 07, 2021 Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for your body, but they affect your blood sugar too. If you have diabetes, keep track of how many you eat with a few simple tricks. Know your carbs.
- It’s a lot more than just pasta and bread.
- All starchy foods, sugars, fruit, milk, and yogurt are rich in carbs, too.
- Make sure you count them all, not just the obvious ones.
- Put together a meal plan.
- Figure out the amount of carbs, protein, and fat you can eat at meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
Most adults with diabetes aim for 45-60 grams of carbs per meal and 15-20 grams per snack. That number may go up or down, depending on how active you are and the medicines you take, so check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. Look at labels. They make counting carbs easy.
Find the “Total Carbohydrate” number listed on a package’s “Nutrition Facts” panel. Then, check the serving size and confirm the amount you can eat. Repeat this step with other foods you plan to eat. When you add all the grams of carbs, the total should stay within your meal budget. Starch, fruit, or milk = 15.
Fresh foods don’t come with a label. You may have to guess the number of carbs they have. A good rule of thumb: Each serving of fruit, milk, or starch has about 15 grams. Vegetables don’t have a lot, so you can eat more of them. Two or three servings of veggies usually equal 15 grams of carbs.
- Pay attention to portion sizes.
- The size of one serving depends on the type of food.
- For instance, one small (4-ounce) piece of fresh fruit, 1/3 cup of pasta or rice, and 1/2 cup of beans are each one serving.
- Buy a pocket guide that lists carb counts and portion sizes.
- Or download an app on your smartphone.
Measuring cups and a food scale when you eat at home will help you be accurate. Adjust your insulin. Your doses may change, depending on the amount of carbs you ate at a meal and the difference between your target blood sugar level and your actual reading.
You’ll need to know your “insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio,” or the number of carbs one unit of insulin will cover. Generally, one unit of fast-acting insulin covers 12-15 grams of carbohydrates. Your body can also be more sensitive to insulin changes throughout the day. Stress or how much you exercise also has an impact.
It’s important to work out a plan with your doctor for how to change your treatment if you need to. Make healthy choices. Carb counting focuses on the number of them you eat at every meal, not what types. Still, pick healthy options when you can. Foods and drinks with added sugar are often high in calories and low on nutrients.
Is 100 carbs a day too much for a diabetic?
Carb intake between 20–90 grams per day has been shown to be effective at improving blood sugar management in people with diabetes.
Can I eat rice in diabetes?
Diabetes and diet Having diabetes requires you to be vigilant about your diet and exercise habits. You have to watch what you eat every day to ensure that your blood sugar doesn’t rise to an unhealthy level. Monitoring the carbohydrate count and glycemic index (GI) score of the foods you eat can make controlling your diabetes easier.
The GI ranks food based on how they can affect your blood sugar. If you aren’t tracking your diet, diabetes can cause more serious health problems. This includes cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, or foot infections. Rice is rich in carbohydrates and can have a high GI score. If you have diabetes, you may think that you need to skip it at dinner, but this isn’t always the case.
You can still eat rice if you have diabetes. You should avoid eating it in large portions or too frequently, though. Many types of rice exist, and some types are healthier than others.
Can Diabetics have too few carbs?
– When carbs are restricted, there’s often a dramatic reduction in blood sugar. For this reason, your doctor will often reduce your insulin and other medication dosages. In some cases, they may eliminate your medication altogether. One study reported that 17 of 21 study participants with type 2 diabetes were able to stop or reduce their diabetes medication when carbs were limited to 20 grams a day ( 7 ).
In another study, participants with type 1 diabetes consumed less than 90 grams of carbs each day. Their blood glucose improved, and there was less likelihood of low blood sugar because insulin dosages were significantly reduced ( 16 ). If insulin and other medications aren’t adjusted for a low carb diet, there’s a high risk of dangerously low blood glucose levels, also known as hypoglycemia.
Therefore, it’s important that people who take insulin or other diabetes medications speak with their doctor before starting a low carb diet. Summary Most people will need to reduce their dosage of insulin or other diabetes medications when following a low carb diet.
How much sugar is OK for a diabetic?
Sugars and type 2 diabetes What is type 2 diabetes? Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar to be too high. There are two forms of diabetes: type 1 and type 2, Insulin is a hormone that is key in regulating blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes can occur either as a result of insulin receptors becoming desensitised and as a result no longer responding to insulin; or, due to the beta cells of the pancreas no longer producing insulin. Often it is a combination of these two factors that leads to this condition known as type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type – of all the adults who have diabetes, 90% of them have type 2. Diabetes is an increasing health problem in the UK with 3.2million people diagnosed with diabetes and a further 850,000 estimated to be undiagnosed,
- Diabetes is a growing health burden and it is estimated that by 2025, 5 million people will have been diagnosed in the UK,
- Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the UK and the disease’s complications cause more than 100 amputations to take place each week.
- Each year, 24 000 people die early from diabetes-associated complications,
Its total cost is estimated at £13.8billion each year, It is predicted that the annual NHS cost of the direct treatment of diabetes in the UK will increase to £16.9 billion over the next 25 years, which is 17 per cent of the NHS budget, believed to potentially bankrupt the NHS What are the causes of Type 2 diabetes? There is a complex combination of genetic and environmental risk factors that play a part in the development of diabetes – it tends to cluster in families, but there is also a strong link to environmental risk factors.
People over the age of 40 People with cardiovascular disease Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) People who are taking medication for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder
How does sugar contribute to the risk of Type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes occurs as a result of a lack of insulin production or an increased resistance to insulin, Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows for the regulation of the uptake of glucose.
It is released in response to increased glucose levels in the blood and allows for individual cells to take up glucose from the blood to metabolise it. A high-sugar diet has been linked with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes due to the links between high sugar intake and obesity. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) also conducted a meta-analysis, which includes nine cohort studies in 11 publications that suggest that there is a relationship between sugars-sweetened beverages and the incidence of type 2 diabetes,
The link between sugar consumption and diabetes is both direct and indirect – with sugars-sweetened beverages being directly linked to the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and equally sugar consumption leading to obesity, one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Kidney disease Eye disease including blindness Amputation Depression Neuropathy Sexual dysfunction Complications in pregnancy Dementia
Current sugar intake and advice on how to prevent type 2 diabetes: The current recommendation for sugar intake is that it does not exceed 10% of daily energy intake. The recent review published by the SACN has highlighted the need for this percentage to be further reduced to 5% (30g of sugars).
Not exceeding the maximum amount of calories per day – 2,000 calories per day for women and 2,500 calories per day for men. Reducing sugar intake to a maximum of 6 teaspoons per day (25g). Reducing the consumption of sugars-sweetened beverages. Exercise for half an hour, 5 times a week (moderate intensity exercise). Maintaining body weight at a healthy BMI (between 18.5kg/m2 and 24.9kg/m2). Maintaining a healthy waist-to-hip ratio, as it is a good indicator of abdominal fat and thus diabetes.
References: NHS Choices.2014. “Diabetes.” URL:, Diabetes UK.2014. “Diabetes Prevalence 2013,” URL:, Diabetes UK.2014. “The Cost of Diabetes Report”. URL:, Kanavos, van den Aardweg and Schurer.2012. “Diabetes expenditure, burden of disease and management in 5 EU countries,” LSE.
Diabetes UK.2014. “Diabetes Facts and Stats,” URL:, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).2014. “Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet.” URL:, Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.2014. “Draft Carbohydrates and Health Report” pp.89-90 & 95-96. Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).2014.
“Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet.” URL:, Mayo Clinic Staff.2014. “Obesity” URL:, Key statistics on health inequalities: Summary paper.2007. The Scottish Government. URL:, : Sugars and type 2 diabetes
Do Type 2 diabetics have to eat low carb?
A low-carbohydrate diet is generally recommended for people who have Type 2 diabetes or who are at risk of developing the disease. But there isn’t wide agreement on how low to go in carbohydrate consumption or which carbohydrate foods to include, and little research is available to help people make informed decisions.
- A new trial by investigators at Stanford Medicine has compared two popular low-carb diets — ketogenic and Mediterranean — in their effect on blood glucose, cardiometabolic risk factors, weight loss and nutrition, as well as how easily people can adhere to them.
- The ketogenic diet is an ultra-low-carb, very high-fat diet that involves a drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake.
The Mediterranean diet is a low-carb, moderately high-fat diet that emphasizes vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and fish. Both diets received high marks in controlling blood glucose levels and aiding weight loss, but the ketogenic diet was lower in several nutrients, particularly fiber, and was more difficult for study participants to follow in the long run, according to findings published May 31 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
How many meals a day should a Type 2 diabetic eat?
What does a diabetes diet involve? – A diabetes diet is based on eating three meals a day at regular times. This helps you better use the insulin that your body produces or gets through a medication. A registered dietitian can help you put together a diet based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle.