What Are Carbohydrates and Why Should I Care About Carbohydrates?

So How Many Carbohydrates Should I Eat?

The amount will vary according to:

• Your current weight and height (your body mass index – BMI)
• Your desired (or ideal) weight
• When, what type, and how much exercise you do
• Which medications you are taking
• Your age
• Other medical conditions
• Various laboratory levels such as cholesterol and tests measuring kidney (renal) function

The suggested minimum amount of carbohydrates for adults is 130 grams per day.

This will provide a minimal amount of carbohydrate for various organs in the body such as:

• The central nervous system and brain and
• Skeletal muscles (for movement) that prefer to burn carbohydrate as an energy source.

So the answer to the question; how many carbohydrates should I eat? Whatever your health care provider tells you is the right amount for you.

Which Foods Contain Carbohydrates?

• Breads, cereals, pasta, and grains
• Rice, beans, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas)
• Fruit and fruit juices
• Milk and yogurt
• Regular sugared soda, fruity drinks, and candy
• Cakes, cookies, and chocolate candy (too bad this list includes chocolate. My favorite.)

Which Foods Do Not Contain Carbohydrates

• Protein: Meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, tofu
• Fat: Butter, margarine, mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, nuts, seeds, avocado

Why Should You Keep Your Blood Glucose Controlled

An HbA1c of 6% or less is within normal limits for non-diabetics people. A level of less than 7% is considered the most desirable level for diabetics and represents tight blood glucose control.

A level of hemoglobin A1C of 7% or less has a decreased incident of:

• 33% in diabetic blindness (retinopathy).
• 16% reduction in heart attack or stroke.
• 54% in kidney disease (nephropathy).
• 60% in nerve disease (neuropathy).
• 27% reduction in the overall risk of death.

Diabetes is the number 1 cause of blindness.

Pregnant Women

Controlling blood glucose is very important for a diabetic woman wishing to become pregnant.

For a pregnant woman with poor blood glucose control, the risk for a baby to be born with birth defects is about 6-10%; this is roughly twice the incidence for birth defects if the mother’s blood glucose is well controlled.

For those with extremely poor blood glucose control in the first trimester (3 months), there may be up to a 20% risk for birth defects.

The carbohydrate and diabetes series are part of a book. If you interested in obtaining a preview copy then email me at: LuYoungRN@yahoo.com

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