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Diabetes: Counting Carbs if You Use Insulin

Carbohydrate, or carb, counting is an important skill to learn when you have diabetes. Carb counting helps you keep tight control of your blood sugar (glucose) level. It also gives you the flexibility to eat what you want. This can help you feel more in control and confident when managing your diabetes.

  • Carb counting helps you keep your blood sugar at your target level.
  • It allows you to adjust the amount of insulin you take. This amount is based on how many grams of carbs you eat at a meal or snack. The formula used to find how much insulin you need is called the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio.
  • The insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio is not the same for each person. You and your doctor will find your ratio by keeping track of the food you eat and testing your blood sugar level after meals.

how.gif  How do you count carbohydrate grams in your diet?

Other Works Consulted

  • American Diabetes Association (2013). Nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care, 36(11): 3821–3842. DOI: 10.2337/dc13-2042. Accessed December 5, 2013.

  • American Diabetes Association (2014). Standards of medical care in diabetes—2014. Diabetes Care, 37(Suppl 1): S14–S80. DOI: 10.2337/dc14-S014. Accessed January 7, 2014.

  • Campbell AP, Beaser RS (2010). Medical nutrition therapy. In RS Beaser, ed., Joslin's Diabetes Deskbook: A Guide for Primary Care Providers, 2nd ed., pp. 91–136. Boston: Joslin Diabetes Center.

  • Franz MJ (2012). Medical nutrition therapy for diabetes mellitus and hypoglycemia of nondiabetic origin. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 675–710. St Louis: Saunders.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofJune 4, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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