Limiting bread, pasta, and cake is a natural first step when you’re trying to keep your blood sugar levels down.
But carbs can lurk in some less obvious places, and you need to know that when you're counting carbs.
The amount found in these 10 common foods may surprise you.
Exactly how many carbs do you need? Many people with diabetes aim for 45-60 grams of carbs per meal. But you should talk to your doctor or diabetes educator to find out the right amount of carbs for you.
Soy milk and almond milk are great options for anyone who's lactose-intolerant or just looking to mix things up a bit. But watch out for flavored varieties, which tend to have more sugar.
For example, a cup of vanilla almond milk has 16 grams of carbs. A cup of chocolate soy milk has 23 grams, compared to plain soy milk, which has about 12 grams of carbs.
It's a good source of calcium and often provides good-for-you bacteria called probiotics (look for "live active cultures" on the label). But some low-fat, fruit-flavored varieties have upward of 40 grams of carbs for an 8-ounce serving.
For a lower-carb alternative, try Greek yogurt. The plain, no-fat variety has about 9 grams of carbs for the same size serving, and it also packs more protein than the regular stuff.
3. Baked beans
One cup of canned baked beans has a whopping 54 grams of carbs. That could be your whole carb budget for one meal.
You can still enjoy them, and you should, since they also give you protein and fiber. But limit yourself to a half-cup serving.
4. Tomato sauce
If it comes from a jar, you can almost bet that there's added sugar and carbs in there (about 12 grams per half-cup).
Look at the nutrition facts closely, and be aware that many brands are also high in sodium. When in doubt, drizzle it on your (whole-grain) pasta sparingly.
5. Salad dressing
Italian, Russian, Caesar, or French? Practically any bottle you reach for will have some sugar. The amount varies by brand, so check labels.
Consider making your own. Olive oil and vinegar is an easy option. Or at least stick to the recommended serving size on the bottle. A tablespoon or two is unlikely to send your blood sugar soaring, but if you drown your salad, you could be in trouble.
6. Barbecue sauce
Again, portion size matters. One tablespoon will cost you about 7 grams of carbs. If you keep dipping and dipping until you've consumed one-half cup, you'll have eaten 58 grams of carbs from the sauce alone.
7. Orange chicken
Oranges are healthy, and so is chicken. But orange chicken? Not so fast: A standard order has 146 grams of carbs!
The next time you order Chinese food, skip this battered dish in favor of something steamed.
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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