Medically Reviewed By: Tom Iarocci, MD

We’ve all had the experience of dieting or following a regimented meal plan to lose weight or to boost our nutrition level. On those plans, we’ve spent countless hours figuring calories, fat grams, and the precise number of carbohydrates to consume in order to get the best results for our efforts. And when it has been done well, we are rewarded with a good amount of weight loss, better energy levels, or even trimming a few extra inches from our waistline.

For years, science has understood how controlling our intake of carbs can have a major effect on our overall health, but when it comes to diabetes, there is nothing that is more important. There is no question that living with diabetes is not easy. In fact, it can be quite complicated to monitor your glucose levels, keep track of your medications, and keep a careful watch on the foods you eat. One way to simplify this is by using a carb chart for diabetics when planning your meals.

Why You Should Count Carbs

Most people believe that diabetics only need to be concerned about the amount of sugar they consume. It’s true that controlling sugar intake is an essential part of a diabetic’s life. However, if you focus only on sugar consumption you’re only doing your job halfway. When you consider that within minutes after you consume carbohydrates they will appear as blood glucose in your bloodstream, it is evident why you should also be counting carbs.

The truth is you can completely eliminate sugar from your diet and still see a rise in your blood glucose levels. Because the body takes those carbs and converts them into sugar during the digestive process, you can see a spike within minutes after you’ve eaten. For example, you may feel that having a slice of sugar-free apple pie is a smart choice to add to your meal because there is no sugar. However, the carbs from the piecrust and the apples will be quickly converted into sugars during digestion and your blood glucose levels will still see a spike.

Once you realize that counting carbs is not so easy to do, you’ll understand why it’s so important to use a carb chart for diabetics. Carbs come in many forms and it can be quite difficult for the average person to know off-hand exactly how many carbs are found in each type of food.

Your doctor may give you a specified amount of carbs to consume at each meal, but with so many variations, it can be difficult to know how much you’re getting with each type of food you consume. Carbs are found in nearly every type of food you eat. Some are high in carbs and others are low. By using a carb chart for diabetics you can avoid taking the risk of overshooting your target by guessing.

Being a diabetic can be difficult so it is important for you to make wise decisions in your eating and drinking choices. By doing so, and taking advantage of this valuable tool, you can be assured that your meals will be healthy and nutritious for you and help you to improve your health rather than create hidden problems.