Carbohydrates are an important part of your daily diet. The body needs carbohydrates to function properly, then there is a minimum amount we need to eat every day. However, carbohydrates also easily be over-consumed, especially if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes. They also have a big impact on weight, hence the “low carb” diets. Learn how to know the right amount for you to maintain proper weight and good health
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Figuring Out Your Calories and Carbohydrates
It is recommended that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. So first you must know what your daily calorie intake should be. Your calorie count is based on several factors such as age, height, weight, gender and activity level. To help you, the Mayo Clinic a fantastic calorie calculator you can use on their site for free (see Resources below).
We count carbohydrates in grams. One gram of carbohydrate is 4 calories. So if you intake 1,600 calories per day and decide to limit your carb intake to 50 percent of calories, then 50 percent of 1600 equals 800 calories. So you need to divide 800 by 4, which will give you an answer at 200. So you are allowed 200 grams of carbohydrates.
Once you know how much carbohydrates you need per day, now you must choose what kind of carbohydrates you should eat. There are two basic types of carbohydrates-simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are those found in sugary treats like cookies and ice. Complex carbohydrates are those found in fruits and vegetables. This is important to know because complex carbohydrates are better for your health. They also help with weight control because they leave you feeling fuller longer so you will eat less.
The second thing you need to know about carbs when checking nutrition labels on food is that not only is it important to control the amount of carbohydrates per serving, but you have to check the amount of fiber. Carbohydrates turn to sugar when consumed except for the amount of fiber in the food. For example, if the label says 20 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of fiber, pull 7 from 20, which gives you 13 and it is the actual amount of carbohydrates that you consume.
Another consideration with carbohydrates is how fast they are absorbed into the body and bloodstream. Glycemic Index, foods like carbohydrates on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the number, the faster absorption. This is important because you will experience a spike in blood sugar with rapidly absorbed food and you can find more hungry faster. With foods that are low on the scale, you can keep your blood sugar more stable, which is especially important for those who are diabetic. These foods also leave you feeling fuller longer so you will not be so hungry all the time. Making the right choices carbohydrates will help you live a healthier and longer life.
Tips and Warnings
Always check with your doctor or dietitian before making major changes in your diet.
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