Carbohydrate is the main nutrient that raises blood glucose levels. Simple carbohydrate or sugar will begin to raise blood glucose very soon after ingestion. Complex carbohydrate ,or starchy foods, take longer for the body to convert to sugar but will eventually be changed completely to glucose. Protein and fat have little effect on blood glucose levels.
Carb-containing foods have many vitamins and minerals. Fruits, vegetables, bread, cereals, pasta and dairy products all contain carbs, along with sugary foods. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that 45% to 65% of your daily calories come from carbs. Foods such as grains, fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products are your best carb sources. It's also wise to choose high-fiber foods to balance your meal plan. Examples of high-fiber foods are whole-grain breads and pasta, brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables and beans. You can eat sugary foods within your carb allowance but keep in mind that sugary foods usually have more calories and fat and less nutritional value than other carb-rich foods. The number of carbs you need depends on many factors including: height, weight and weight history, age, usual food habits and schedule, level of physical activity, blood glucose levels, and blood lipid levels. For women, a reasonable starting point is about 45 to 60 grams or 3 to 4 servings of carbohydrate per meal and for men, 60 to 75 grams or 4 to 5 servings of carbs each meal. How the carbs are distributed between meals and snacks depends on your current food habits and daily schedule, and the types and doses of your medication. For more information about advanced carb counting, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a registered dietitian.