Understanding carbohydrate exchanges it vital to you as a diabetic. It is an important part of meal planning that allows you to keep track of your carbohydrate intake. The best way to describe the carbohydrate exchange is one carbohydrate exchange is equivalent to 15 grams of carbohydrate.
Knowing which foods contain carbohydrates is important in being able to understand carbohydrate exchanges. Foods that contain carbohydrates include starches like bread and pasta, milk and dairy products, fruit, and breakfast cereals.
Having an exchange list is beneficial so that you can work out what foods equal 1 exchange. The following list is a simple guideline that shows what a serve of 15 grams of carbohydrate is equivalent to:
Bread = 1 slice
Pasta = ? cup
Cereals = ? cup
Legumes = 1/3 cup
Potatoes = 1 medium
Corn = ? cup
Grains = 1/3 cup
Rice = 1/3 cup
Milk = 250ml
Yoghurt = 200g
Apple, orange, banana, or nectarine = 1 small
Pear = 1 medium
Peach = 1 medium
Melon = 1 cup
Berries = 1 cup
Plums = 4
Apricots = 3
If your goal is to add 45 grams of carbohydrates to your meal, you would be able to have 3 exchanges of carbohydrates for that meal, meaning that these 3 exchanges are 15 grams each totalling to the 45 grams you which to include in your meal.
So it is important to understand that the carbohydrate exchange is a system that gives you a list of servings of carbohydrate that are equal to 15 grams of carbohydrate. Always remember that you have to make sure that you do not confuse yourself with the serving size and the portion size, they are two totally different things. Your portion size is the amount of food you will eat. The exchange serving system is simply available so that you can manage the amount of carbohydrates in each meal.
Following are some guidelines to help you understand carbohydrate exchanges:
There are six different diabetic exchange lists in groups that are similar in carbohydrate, protein, fat content and calorieThe amount of these exchanges as well as the type will depend on what exercise system you have in place and your particular individual requirements and this could be because you need to reduce your cholesterol or blood pressureAn important thing to remember is that the foods can be substituted with each other within an exchange list but not between different listsSome of the exchange lists contain 'free' foods which means they contain less than 20 calories so you can eat more of these foods throughout your day
The following are the categories for each exchange list:
Bread and starchesMeats and cheeseFruitsVegetablesFats, andMilk and dairy products
Understanding carbohydrate exchanges will benefit you tremendously once you get the hang of how the exchanges work, this will ultimately allow you to achieve optimum health through good management of your diabetes.
Sue Kennedy is the author of the physician-endorsed e-book "Defeat Diabetes Now," and operates a membership channel devoted to health & wellness. Readers of her book also receive instant access to expert interviews, articles, diet plans and other resources designed to maintain optimum health and prevent disease. Learn how you can defeat diabetes now.
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