Tips to Managing Diabetes Part Two

By Dorothy Mitchell (LaVonne) on January 30, 2011

Type 2 Diabetes and Carbohydrates Content provided by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School Mary Pickett, M.D., is a lecturer for Harvard Medical School and an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR. At OHSU, she practices general internal medicine and teaches medical residents and students.



Type 2 Diabetes and Carbohydrates


I am a 64–year-old woman with type 2 diabetes. How many carbohydrates should I eat each day?


Carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, starches, grains, low-fat milk and baked items.

Your carbs should be proportional to the number of calories you take in. This creates a nutritionally balanced diet.

For most diabetics, daily calories should be somewhere between 1,600 and 2,800 per day. The calorie intake at the lower end of this range is for people who are overweight.

Out of these total calories, 45% to 65% should be carbohydrate calories. And at least half of your carbs should come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk. Remember that in addition to providing healthy carbs, fruits and vegetables contribute fiber to your diet.

Aim for two to four servings of fruit, and three to five servings of vegetables per day. This breaks down an ideal diet into these parts:

  • Carbohydrates: 45% to 65% of calories
  • Protein: 15% to 20% of calories
  • Fats: 25% to 40% of calories

Make monounsaturated fats the main type of fat in your diet. These are found in olive and canola oil. They help raise your "good" cholesterol (HDL) to healthy levels. Take in no more than 10% of polyunsaturated fats. Minimize saturated fats and trans fats. They are found in meats and high-fat dairy products, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, and processed, packaged and fried foods.

Some people with diabetes who take insulin use a technique called "carb counting." They calculate the amount of "quickly digested carbs" they expect to eat in a meal. This allows them to adjust the insulin dose they will need. If you are interested in learning carb counting, talk to a dietician or nutrition specialist.

Copyright: © Harvard Health Publications

Related articles:
diabetes, information, management

About Dorothy Mitchell
I was a nurse for 12 years and then about 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2. Since then I have learned more about my disease and its complications. I have also learned to manage my blood sugar with diet and oral medication.

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According to the CDC Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents; about 151,000 people below the age of 20 years have diabetes. When diabetes strikes during childhood, it is routinely assumed to be type 1, or juvenile-onset diabetes. However, in the last 2 decades, type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes) has been reported among U.S. children and adolescents with increasing frequency.