The Basics of Carb Counting

When you first start carb counting they will likely start you off on a ratio of 1 unit of insulin to every 10g of carbohydrate. It will stay that way unless you find that that ratio doesn’t well for your blood sugars. to combat this you will work with your diabetes nurse to find the correct ratio for you.

As my ratio is 1 unit to 10g carbs that is the example I will be using to explain the process of carb counting.

Okay so, so far we know that for every 10g carb you eat you will give yourself 1 unit of insulin, but how do we know how many carbs are in the food we are eating? Well if it is in packaging you would check the nutritional information and you are looking for the number of carbohydrates per serving, and then equate that to the amount you are eating. (You are not looking at the ‘of which sugar’ only the carbohydrate.)


Now say the number of carbs you were planning on eating was 16g would you give yourself 1 unit or 2? Well, it works just like rounding numbers in math lower than 5 you round down and 5+ you round up so for this 16g of carb you would take 2 units of insulin.

You also need to take into account what number your blood sugar in currently on as if your blood is low you may want to just do 1 unit of insulin so that the extra 5g carb that you have not covered for can raise your blood sugars slightly, but do but careful and remember that maintaining a healthy blood sugar is always going to be a balancing act and is important to keep it well monitored.

The next scenario is when food doesn’t come in a packet, say like a banana. Well this is where gradually over time to will start to be able to gauge over time how much carbs are in different food but to start off and to always use as a helpful guide I would recommend downloading the ‘Carbs & Cals’ app which basically gives you a guide on how many carbs are in you portion of food and over time you will learn what works well for you and be able to have a rough mental guide on how many carbs are in your main basic foods.

That’s all from me for now – Kathryn 🙂

Disclaimer: Anything I say regarding diabetes, don’t take it as the holy grail as I am no expert and I’m just trying to figure it out as I go, and if you have any queries make sure to ask your local diabetic team.


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