How Many Grams of Sugar Can a Diabetic Have Per Day?

Written by kelly nuttall
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When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, her diet has to be adjusted in order to bring her body weight into the ideal range for her body type. Using various calculations, doctors find the patient's ideal body weight and assign her a certain number of calories to consume per day. The number usually falls between 1500 and 1800 calories per day (the need for weight loss is taken into consideration if the person is overweight). A certain percentage of those calories is allowed for carbohydrates--usually 50 per cent of them. Carbohydrates include sugars of all kinds, simple and complex. It is recommended that diabetic patients see a dietitian or a nutritionist to help them plan daily meals that meet their dietetic requirements.

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Finding Your Ideal Body Weight

Your ideal body weight is based on your sex, height and frame size (small, average or large). For women: Begin at 45.4 Kilogram for a 5-foot person (add 2.27 Kilogram for every inch over 5 feet; subtract 2.27 Kilogram for every inch under 5 feet). This number is your ideal weight if you are of an average build. Add 10 per cent if you are large-framed; subtract 10 per cent if you are small-framed. For example: The ideal weight of a woman that is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and large-framed = 72.6 Kilogram 100 + 45 (5 x 9) = 145--her ideal weight 145 x 0.10 = 6.58 Kilogram, rounded to 15 145 + 15 = 72.6 Kilogram

For men: Begin at 48.1 Kilogram for a 5-foot person (add 2.72 Kilogram for every inch over 5 feet; subtract 2.72 Kilogram for every inch under 5 feet). This number is your ideal weight if you are of an average build. Add 10 per cent if you are large-framed; subtract 10 per cent if you are small-framed. For example: The ideal weight of a man that is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and small framed = 79.8 Kilogram 106 + 90 (15 x 6) = 196--his ideal weight 196 x 0.10 = 8.89 Kilogram, rounded to 20 196 - 20 = 79.8 Kilogram

A Little about Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, when and if they need to be broken down, are sugars. Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugars; simple sugars are short chains and are sweet to the taste. The names of simple sugars end in -ose: lactose, sucrose, glucose and fructose. These sugars need little digestion before hitting the bloodstream. Complex carbs take longer to digest and hit the bloodstream more slowly over time (like a time-release sugar) and are better sugars for the body. All sugars are converted into glucose before the sugar moves into the bloodstream. In non-diabetics, glucose causes insulin production to begin. In diabetics, the presence of glucose is the basis of the need for insulin injections. Without insulin, the sugar level in the bloodstream would increase to potentially deadly levels.

Calories and Ideal Body Weight

Diabetics have an easier time maintaining their blood sugar levels at their ideal body weight. Whether they are at, above or below their body weight, their daily caloric intake usually needs to be adjusted. If the person is overweight, the downward adjustment in their food intake will help them lose weight. If the person is underweight, the diet will help them gain the weight they need to be at a healthy level. Weight gain and weight loss should be implemented and handled under the care of a physician.

Exchange Rates

Nutrition labels on many foods provide diabetic exchange rates for the consumer to easily tabulate their food intake over a day. If a diabetic is on an 1,800 calorie-per-day diet, 50 per cent or 900 of those calories will typically be carbohydrates. One gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories. One exchange = 15 grams of carbs, or 60 carb calories. A diet that includes 900 carb calories per day equals 15 carbohydrate exchanges per day.

Foods You Do Not Have to Count

Free foods are foods that you do not have to count toward your total daily caloric intake. To qualify, a food has to provide 20 or fewer calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrates per serving. Possibilities include: sugar-free hard candy, sugar-free Jell-O, sugar-free gum, light or low-sugar jam or jelly (2 tsp) and sugar-free syrup (2 tsp.).

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