Melissa Benoit

Carbohydrate Counting in CF related Diabetes

Carbohydrate counting is a meal planning method for people with diabetes.

The amount of carbohydrate in foods is one of the factors that affect blood sugar levels (stress, activity, alcohol and illness do too). Counting carbohydrates allows you to add flexibility to your food choices without compromising your blood sugar control. At first, it takes a little work (record keeping) but many people find the results worth the effort. If you think carbohydrate counting may help you, read on to complete the steps listed below! Make sure to review these steps with your CF doctor(s), dietician(s) and clinical nurse practioner(s).


Record your food intake for 3 days. Try to be as detailed as possible, including everything that you eat and drink at meals and snacks. Remember to write down the amounts. After you have recorded your food for 3 days, read on!

Where Are Carbohydrates Found? Knowing which foods contain carbohydrate is an important first step. Because carbohydrates break down into to sugars during digestion, this information will help you to identify which foods need to be accounted for at meals and snacks.

The following food groups contain carbohydrates:

• Starchy foods -rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, cereal, dried or canned beans, peas, lentils, corn, crackers, cookies, popcorn, pie crust, chips, pretzels, or anything else made with flour!

• All fruits

• Some vegetables (peas, carrots, squash, beets, turnip, pumpkin). Other vegetables have just a little carbohydrate in them. You would not include them unless you were eating more than 1 cup.

• Milk and Yogurt

• Sugar and Sugar containing foods (jam, candy, pop, chocolate, ice cream, cake, pie)

• Supplements such as Scandishakes, Ensure/Ensure Plus, and Boost

What About Protein and Fat ? Protein and fat do NOT raise your blood sugar levels like carbohydrate does. That’s why you don’t have to count them. Examples of protein and fat foods include: meat, eggs, salad dressing, chicken, bacon, mayonnaise, fish, butter, margarine, oil, gravy, cheese, nuts, seeds, sour cream.

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