How many carbs should I have per day? And what is a good fat vs. a bad fat?
The American Diabetes Association recommends following a meal plan that works for you and helps you meet your own goals. These goals could be anything: losing weight, improving your A1C, lowering blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels.
As a starting point, you can use 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal. However, some people may need more and some may need less. Visit your health care provider as soon as possible to begin working on a meal plan that is appropriate for you. Determine a range of carbohydrates to eat at each meal, and ask if you should include snacks. You will need to know when you should eat snacks and how many carbohydrates a snack should have.
Unsaturated fats are called “good fats” because they have health benefits like lowering your risk of heart disease. The types of unsaturated fats that you hear most about are polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature and are also found in whole foods including:
- Vegetable oils (canola, olive, peanut, corn, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, flaxseed, etc.)
- Fish (albacore tuna, mackerel, halibut, herring, salmon, sardines, trout)
Saturated and trans fats are called “bad fats” because they increase your risk of heart disease. These fats are usually solid at room temperature. Limit the sources of saturated fat in your diet: fatty meats, high-fat dairy products, butter, lard, fatback, cream sauces, chocolate, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. Choose lean protein sources. Trim visual fat off meat and remove skin from chicken and turkey. You should also choose non-fat dairy products. Use seasonings and the good fats listed above to flavor your food.
Include as little trans fat as possible in your diet. Choose foods that have zero grams of trans fat listed on the label AND do not have “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list. Trans fats are found in:
- many packaged and processed foods like cakes, candies, cookies
- many baked goods
- many snack foods like crackers
- fried foods
By knowing the difference between the types of fat, you can include good fats in your diet to add flavor and nutritional benefits without increasing your risk of heart disease. You can also minimize the amount of bad fats in your diet. Always be careful of portion sizes, because all types of fat are high in calories.
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