Carbs are found in all food of plant origin -

Starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, mielies), porridges (pap, mabella, oats, stamp), grains (rice, stamp and beans, pasta, breakfast cereals), all breads, rolls and crackers, barley, stamp koring and legumes such as lentils and dry beans.

All vegetables and all fresh fruit, canned fruit, dried fruit and fruit juices.

All milk and milky drinks such as cappuccinos and yoghurt.

All sugary foods (desserts, ice cream, sweets) and baked items (biscuits, muffins, cake etc)

Numerous factors affect glycaemic control including the quantity and type of carbohydrates we eat. Matching insulin dosage with carbs offers flexibility with food choices whilst maintaining blood glucose levels. It can be used by people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes as it has been proven that, with Type 2 diabetes, the amount of carbs consumed is as important as the type of carbohydrates eaten.

You must learn the basic carb calculations and monitor blood glucose levels before and after meals. With time it will become easier!

Basic carb counting informs on how carbs affect your blood glucose levels, taking your activity and lifestyle into consideration. It also informs on carb levels in specific foods and how much insulin is needed.

Advanced carb counting includes calculating insulin to carb ratios to adjust to changing meal patterns. This method is normally used by people who use the basal bolus dose regime via the pen or insulin pump and should be undertaken with the help of your health care professional.

See part two in the next issue ofRolling Inspiration for information on how to calculate carbs.