Healthy Eating for Pre-Diabetic and Diabetic Individuals
Useful nutrition information for those who need to monitor their blood sugar.
Consistent Carbohydrate Diet (CCHO)
The Consistent Carbohydrate Diet works to help manage fluctuations in blood sugar levels throughout the course of a day making it a popular diet and nutrition approach for those who are diagnosed with Prediabetes or Diabetes. It’s also considered safe for individuals of all ages and ethnicities.
The CCHO diet preserves an individual’s freedom of food choice for each meal they have as long as they pay close attention to the number of calories they consume in the form of carbohydrates. The number of carbohydrates consumed each day will be counted and constant even if the amount varies between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This results in keeping your blood sugar levels stable and predictable.
To simplify the process of counting carbs; use the standard system where 1 serving of carbs is equal to 15 grams. Whether a person chooses to track their daily intake in the form of the total number of grams or total daily servings; it’s important that they choose a system that is both convenient and reliable throughout the course of a day when plans and access to food could suddenly change. Oftentimes, individuals can save a digital chart on their smartphone or print a Carbohydrate Reference Guide to carry with them. On average, people with prediabetes and diabetes should aim to consume half of their daily calories as carbohydrates but it should be noted that this can vary depending on individual characteristics and activity levels. Below are breakdowns for CCHO daily carbohydrate consumption using the most common caloric intake suggested for Males (2,500 cal.) and Females (2,000 cal.)
Average Calorie Requirements for Males: 2,500 daily
1,250 calories per day from carbohydrate sources ( 1g carbohydrate = 4 calories)
312g of carbs spread between three meals
Carbohydrates for each meal: Breakfast (105g), Lunch (105g), Dinner (102g)
Average Calorie Requirements for Females: 2,000 daily
1,000 calories per day from carbohydrate sources ( 1g carbohydrate = 4 calories)
250g of carbs spread between three meals
Carbohydrates for each meal: Breakfast (85g), Lunch (85g), Dinner (80g)
Carbohydrate Types and Tips for More Stable Blood Sugar Levels
Simple, broken down quickly, can cause faster changes in blood sugar levels
Examples include naturally occurring fruit forms (fructose), white table sugar
Complex, digest slowly, can cause slower changes in blood sugar levels
Examples include lima beans, potatoes, whole grains
Complex, digested slowly, not likely to cause changes in blood sugar levels
Examples include apples, celery, chickpeas
The Glycemic Index (GI) system refers to a carbohydrate’s ability to raise blood glucose levels compared to a standard reference point of pure glucose (100).
Eating foods with a higher Glycemic Index means a sharper spike in a person's blood sugar that is followed by an equally sharp decline. This can be problematic for individuals managing their Pre-diabetes and Diabetes when they need to manage and control their blood sugar fluctuations throughout the day. Choosing foods with a lower Glycemic Index will produce a rise in blood sugar levels that declines slower over time giving individuals more control over their blood sugar, cravings, and meal choices as time progresses. This can help improve an individual’s Glycemic Control which should be the primary goal of anyone managing Prediabetes and Diabetes.
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Smartphone Apps
When looking at foods and their Glycemic Index (GI); it’s good practice to keep a reference guide close by to help you make the best possible choices regardless of when and where you choose to eat your next meal. Tracking your daily nutrition intake and being diligent with selecting the foods that complement your lifestyle and health needs will ensure that you have the best advantages when it comes to managing your blood sugar levels and Prediabetic or Type II Diabetic conditions. These smartphone apps are only a few options that can be useful for checking a food’s glycemic index score and many include other nutrition values such as calories, protein, carbs, and fats.
#1. Glycemic Index, Load Net Carbs
#2. Glyx: Glycemic Load & Index
#3. The Low-Glycal Diet™ by BioFit
In addition to using resources like the Free Apps above; there are also web resources that allow you to search a database of foods to find the Glycemic Index information for a given food.
“Glycemic Index Search.” The University of Sydney – Glycemic Index Search, glycemicindex.com/gi-search/.
Although it’s not an interactive search tool; this website provides a list of the most commonly sought-after foods and their Glycemic Index information. Consider printing this to keep on hand or at home for quick reference help during meal preparation.
“Glycemic Index for 60+ Foods.” Harvard Health, 6 Jan. 2020, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods.
“5 Best Glycemic Index Apps for Android & IOS: Free Apps for Android and IOS.” Free Apps for Android and IOS | Cool Apps to Download, 24 July 2020, freeappsforme.com/glycemic-index-apps/ https://freeappsforme.com/glycemic-index-apps/
“Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.” Linus Pauling Institute, 1 Jan. 2021,
“Low-Glycemic Foods: Best Options and Dietary Tips.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324871.
“Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity.
Hollimon, Nicole. “Consistent Carbohydrate DIET (CCHO) for Diabetes.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/diabetes/ccho-diet.
Read, Charles Herbert. “The Origin of the Constant Carbohydrate Diet.” International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777277/.
“Carb Counting.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Sept. 2019, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html.