Diabetics must consult diabetes educators or dieticians to determine how many carbohydrates to take in on a daily basis, as healthy amounts vary from person to person, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. In healthy diets, carbohydrates constitute 45 to 65 percent of total calorie intake. Diabetics can ensure that the meals they consume contain the proper amount of carbohydrates through carbohydrate counting.
Dieticians measure carbohydrates in grams, with each gram equal to about four calories, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Nutrition labels on foods that list carbohydrate grams per serving help diabetics with their carbohydrate counts. Healthy carbohydrates include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes and dairy products. Unhealthy carbohydrates with added sugars that diabetics should eat in moderation or avoid include grain-based desserts, milk-based desserts, candy, soft drinks and energy drinks. Foods such as fish, poultry, meat, nuts and oils don't contain carbohydrates.
Diabetics should regularly monitor their blood glucose levels with a glucose meter to be sure their carbohydrate counting is effective, advises the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Additionally, at least two times a year, they should take an A1C blood test. Diabetics must combine their meal plans and carbohydrate counting with regular physical activity and any required medication.