Book Review: Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes
This book is not what you think it is. At least it’s not what I thought it was going to be, based on its title. It’s something way more useful.
From the title, The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes, I expected it to be endless tables listing individual food items with their nutritional information. You know, potato chips 1 oz. serving has 10 grams of total fat and 15 grams of total carbohydrate. Something like that.
Instead, The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes is a primer on understanding how carbohydrates, or carbs, affect blood glucose and how to manage carb consumption for better glucose management when you have diabetes.
Basics of carb consumption with diabetes
Author Shelby Kinnaird, who writes the blog DiabeticFoodie, invites the reader to learn the basics of carb consumption with diabetes. She covers the basic science behind how carbs affect blood glucose, how to set personal carb consumption goals, develop meal plans, and track the results.
Shelby’s approach is notable for a couple of reasons. One, she takes a “teach a person to fish” approach, giving the readers the info needed to identify their own individual carb consumption goal. She doesn’t dictate what she thinks those goals should be. And two, Shelby offers a couple of different approaches to managing carb consumption, acknowledging that not everybody and their diabetes is the same.
The heart of the book is Part II: Handy Tools for Counting Carbs. Shelby presents clear, straightforward info on how to determine your personal carb count levels and how to allocate your carb grams throughout the day. Then she lays out some alternative approaches to strict carb counting, including avoiding white foods, balancing your plate, and eating a rainbow. She explains the importance of meal planning and carb tracking with diabetes management in mind.
By providing a variety of tactics to keep track of carbs Shelby enables the reader to respond more effectively when their routine gets disrupted or they’re faced with an unfamiliar situation. Having this knowledge will make it easier to manage carb consumption in a social situation or at a new restaurant. And by presenting alternatives to the standard count carbs approach, Shelby is helping the reader develop flexible skills that support resilient diabetes management.
What is the book about?
The book starts with a quick overview of diabetes (in its various forms/stages), carbs, and how the two are related. There’s also a listing of the various classes of diabetes medications with a short description of how they work. This is information that, while providing good grounding, is covered in just about every basic diabetes guide.
At the end the book covers healthy lifestyles. Here Shelby touches on the importance of exercise and stress management for diabetes management. She also talks about the advantages that come with cooking most of your meals at home.
Finally, for those readers in a hurry Shelby provides a quick overview of the key elements of managing carb consumption for better diabetes management with these 10 tips:
- Strive for a balance of carbs and other nutrients
- Track the numbers and effects
- Favor carbs that are rich in both fiber and nutrients
- Cook at home as often as possible
- Read nutrition labels
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Control your portion sizes
- Choose lean proteins
- Consume mostly unsaturated fats
- Experiment to find what work for you
These tips are good reflection of Shelby’s approach to managing carb consumption. They’re guidelines for making choices, not hard-and-fast rules. Once the reader understands the guidelines, they can make better informed choices and not be bound by what someone else thinks is right or wrong.
If you’re looking for a way to improve your carb consumption in order to improve your diabetes management give The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes a read. You’ll certainly learn something to help you better manage your diabetes.
The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes
By Shelby Kinnaird
Kindle version available June 12, 2018
Paperback version available June 26, 2018
NOTE: I received an electronic review copy of The Pocket Carbohydrate Counter Guide for Diabetes from the author. This review reflects my opinion and is based on the review copy version of the book.
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