October 31, 2014

Are You Staying within Your Calorie Budget?

I know some people with type 2 diabetes are, but many are not because they are totally immersed in counting carbohydrates and they ignore calories. How many calories have you eaten today, how many should you eat? Many can guess how many calories do you need? The 2000-calorie-a-day standard is just a ballpark figure, used by FDA to calculate daily values on food labels. The following table will give you more of a range. The weakness of the table is no information is listed for active adults and for children and adolescents.

Here are the typical calorie needs of inactive adults, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
• Ages 19-30: 2,000 calories
• Ages 31-50: 1,800 calories
• Ages 51-plus: 1,600 calories
• Ages 19-30: 2,400 calories
• Ages 31-50: 2,200 calories
• Ages 51-plus: 2,000 calories

These age ranges are for people in good health and not for people with chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. In addition, I would question the age ranges above 51, as there could be other ranges that need clarification for people over 70. Since I am not an expert in counting calories, my guess would be that for people with type 2 diabetes should probably be less that the calories above.

Again, get out the blood glucose meter and use this before and after consuming a meal. This will also tell you if you are eating too many calories. People that are very active can probably consume more calories. There are calorie calculators like this at the Mayo Clinic website. Just be aware that all calorie calculators are based on a one-size-fits-all basis.

Just like carb counting, there are variables to consider. Metabolism is a big variable – do you have an unusually slow or fast burning metabolism. Fortunately, a doctor can give you a breath test to check that. This knowledge will help the doctor and you set an individualized calorie goal.

A majority of adults need or want to lose weight. For this, there is a one-size-fits-all calorie formula. This will work for some people, but many will not have success. If you change your level of exercise, you may lose more weight and faster than anticipated.

For people with type 2 diabetes, stick with the carbohydrate count and start learning the calorie count. This is because some foods are higher in calories than the carbohydrate count and a few foods are higher in carbohydrate count than calorie count.

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