Normal and Therapeutic Nutrition

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Food Exchange Lists

A food exchange list is a system of determining a daily food plan based on units, or exchanges, of various food types. The nutrient content of each item on the list is calculated according to its serving size , so that items in the same category have approximately the same nutritional value. One serving size of a food in a category can be exchanged for one serving size of any other food in the same category, which is why a serving is called an exchange. One of the first and most widely adopted exchange systems is the diabetic food exchange list, but the method is used in a number of popular diet plans.

Many countries in the European Union also recommend exchange-based food pyramids. Exchange systems can be adjusted for different calorie levels, usually between and calories, so they are easily adapted to different diets.

In a typical diabetic exchange list, the categories include meat and meat substitutes, starches, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and fat. Other diets might have different category names, and might include different items, such as a category for foods that should be eaten sparingly or infrequently. Some foods might fall into more than one category, or be in a different category in one food exchange list than they are in another.

For example, beans are protein or meat exchanges in some programs, but are in a separate category for beans and legumes in other programs. Cheese is classified as a meat substitute in the diabetic food exchange list, but as a dairy exchange in other plans. Meat exchanges could be meat, poultry, or fish, usually in portion sizes of one ounce.

They could also include non-meat sources of protein, such as beans or peanut butter. In the diabetic exchange system, meat is further broken down by the amount of fat it has, with higher-fat sources eaten less frequently. Carbohydrate or starch exchanges usually include grains, breads, cereals, and starchy vegetables like potatoes.

On some exchange lists, carbohydrates might be broken up into more than one category. Grains, cereal , and pasta are often combined in one exchange category, which may or may not include bread. The serving size for a vegetable exchange is usually about 0. The diabetic diet is a healthy diet in general. The diet encourages you to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups, emphasizing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy.

The diet also encourages portion control and eating meals regularly. These healthy diet principles are the same recommendations given to someone who wants to lose weight. If you're overweight or obese and have diabetes, losing as little as 10 pounds can help improve blood sugar. The diabetic diet recommends you eat the same amount of food around the same time every day. Being consistent with the amount and timing of your meals aids in blood sugar control. Some people may have a hard time sticking to a rigid meal schedule.

For example, if you are an emergency room nurse, you may have a difficult time eating meals at specified times. Additionally, not being able to eat the right amount of food at specified times can affect how your medication works, causing high or low blood sugars. While there is no one diabetic diet, there are two meal planning tools -- the exchange list and carbohydrate counting -- used to help people with diabetes eat better.

The exchange list divides foods into groups based on similarities in nutritional content, and you are allowed a certain number of servings from each food group based on calorie needs and food preferences. If you in the normal BMI range, you are generally allowed between 1, and 2, calories per day. For those in the overweight BMI range, this is reduced to roughly 1, and then between 1, and 1, for people in the obese range.

Upon working out your BMI and calorie allowances, you should then assess how much carbohydrate you can have in your daily diet. This can be done by multiplying your daily calorie intake by. An example of this would be x. This list is certainly not comprehensive, but it does contain a wide variety of foods that conform to the diabetic exchange diet.

However, because a food does not appear in the prohibited list, it is not necessarily alright to eat. Each serving from this list contains 15 grams of carbohydrate, grams protein, gram fat and 80 calories. Each serving from this list contains 15 grams of carbohydrate, no grams of fat or protein and 60 calories.

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