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Carbo Intolerance Diet


This diet is high in unrefined complex carbohydrates and fibers. It is designed to help stabilize blood glucose in those individuals who have blood glucose intolerances. This diet was designed by Dr. James Anderson, an endocrinologist at the University of Kentucky Medical School who has evaluated its effectiveness in maturity-onset diabetes. This diet is useful for the management of the obese insulin-insensitive diabetic and the non-insulin requiring diabetic.

The diet is built upon the recognition that each food has its own glycemic index (a measure of how a food influences blood sugar consumption.) Foods with lower glycemic index result in lower postprandial (after eating) blood sugar levels. Such foods are those found in a Lente diet (as used by the Seventh Day Adventists) and include beans, green peas, whole grain products and low-fat dairy products.

This diet abbreviated HFC, (high-fiber, high-complex carbohydrate diet) is adequate in protein, vitamins and minerals. Those individuals who are wheat or corn allergic may have a more difficult time with this diet due to the high grain composition of the diet. In these cases management may be better achieved by use of the high protein diet.

Individualized treatment is essential for diabetics with specific metabolic complications associated with the disease. A physician and a dietician should be consulted in order to adjust meal patterns to the patient’s needs and lifestyle while maintaining dietary modifications.

Because food, insulin, and exercise influence blood sugar concentration, these three factors must be taken into consideration when treating diabetes.


When used, insulin determines the time of day when food intake is most critical.


Physical activity promotes a more rapid absorption of glucose in the muscles which tends to decrease blood glucose. This reduces the need for insulin and increases food requirements. A planned snack should be included in the meal plan to provide for extra activity, following these guidelines:

For each hour of moderate activity, 10 to 15 grams carbohydrates and 15 grams protein should be consumed.

For each hour of strenuous activity, 20 to 30 grams carbohydrates and 15 grams protein should be consumed.


Meal and snack timing is essential for persons with diabetes, particularly those receiving insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents. Considerations include the number, time, and spacing of meals, with the primary objective being the prevention of hypoglycemia by supplying sufficient available glucose. For this reason, the individual’s food intake is usually divided into three meals (four to five hours apart) and one to three daily snacks.



  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup skim milk


  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, sliced lettuce and tomato for sandwich
  • 1/2 cup steamed carrots
  • 3 ounces sliced turkey breast
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/3 cup cooked corn

Afternoon Snack

  • 1 cup popcorn (no butter)
  • 1 apple


  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon margarine or butter
  • 2 teaspoons oil and vinegar dressing
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup salad: romaine or Boston lettuce, sliced carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, green pepper, celery
  • 4 ounces broiled halibut
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 banana

Evening Snack

  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 small apple
  • 6 rye wafers
  • 1 small pear

Nutrient Content

  • Calories: 2400
  • Carbohydrate: 65%
  • Cholesterol: 200 mg
  • Protein: 15%
  • Fat: 20%
  • Fiber: 17 g

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The number of food exchange list units shown apply to a 2,400 calorie Carbohydrate Intolerance Diet. The calorie levels and number of food exchange list units are provided only as examples; it should not be assumed that they apply to all diabetics.

Bread and Cereal Exchange List:

12 servings per day


  • Whole wheat bread
  • Potatoes
  • Beans (dried)
  • Lentils
  • Cereals
  • Sweet potato
  • Green peas


  • Refined, fiber-free breads and cereals
  • Sugar-coated cereals
  • Baked goods containing large amounts of fats and sugar such as doughnuts and sweet rolls

Fat Exchange List:

7 servings per day

Recommended: Polyunsaturated salad oils such as:

  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil

Avoid: Saturated fats such as:

  • Lard
  • Coconut oil
  • Saturated oils
  • Butter

Fruit Exchange List:

9 servings per day


  • Fresh or frozen fruits or juices

Avoid: Canned fruits (with syrup sweeteners)

Meat and Meat Substitute Exchange List:

7 servings per day


  • Lean meats
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Low fat cheeses such as
  • Poultry
  • Shellfish
  • Mozzarella
  • Cottage cheese


  • Sausages
  • Luncheon meats
  • Fatty cheeses such as cream cheese

Milk Exchange List:

3 servings per day


  • Skim milk
  • Buttermilk made from skim milk or milk (2% fat)
  • Milk (2% fat)
  • Yogurt made from skim milk or milk (2% fat)


  • Whole milk or whole milk products
  • Ice cream (see liquid and clear liquid substitutions for exceptions)

Vegetable Exchange List:

3 servings per day


  • Fresh vegetables or vegetable juices
  • Avoid: Canned or frozen vegetables

Miscellaneous Exchange List


  • Homemade, fat-free soups and broths
  • Avoid: Refined and processed sweets, such as candy.

Note: Include six to eight cups of fluids, such as water per day.

Liquid and Clear Liquid Substitutes

When a diabetic is unable to eat solid food, it may be necessary to substitute liquid or clear liquid foods. To contribute towards the patient’s caloric requirements, the physician or dietitian may suggest the use of sweetened liquids. In such a case refined, highly concentrated sources of sugar are permitted. The following show carbohydrate and calorie values for selected foods from the liquid diet.

  • 1 cup ginger ale or lemon-lime drink 70 calories 18 grams
  • 1/2 cup cereal - cream of wheat with 1/4 cup skim milk 55-65 calories 8 grams
  • 1/2 cup soft custard 160 calories 18 grams
  • 1 cup eggnog 230 calories 20 grams
  • 1/2 cup fruit-flavored gelatin dessert 70 calories 17 grams
  • 1/2 cup ice cream 150 calories 15 grams
  • 1/2 cup sherbet 130 calories 30 grams
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 45 calories 12 grams


Include six to eight cups of fluids, such as water, per day.


Anderson, J., Kiehm, T.G., Ward, K., "Beneficial Effects of a High Carbohydrate Diet on Hyperglycemic Diabetic Men". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Kirby, R.W., Anderson, J.W., Sieling, B., Rees, E.D., Chen, W.J., Miller, R.E., Kay, R.M., "Oat-bran Intake Selectively Lowers Serum Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Concentrations of Hypercholesterolemic Men." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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