I was taught to control my blood sugar by eating a certain amount of carbohydrates at every meal. Does this mean I can eat as many carb-free foods as I want?

Answers from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

No, you don't have a pass to eat unlimited amounts of foods just because they're free of carbohydrates. Carbs aren't your only dietary consideration.

Eating a healthy, portion-controlled diet helps you manage your blood sugar levels and reduces your risk of diabetes-related conditions, such as heart disease and stroke. The best way to do this is to choose a variety of nutritious foods — those rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber — and limit foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium.

Consider the following sample breakfast menus. Although they provide almost the same number of carbs, breakfast No. 2 is a better choice because it's considerably lower in calories, cholesterol and fat.

Breakfast No. 1
  Carbs (g) Cholesterol (mg) Fat (g) Calories
2 fried eggs 1 370 14 180
3 sausage links 0.5 36 12.5 156
1 cup hash browns 44 0 18 340
1 slice white toast 15.5 0 1 83
2 teaspoons butter 0 20 8 68
1/2 cup orange juice 13 0 0 56
1 cup black coffee 0 0 0 2
Totals 74 426 53.5 885
Breakfast No. 2
  Carbs (g) Cholesterol (mg) Fat (g) Calories
3/4 cup cornflakes 18 0 1 75
1/2 banana 13.5 0 0 61
1 cup low-fat milk 12 12 2.5 102
1 slice wheat toast 14.5 0 1.5 87
1 tablespoon peanut butter 4 0 8 94
1/2 cup orange juice 13 0 0 56
1 cup black coffee 0 0 0 2
Totals 75 12 13 477
Jan. 31, 2013