Foods that contain carbohydrate have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels. In fact, almost 90% of the carbohydrates we eat enter the blood as glucose just a few hours later. For this reason, carbohydrates are an important part of diabetes meal planning.
The following foods contain carbohydrate:
- Starches (breads, grains, cereals, beans)
- Sugar, honey, syrup, desserts
Is It Better to Avoid Carbohydrate Containing Foods?
Although carbohydrate foods have the greatest effect on your blood sugars, resist the temptation to cut them out of your diet. There are a few problems with this low-carbohydrate approach. First, many carbohydrate-containing foods provide you with important vitamins, minerals and fiber which are all important to good health. Second, avoiding carbohydrates usually leads to eating too much protein and fat. For a nutritious diet, remember moderation is best.
What About Desserts and Sweets?
Finally, some good news! You no longer need to eliminate desserts and sugars from your diet. Like many other foods, desserts and sweets are carbohydrates and can be included as long as they fit in to the planned carbohydrate at that meal or snack. Remember the importance of moderation. Eating too many desserts can lead to an unbalanced diet or a high intake of fat and cholesterol.
How Much Carbohydrate Do I Need?
Since almost all carbohydrate turns to glucose, the amount you eat matters more than the type. A primary goal of diabetes meal planning is to match your carbohydrate intake to your body's insulin secretion or to your injected insulin so blood sugar levels stay well controlled. Your blood sugar readings can help fine-tune these carbohydrate goals.
- If you eat too much carbohydrate at one time, your post-meal blood sugar will probably rise too high.
- Eating too little carbohydrate may cause your blood sugar to drop too low, especially if you take certain diabetes medications.
- It is best to eat consistent amounts of carbohydrate at each meal and snack, become familiar with your blood sugar response, and modify your portions if needed. For example, if a meal containing 1 cup of rice leads to a high post-meal blood sugar, try eating less next time (3/4 cup) and check your blood sugars after that meal.
Carb Counting 101 provides you with a recommended amount of carbohydrate at your meals and snacks.