Factors Affecting Blood Sugar
Now that you have become more familiar with carbohydrate counting, here are some factors that can affect your blood sugars:
Fiber Content: If a food item contains 5 grams or more of fiber, you can subtract that amount from the total carbohydrate value. This is because research shows that 5 grams of fiber is enough to make a difference in blood glucose control. For insulin users, neglecting to subtract this amount of fiber in a high-fiber food from the total carbohydrate value could cause you to overestimate the amount of fast-acting insulin needed and result in low blood sugars.
Food Form: Cooked vs. raw - some foods produce a more rapid blood sugar increase when cooked because they are digested faster (i.e., cooked carrots or over-cooked pasta). Also particle size can have an impact on how quickly the food item is absorbed-smaller particles of food are absorbed faster (baked potato vs. mashed potato).
Alcoholic Beverages: Because pure alcohol alone does not raise blood sugar, it isn't necessary to take extra insulin to cover the content of one lite beer or a 4 oz. glass of dry wine, or 1-1/2 oz. hard liquor.(scotch, vodka, gin) Also, because of its ability to cause a low blood sugar reaction, alcohol should always be consumed with a meal or snack and preferably no more than two drinks at one time.
Exercise: The amount of activity you engage in before or right after you eat can be a determining factor in how much insulin is needed. Exercise typically helps the body to use either its own insulin or manufactured insulin more effectively
Time of Day: In some people, an early morning hormone surge leads to higher blood sugars and an increased need for insulin. For those who control their diabetes with diet alone, adding exercise after the breakfast meal can be helpful in lowering blood sugars. For those individuals taking diabetes medications and/or insulin, a larger dose at that time of the day often keeps blood sugars under good control.
Individual Variation: "You are an experiment of one!" In other words, you may read or hear about certain foods that have caused high blood sugars to occur even when eaten in moderate quantities. However, we all process foods differently and the best way to determine your tolerance for different carbohydrates is to test your blood sugars more frequently after meals when introducing a food into your diet for the first time.
By keeping good food and glucose monitoring records, you will be able to determine if certain foods or food combinations require an adjustment in your medication or exercise routine.
√ Test Your Understanding