Carbohydrates food for diabetics


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Carbohydrates food for diabetics

  1. 1. Carbs and Blood SugarKeeping your blood sugar levels on track means watching whatyou eat, plus taking medicines like insulin if you need to. Yourdoctor may also have mentioned that you should keep track ofhow many carbohydrates (carbs) you eat. But what exactly arecarbohydrates and how do they affect your blood sugar?The foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy andother things the body needs, and one of these is carbohydrates(pronounced: kar-bo-hi-drates). The two main forms ofcarbohydrates are:1. sugars such as fructose, glucose, and lactose2. starches, which are found in foods such as starchy vegetables (like potatoes or corn), grains, rice, breads, and cereals.The body breaks down or converts most carbohydrates into thesugar glucose (pronounced: gloo-kose). Glucose is absorbedinto the bloodstream, and with the help of a hormone calledinsulin (pronounced: in-suh-lin) it travels into the cells of thebody where it can be used for energy.But people with diabetes have problems with insulin that cancause blood sugar levels to rise. For people with type 1diabetes, the pancreas does not make enough insulin, and forpeople with type 2 diabetes, the body cant respond normallyto the insulin that is made. Unfiled Notes Page 1
  2. 2. Carbs Can Be Part of a Healthy DietBecause the body turns carbohydrates into glucose, eatingcarbohydrates makes blood sugar levels rise. But that doesntmean you should avoid carbohydrates if you have diabetes.Carbohydrates are a healthy and important part of a nutritiousdiet.Some carbohydrates have more health benefits than others,though. For example, whole-grain foods and fruits are healthierchoices than candy and soda because they provide fiber,vitamins, and other nutrients.Fiber is important because it helps you feel full and keeps yourdigestive system working properly. In fact, eating lots of fibercan even help to slow the bodys absorption of sugar wheneaten together with sugar in the same food. Everyone needsfiber, and most people dont get enough. Some experts thinkthat people with diabetes should eat more fiber than peoplewithout diabetes to help control blood sugar.Sugary foods, like soda and candy, dont usually have fiber andtypically contain "empty calories." That means they havecalories but little nutritional value, and eating too many ofthem might leave little room for healthy foods. Eating too manyempty-calorie foods can also make a person more likely to beoverweight or obese. These foods can also cause tooth decay. Unfiled Notes Page 2
  3. 3. What Are Simple Carbohydrates, ComplexCarbohydrates, and Dietary Fiber?Carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet, offeringyour body nutrients it can convert to glucose to power muscles.Carbohydrates come in three varieties: simple carbohydrates,complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. All are composed ofunits of sugar. What makes one carbohydrate different fromanother is the number of sugar units it contains and how theunits are linked together. • Simple carbohydrates: These carbohydrates have only one or two units of sugar. ○ A carbohydrate with one unit of sugar is called a simple sugar or a monosaccharide (mono = one; saccharide = sugar). Fructose (fruit sugar) is a monosaccharide, and so are glucose (blood sugar), the sugar produced when you digest carbohydrates, and galactose, the sugar derived from digesting lactose (milk sugar). ○ A carbohydrate with two units of sugar is called a double sugar or a disaccharide (di = two). Sucrose (table sugar), which is made of one unit of fructose and one unit of glucose, is a disaccharide. • Complex carbohydrates: Also known as polysaccharides (poly = many), these carbs have more than two units of sugar linked together. Carbs with three to ten units of sugar are sometimes called oligosaccharides (oligo = few). Unfiled Notes Page 1
  4. 4. • Because complex carbohydrates are, well, complex, with anywhere from three to a zillion units of sugars, your body takes longer to digest them than it takes to digest simple carbohydrates. As a result, digesting complex carbohydrates releases glucose into your bloodstream more slowly and evenly than digesting simple carbs. ○ Raffinose is a trisaccharide (tri = three) that’s found in potatoes, beans, and beets. It has one unit each of galactose, glucose, and fructose. ○ Stachyose is a tetrasaccharide (tetra = four) found in the same vegetables mentioned in the previous item. It has one fructose unit, one glucose unit, and two galactose units. ○ Starch, a complex carbohydrate in potatoes, pasta, and rice, is a definite polysaccharide, made of many units of glucose.• Dietary fiber: This term is used to distinguish the fiber in food from the natural and synthetic fibers (silk, cotton, wool, nylon) used in fabrics. Dietary fiber is a third kind of carbohydrate. Dietary fiber is not like other carbohydrates. The bonds that hold its sugar units together cannot be broken by human digestive enzymes. Although the bacteria living naturally in your intestines convert very small amounts of dietary fiber to fatty acids, dietary fiber is not considered a source of energy. Like the complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber (cellulose, Unfiled Notes Page 2
  5. 5. ○ Like the complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber (cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, beta-glucans, gum) is a polysaccharide. Lignin, a different kind of chemical, is also called a dietary fiber.○ Some kinds of dietary fiber also contain units of soluble or insoluble uronic acids, compounds derived from the sugars fructose, glucose, and galactose. For example, pectin — a soluble fiber in apples — contains soluble galacturonic acid. Unfiled Notes Page 3
  6. 6. Simple Carbs vs Complex CarbsHigh carb foods are defined as simple or complex basedon their chemical structure.The “simpler” that structure is, the faster your body willdigest and absorb that food (think sugar, candy, soda,etc.).The more “complex” that structure is, the slower thedigestion and absorption process will be (thinkvegetables, beans, grains, etc.).And this digestion/absorption rate stuff is importantbecause, the faster this process takes place within yourbody, the more it spikes your blood insulin levels.For this reason, diets high in simple carbs have beenshown to increase our risk of diabetes and heart disease,while diets high in complex carbs have actually beenshown to help do the opposite.Simple carbs also tend to be highly processed junk thatlacks any nutritional value of any kind, while complexcarbs are typically unprocessed, high in fiber, and high invarious other important nutrients, vitamins and minerals.And overall health and nutrition aside, simple carbs arealso less filling, which means you’ll be hungrier soonerafter eating them. Not to mention, that large spike inblood sugar will result in a crash soon after, and thatcrash signals hunger and food cravings. Unfiled Notes Page 1
  7. 7. So, as you can clearly see here for many obvious reasons: • Simple carbs should typically be greatly limited/avoided. • Complex carbs should comprise the majority of your daily carb intake.HOWEVER…There’s just one tiny problem with all of the above. Theclassification of “simple” and “complex” doesn’t tell thewhole story.It turns out that certain foods that technically fit the“complex carb” label can actually end up causing a rapidspike in blood sugar levels. Similarly, there are somefoods fitting the “simple carb” label that really don’t havemuch of an effect on blood sugar at all.Confusing, right? Well, to un-confuse this whole carbsituation, a little something called the Glycemic Indexwas created.The Glycemic Index: High GI vs Low GIThe glycemic index classifies carbs based on how quicklyand how high they raise blood sugar levels whencompared to pure glucose (sugar), although white breadis now used as the reference food in its place.And despite the fact that the glycemic index wasoriginally created for diabetics as a way of figuring outwhich foods would be best for them, it quickly becameused by bodybuilders, athletes, and regular people whojust want to look good and be healthy. Unfiled Notes Page 2
  8. 8. just want to look good and be healthy.Why? Because the glycemic index allows us to maintainsteady blood glucose levels throughout the day bychoosing the right types of high carb foods.This of course is useful for many reasons, the mostimportant of which are controlling hunger, maintainingenergy levels, improving the way our bodieslook/perform and preventing a variety of health/medicalissues associated with frequent and sustained spikes inblood sugar levels (like type 2 diabetes and heartdisease).How exactly? Quite simply:A carbohydrate with a high glycemic index (high GI)breaks down quickly during digestion and thereforereleases glucose into the bloodstream rapidly. Somecommon foods with a high GI rating include white bread,white rice, corn flakes, crackers and most sugary and/orhighly processed snack foods.A carbohydrate with a low glycemic index (low GI)breaks down more slowly therefore causing a muchslower and more gradual release of glucose into thebloodstream. Some common foods with a low GI ratinginclude most fruits, vegetables, and beans.What this all loosely translates into in plain English is:• High glycemic foods typically = bad for a variety of reasons.• Low glycemic foods typically = good for a variety of reasons. Unfiled Notes Page 3
  9. 9. List of Complex Carbohydrates Foods Carbohydrates are a macronutrient that your body needs in high doses on a daily basis for proper functioning. When you eat carbohydrates, they get converted to glycogen and either used immediately for energy, providing a steady dose of blood sugar, or they are stored in the muscles and liver for energy at a later time. Simple carbs, by contrast, cause a spike in blood sugar that quickly dissipates. For sustained energy, eat foods rich in complex carbs. Whole Grains Whole grains are high in fiber, have moderate protein levels, are low in fat and are also a good source of complex carbs. Specific examples include millet, oats, wheat germ, barley, wild rice, brown rice, buckwheat, oat bran, cornmeal and amaranth. Any product that is made from these grains is also complex as well. Whole grain bread, bagels, buns and rolls are examples of these. Also pasta, macaroni and breakfast cereals that are made from whole grains are complex carbohydrates. Fruits Fruits are high in water content, fiber, vitamins and they have virtually no fat at all. Fruits packed with complex carbohydrates include apricots, oranges, plums, pears, grapefruits and prunes. Vegetables Vegetables are high in water, low in fat, have multiple vitamins and minerals, and most varieties are complex carbs. Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, turnip greens, eggplant, potatoes, yams, corn, carrots, onions, all types of lettuce, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes and asparagus are all examples of these. Unfiled Notes Page 1
  10. 10. LegumesLegumes are oftentimes called pulses. These are characterizedby seeds that have an exterior pod surrounding them. Beansare a type of legume that is a complex carbohydrate. Specificexamples include lentils, kidney beans, black beans, peas,garbanzo beans, soy beans and pinto beans. Unfiled Notes Page 2