The Diabetes Diet And Blood Sugar
Your diet has a direct effect on your blood sugar, and understanding the connection is crucial when you have type 2 diabetes. Master the basics of the diabetes diet and blood sugar control. Anyone can start to feel a bit low on energy if they haven't eaten in a while, or if they've chosen food that leaves them sluggish and hungry for more. But when you're living with type 2 diabetes, understanding the relationship between the food you eat and how you function — especially regarding your blood sugar — is crucial to staying healthy. "Diet does indeed directly impact blood sugars," says Kelly O'Connor, RD, LDN, CDE, director of diabetes education of the Diabetes Center at Mercy Medical in Baltimore. "Of the three main groupings of food — fat, protein, and carbohydrates — it is the carbs group that turns directly to blood sugar. Consuming more carbs than your body can process in a given amount of time can result in high blood sugar levels." Blood Sugar and Carbohydrate Basics The best place to start revamping your diet is, therefore, carbohydrates. Carbs include both healthy complex carbs — fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, and beans — and the not-so-healthy simple carbs, such as candy and soda. "The best types of carbohydrates are complex carbs, which contain more fiber, are less processed, and typically do not result in blood sugar spikes," explains O'Connor. Learning how to count your carbs will help you keep your blood sugar under control, and a certified diabetes educator can help you get started. "The first thing you and your educator need to do is come up with a personalized number for total daily carbs," says Alison Massey, RD, LDN, CDE, a diabetes educator at Mercy Medical in Baltimore. Your daily carbs number depends on your weight, height, e Continue reading >>
Counting Carbohydrates Like A Pro
Practical Tips for Accurate Counts Let’s get this straight: There is no such thing as a “pro” when it comes to carbohydrate counting. There is no master’s degree or PhD in Carbohydrate Science at any major university, nor is there a course focusing on counting carbohydrates in any dietetics or nutrition science program. And I’ve yet to meet anyone at a circus or carnival who, for a mere dollar, will “guess the carbohydrates” in your favorite food item, lest you win a valuable prize. So why would anyone with diabetes want to count carbohydrates “like a pro”? Simple. When it comes to keeping blood glucose levels in control, carbohydrate counting works better than any other system. Better than counting calories. Better than avoiding sugar. And certainly better (and simpler) than the exchange system. Carbohydrate is what raises blood glucose level abruptly after meals. Not fat or protein or vitamins or minerals. Just carbohydrate. Counting and managing the amount of carbohydrate in your diet has important benefits. If you take multiple daily injections of insulin or use an insulin pump, carbohydrate counting allows you to match doses of mealtime rapid-acting insulin to the foods you eat. This allows for almost unlimited dietary flexibility and helps to prevent post-meal highs and lows. If you control your diabetes with diet and exercise, pills, or just one or two insulin injections a day, you can also use carbohydrate counting to improve your control. Researchers at the University of Texas School of Allied Health Sciences in Galveston found that consistent carbohydrate intake (eating the same amount of carbohydrate at the same meals every day) in people with Type 2 diabetes leads to improvements in blood glucose control, whether or not a person also loses Continue reading >>
Can Carbohydrates Cause Sugar Levels To Rise?
Carbohydrate is the single nutrient that has the biggest impact on your blood sugar levels; however, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some carbohydrates, such as processed starches, can dramatically increase your blood sugar levels, while others, like dietary fiber, have no effect on blood sugar at all. Managing your blood sugar means managing the amounts and types of carbohydrates you eat. Understanding how different types of carbohydrate affect your blood sugar is essential to helping you maintain optimal blood sugar levels. Carbohydrate Basics There are three main types of carbohydrate that occur naturally in your food: sugar, starch and fiber. The simplest unit of every carbohydrate is a sugar molecule. Sugar molecules can link together to form starches and fibers. When you eat carbohydrates, your body digests them back into individual sugar molecules and converts the majority of these individual sugars into glucose -- a type of sugar your cells use for energy. Glucose is small enough to pass into your bloodstream, which causes your blood sugar level to increase. Because of this, most -- but not all -- of the carbohydrates you consume will directly increase your blood sugar levels. The extent and timing of the increase in blood sugar depends largely on the type of carbohydrate and the specific food you eat. Glycemic Index Although all carbohydrates consist of sugar molecules, they do not equally affect your blood sugar levels. For example, both white bread and oatmeal contain starch, but white bread causes a much faster and sharper increase in your blood sugar level compared to oatmeal. The glycemic index is a system that classifies carbohydrate foods on a scale of 1 to 100 based on how quickly and sharply they increase your blood sugar level compared to pur Continue reading >>
Carbohydrates, Blood Sugar, And Insulin – What Is The Link?
Be it Muesli with fruit for breakfast, pasta at lunch, a light meal in the evening, or a piece of chocolate or chips as a snack in-between: We find carbohydrates everywhere. If you take a closer look at the topic of nutrition, and particularly at carbohydrates, sooner or later, you will come across terms such as “good” and “bad” carbohydrates. But which carbohydrates are “good” or “bad”, what foods contain them, and why is it so important to know the difference? In the first part of the series on carbohydrates, we elaborated on the different qualities of carbohydrates. The chain length or complexity of carbohydrates play an important role. They affect blood sugar levels, satiety, energy supply, and the storage of body fat. Beware of generalizations! “Bad” carbohydrates, for example, usually refer to short-chained or “simple” carbohydrates. Sometimes whole foods are called “bad carbohydrates”. Fruits for example contain simple carbohydrates, but are far from “bad”. The contained carbohydrates are only one part of a fruit. Fruits contain many more nutrients, which, in turn, have a certain impact on your body. That is why macro-nutrients, especially carbohydrates, should always be considered in connection with the foodstuff and its overall composition, and vice versa, a foodstuff should not be condemned wholesale based on a single macro-nutrient. What is the disadvantage of simple carbohydrates? Simple carbohydrates reach the blood directly and quickly and are responsible for a steep rise in sugar – in the form of glucose – in the blood. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as “fast” carbohydrates. Since too much sugar can be dangerous for several different systems of the body, it reacts with the distribution of large amou Continue reading >>
Understanding Digestion: Why You Should Eat Carbohydrates With Fat, Fibre, And Vinegar – Idm Iii
In our previous post we discussed how the rate of digestion of different carbohydrates can affect our blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates are chains of sugars. They used to be classified by simple (1-2 sugars) versus complex (long chains). This was not very useful because it did not help us figure out the speed of digestion. The body breaks down different carbohydrates at varying rates. We want to eat carbohydrates that take the body a long time to break down and to digest. Understanding the digestion process of different foods can help you make better food selections. Every time you go to pick-up a food item you should ask yourself “How is my body going to digest this food?” Being able to answer that question is crucial to your overall health. Carbohydrates Rate of Digestion of Processed and Refined Carbohydrates Refined and processed carbohydrates are usually very easy for the body to digest. During the refining process, fats and fibre are generally removed. Both fat and fibre, when eaten with carbohydrate tend to slow down the absorption of sugar and insulin spikes. Common Types of Refined and Processed Carbohydrates to Avoid: Sugar, wheat flour, bread, bagels, pasta, crackers, beer, sodas, diet sodas, fruit juices, cookies, candies, corn, corn flour, corn syrups, polished white rice, and alcohol sugars. Rate of Digestion of Unrefined Carbohydrates The carbohydrates found in foods like unprocessed grains, whole fruits and vegetables, are composed of many different sugar molecules linked together. Their rate of digestion varies greatly depending on the composition of their simple sugar molecules. Unprocessed grains like quinoa, barley, spelt and buckwheat, and starches like root vegetables, bananas and grapes, are composed of branching chains of glucose molecules th Continue reading >>
Does Whole-grain Bread Raise Blood Sugar?
Whole-grain bread is made from grain that contains all three of its natural components: the germ, the bran and the endosperm. It differs from bread made with refined grains, which have only the starch-laden endosperm. Whole-grain bread has significant amounts of digestible carbohydrates. Any food that contains digestible carbs will raise your blood sugar, or blood glucose, although some carbs will raise your glucose levels much more than others. Video of the Day Whole grains are classified as complex carbohydrates. This means that they contain starch and fiber and take a relatively long time to digest. The outer layer, or bran, is rich in fiber, which doesn’t get digested but helps regulate the flow of wastes through your large intestine. The middle layer, or germ, has a number of important nutrients, including vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids. When you eat bread or other grain products that don’t have these layers, you lose much of their nutritional and system-regulating benefits. Some food manufacturers attempt to compensate for this by enriching their products. But enriched bread still does not have as many nutrients as whole-grain bread. Glucose and Carbohydrate Digestion Digestible carbohydrates play an essential role in your health by providing you with a source of the simple sugar called glucose, which you rely on to supply fuel to your body. Digestible carbs are broken into glucose and other simple sugars, which then pass through the wall of your small intestine into your bloodstream. Once it’s in your blood, some of this glucose is circulated throughout your body and absorbed by the cells. The rest of it is stored in your liver. When you eat whole-grain bread and other digestible carbs, a significant amount of glucose builds up in your Continue reading >>
Are All Carbohydrates Created Equal?
twitter summary: All carbs are NOT created equal - 30 g of beans is way different from 30 g of glucose tabs; choose lower glycemic index foods for better BGs A diagnosis of diabetes – type 1 or type 2 – hits everyone very differently. However, one common memory for most of us is learning about food and carbohydrate counts. To this day, I still haven’t forgotten that one cup of milk contains 12 grams of carbs, one cup of rice contains 45 grams of carbs, and a steak doesn’t have any carbs. We also pretty quickly learn the physiology basics: a carbohydrate raises blood sugar, and the more carbs you eat, the larger the blood sugar spike (all else being equal). Those of us on insulin estimate the appropriate amount to cover the carbohydrates and bring our blood glucose back down – e.g., if I eat 30 grams of carbs, I should take three units of insulin (for someone with a 1:10 insulin-to-carb ratio). If I eat 60 grams of carbs, I need six units of insulin. Pretty simple. However, that approach embeds what seems like an illogical assumption - namely, that all foods containing carbohydrates are created equal. In other words, if I eat an equal number of carbs of two very different foods – half a cup of black beans (30 grams of carbs) and 7.5 glucose tablets (30 grams of carbs) – I should still take the same three units of insulin. Is that really true? In a few simple experiments using my CGM, I found that this was not at all the case – at least for me. The same 30 grams of carbs of black beans and glucose tablets yielded strikingly different results in blood glucose. I’ve done two head-to-head trials comparing both foods – one without insulin (a baseline) and one with insulin. Below, you will find the results of my trials, along with a short review of the rese Continue reading >>
Complex Carbs - Are They Healthy?
Most medical and nutrition advice giving agencies advise all Americans that complex carbs (meaning whole grains, fruits and starchy vegetables) are an important part of the diet, and that these "good carbs" are the healthiest foods to eat. But is that true? Defining Health Health can be logically defined as the absence of disease or the markers of disease. For most people, good heart health translates into a low LDL cholesterol, high HDL cholesterol, low triglycerides and low inflammation as measured by c-reactive protein levels. For a person with diabetes, good health can be measured with the metabolic indices of a fasting blood sugar below 110, and an hemoglobin A1c of less than 5.4. And since it's well known that diabetics with uncontrolled blood sugar often die of heart disease, we can safely say that the markers for heart health are highly correlated with blood sugar health. Normal blood sugar and insulin levels are essential to good health. There are numerous studies which demonstrate that hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels, often exhibited in diabetes) increases the likelihood of disease complications and death. For instance, In the conclusion of this study, the authors wrote that "In addition to vascular disease, diabetes is associated with substantial premature death from several cancers, infectious diseases, external causes, intentional self-harm, and degenerative disorders, independent of several major risk factors." Here's another study which correlates high blood sugar with a higher risk of mortality. Now that we know that maintaining normal blood sugar levels is a critical marker for overall good health, it follows that the foods which help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels are the healthiest to eat. Complex Carbs and Blood Sugar You would ex Continue reading >>
Carbs – Simple Vs Complex, High Glycemic Vs Low Glycemic, Good Vs Bad
Aside from misinformed and/or dumb people spreading myths about your daily carb intake, I think the main reason carbs confuse people so much is because there are so many different ways to describe and categorize them. For example… Good vs bad. Healthy vs unhealthy. Slow vs fast. Simple vs complex. High glycemic vs low glycemic. I guess the potential for confusion is pretty high when you’re trying to keep track of all of these different classifications. So, to help clear up this confusion once and for all, let’s take a quick look at the various different “types” of carbs and find out the real truth behind them. Simple Carbs vs Complex Carbs High carb foods are defined as simple or complex based on their chemical structure. The “simpler” that structure is, the faster your body will digest and absorb that food (think sugar, candy, soda, etc.). The more “complex” that structure is, the slower the digestion and absorption process will be (think vegetables, beans, grains, etc.). And this digestion/absorption rate stuff is important because, the faster this process takes place within your body, the more it spikes your blood insulin levels. For this reason, diets high in simple carbs have been shown to increase our risk of diabetes and heart disease, while diets high in complex carbs have actually been shown to help do the opposite. Simple carbs also tend to be highly processed junk that lacks any nutritional value of any kind, while complex carbs are typically unprocessed, high in fiber, and high in various other important nutrients, vitamins and minerals. And overall health and nutrition aside, simple carbs are also less filling, which means you’ll be hungrier sooner after eating them. Not to mention, that large spike in blood sugar will result in a crash Continue reading >>
Good Carbs, Bad Carbs: What You Need To Know
MORE "The Healthy Geezer" answers questions about health and aging in his weekly column. Question: What exactly is the difference between good carbs and bad carbs? Answer: Here's the short answer: Good carbs — or carbohydrates — are good for you. Bad carbs aren't. Carbohydrates that come from white bread, white rice, pastry, sugary sodas and other highly processed foods can make you fat. If you eat a lot of these so-called bad carbs, they will increase your risk for disease. On the other hand, the good carbs, including whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, keep you healthy by providing you with vitamins, minerals, fiber and many other nutrients. That's why a healthy diet should include good carbs. Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system converts carbohydrates into blood sugar (glucose). Your body uses the glucose and stores any extra sugar for when you need it. Carbohydrates were once grouped into two main categories — simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates included sugars such as fruit sugar (fructose), corn or grape sugar (dextrose or glucose) and table sugar (sucrose). Complex carbohydrates included everything made of three or more linked sugars. Complex carbohydrates were thought to be the healthiest to eat. Now there are questions about that assumption. A new system, called the glycemic index, classifies carbohydrates according to how quickly and how high they boost blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread, cause rapid spikes in blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index, like whole oats, are digested more slowly, causing a lower and gentler change in blood sugar. Diets rich in foods that have a high glycemic index have been linked to an increased risk for diabetes, heart dise Continue reading >>
Treating Low Blood Sugars Quickly
Unless you are eating a meal right away, the best treatment for lows is a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates plus some protein. Quickly treating lows lessens stress hormone release and lowers the chance of the blood sugar going high after a reaction. You'll feel better if the body is quickly resupplied with the fuel it needs. Your brain, muscles and other cells will thank you for not prolonging their misery. Treatment Plant For Hypoglycemia Eat 15 to 20 grams of fast acting carbohydrates immediately. Consider how much unused bolus insulin may still be active. Decide whether complex carbohydrates and/or protein are needed to keep you stable until you eat your next meal. Test your blood sugar 30 minutes later to make sure it has risen. Repeat step 1 if necessary. After a moderate or severe low blood sugar, wait 30 to 45 minutes before driving or operating machinery. A return to normal coordination and thinking is slower than the return to a normal blood sugar. You may need to eat more than 20 grams for a low: when you took a carb bolus for a meal but never ate it. when it has been only an hour or two since your last injection of rapid insulin. when you have been more physically active. Glucose is the "sugar" in blood sugar and may also be referred to as dextrose on labels. It comes in tablets, such as Dex4 or BD Glucose tablets, and in certain candies like Sweet Tarts. Glucose breaks down quickly and reaches the blood as 100 percent glucose, which makes it the best choice for raising the blood sugar quickly. Another good product for raising your glucose is Glucolift Glucose Tablets. Table sugar consists of one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule, so when it breaks down in the stomach, only half is immediately available as glucose. Fruit juices, like or Continue reading >>
How Does Starch Affect Blood Sugar?
The starch in carbohydrates affects the way blood sugar increases depending on the form of the starch and the particle size of the food. In raw food, starch is stored in hard, compact granules that are difficult to digest. The cooking process expands these granules to the point where they swell and burst, making the starch become gelatinized. Digestion becomes much easier, leading to a quick rise in blood sugar. The size of the food particles also affects blood sugar. The smaller the particle size, the more rapid and high the rise in blood sugar.w Continue Learning about Complex Carbohydrates Videos Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs. Continue reading >>
How Carbohydrates Cause Insulin Resistance & Diabetes
Carbohydrates are a name given to describe food that is either sugary (e.g., honey) or starchy (e.g., potatoes). There are two main types of carbohydrate: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and flour, are digested by the body very quickly. This means that when you eat foods containing simple carbohydrates, you will get a short and rapid boost of energy. It’s like lighting a firework, once you light it, you get a lot of immediate energy but it only lasts for a short time. In summary, simple carbohydrates are… Usually the foods you love! Simple, so the body can use them quickly Usually taste sweet like sugar Provide a quick boost of energy Energy boost doesn’t last long Complex carbohydrates are found mainly in vegetables, grains and brown rice. When you eat complex carbohydrates, the body takes longer to digest them resulting in a gradual release of energy over a prolonged period of time. In summary, complex carbohydrates are… Usually the foods you hate! They are complex, so the body takes longer to break them down Mainly found in vegetables and rice Provide a gradual release of energy Energy supplied for a long period of time Let’s now look at what happens when you eat carbohydrates, and how eating the wrong type can have negative effects on your health. What Happens When You Eat Carbs? Every time you eat carbohydrates the body breaks them down into a form of sugar called glucose. Glucose is then burned and used as a source of energy. So when you eat carbohydrates, it’s like throwing wood on a fire. The fire burns the wood and uses it to stay alive. As there is only so much glucose that the body needs or can use, any glucose that the body doesn’t need right away is converted to glycogen so that it can be stored as a reserve supply of e Continue reading >>
How Does Your Blood Sugar Level Affect Your Sleep?
We all know about the rollercoaster effect of sugar highs and lows. But how do blood sugar levels and carbohydrates impact on your sleep? Katrina Rice investigates. Are you the type who constantly eats large and unhealthy meals every day? If yes, you need to know that this is a poor habit that you need to change immediately. Poor eating habits like eating too much every meal time will only cause you to eat more later on. This happens because eating large and unhealthy meals will get your insulin levels to spike up and as soon as your blood sugar drops, your body will start looking for more sugar to absorb which will lead you to crave for more food. You might like: Why poor sleep leads to bad food choices The more you consume food, the more your body sends signals to your brain that you have to eat another large meal later on. The moment your blood sugar drops your cravings, particularly for carbohydrates and other sugars will start to kick in. As you can imagine, once this kind of poor eating pattern starts to develop, it becomes difficult to stop, making you possibly irritable, nauseous, tired and constantly hungry. A pattern like the above can throw you off your focus, energy and mood. It also potentially leads to weight gain and sleep problems. If your body’s insulin levels cannot keep up with the amount of sugar you eat, the excess sugar is stored as fat. This is how weight gain becomes directly related to diabetes and sleep apnea. If not addressed, you will find yourself in a vicious cycle of binge eating, weight gain and disrupted sleeping patterns. How do blood sugar levels affect your sleep? Step 1: Eating sugar-rich foods like pastries, chocolates, and candies can boost your blood sugar thereby providing a burst of energy that causes you to stay up late at ni Continue reading >>
Can I Eat Rice If I Have Diabetes?
Diet plays an important role in staying healthy, especially for people with diabetes. Many people wonder whether high-carbohydrate foods such as rice are healthy to eat. This article will explain how to count carbohydrates, how to incorporate rice into the diet, and what the healthy alternatives to rice are. Diabetes basics Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases where the body does not adequately produce insulin, use insulin properly, or both. Insulin plays a crucial role in allowing blood sugar to enter the cells and be used for energy. There are two main types: type 1 and type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes have abnormally high levels of blood sugar. This can damage many organs in the body if left untreated. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommend the following steps to manage diabetes: making healthy choices in eating engaging in regular physical activity or exercise taking medications, if required A nutritious diet is important in keeping blood sugar levels at a healthy level. The healthy range is 80 to 130 milligrams per deciliter mg/dL before meals or below 180 mg/dL after meals, according to the American Diabetes Association. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin. Various insulin delivery systems and protocols are used to manage blood sugar levels both between and at meal times. People with type 2 diabetes often manage their condition with diet and exercise, and with medications as needed to keep their blood sugar levels within the target range. These medications vary in how they work. People with diabetes will have different treatment plans, and they will respond to food, exercise, and medication differently. It is important that people consult with a doctor to get personalized recommendations on target blood suga Continue reading >>