Carbohydrates — Part of a Healthful Diabetes Diet
A common nutrition myth is that individuals with diabetes need to avoid carbohydrates. While individuals with diabetes must be mindful of how much carbohydrates they eat, they don't need to avoid it altogether. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of fuel and are necessary to maintain proper cellular function. The type of carbohydrates and portion size are what matter most.
There are three types of carbohydrates: starches, sugars and fiber. Starches are found naturally in foods such as bread, cereal, rice, crackers, pasta, potatoes, peas, corn and beans. Sugars are found naturally in foods including fruits and milk and are also concentrated in processed foods such as candy, cake and soda. Fiber is the roughage in plant foods and helps keep the digestive tract healthy. Soluble fiber, found in foods including oatmeal and fruit, can help maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
Individuals with diabetes should choose most of their carbohydrates from nutrient-rich whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains and dairy products. Sweets and sugary beverages should be saved for special occasions. And, spreading carbohydrates evenly throughout the day helps prevents spikes and dips in blood sugar. A registered dietitian nutritionist can create a specific meal plan that harmonizes individual preferences with the special needs of someone with diabetes.
To get a general idea of how much carbohydrates to eat, consider someone on a 2,000-calorie meal plan. For 2,000 calories, an RDN may recommend that one meal contain about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrat Continue reading