Carbohydrates and diabetes: What you need to know
Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and provide important nutrients for good health and a healthy, balanced diet. All the carbohydrates you eat and drink are broken down into glucose. The type, and amount, you consume can make a difference to your blood glucose levels and diabetes management.
The two main types of carbohydrates
Starchy foods: these include bread, pasta, potatoes, yams, breakfast cereals and couscous.
Sugars: these can be divided into naturally occurring and added sugars:
Naturally occurring: sugars found in fruits (fructose) and some dairy foods (lactose).
Added sugars: found in sweets, chocolate, sugary drinks and desserts.
This is another type of carbohydrate, which you can’t digest.
Insoluble fibre, such as is found in wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholegrain cereals, helps keep the digestive system healthy.
Soluble fibre, such as bananas, apples, carrots, potatoes, oats and barley, helps to keep your blood glucose and cholesterol under control.
Make sure you eat both types of fibre regularly. Good sources of fibre include fruit and veg, nuts and seeds, oats, wholegrain breads and pulses.
Everyone needs some carbohydrate every day. The actual amount that you need to eat will depend on your age, activity levels and the goals you – and your family – are trying to achieve, for example trying to lose weight, improve blood glucose levels or improve sports performance. The total amount of carbohydrate eaten will have the biggest effect on your glucose levels.
Insulin and carb counting
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