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Nutrition

Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

Understanding Carbs for Diabetics

Whereas all nutrients are important, carbohydrate content bares the most consideration for managing blood sugars and weight. Here are some very important reasons why eating the right carbohydrates can help prevent and manage diabetes.

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Diabetes is when the body is unable to utilize glucose from carb sources. This is mostly related to the absence or resistance of insulin. If left uncontrolled, blood sugars start to rise and increase the risk of diabetes complications such as heart disease.

If diagnosed with diabetes, one might be recommended to diabetic diet. Adopting this sort of eating pattern can also help protect from diabetes, manage weight, and support heart health.

Whereas all nutrients are important, carbohydrate content bares the most consideration for managing blood sugars and weight. Here are some very important reasons why eating the right carbohydrates can help prevent and manage diabetes.

Understanding Carbs for Diabetics

Carbohydrate is one of the three macronutrients, with fat and protein being the other two. Each macronutrient is responsible for supplying the body with energy, also known as calories.

Carbs are considered to be the body's main source of energy and are quickly utilized by the brain and muscles. The ones not used for immediate are stored in the liver or muscles for a later time or deposited as fat.

Carbohydrates have the most immediate impact on blood sugar levels This is because they are broken down directly into sugar during digestion.

However, there are also different forms of carbs that are best for diabetics and even for all.

Complex Carbs vs. Simple Carbs

There are two primary forms of carbohydrates, including simple and complex carbs. Dietary fiber and net carbs are also worth exploring.

Simple Carbs
Simple carbs or sugars either contain one or two sugar molecules. These are classified into monosaccharides (fructose, glucose, and galactose) and disaccharides (sucrose, maltose, and lactose). Their short structure causes them to be generally digested and absorbed much more quickly compared to complex carbohydrates.

Not all simple carbs are stripped away from nutrients, including natural sugars sourced from nutritious veggies, fruits, and dairy products. However, most of the intake comes from sources such as corn syrup, table sugar, candy, and soft drinks. Such products essentially offer nothing more than sugar and calories.

Complex Carbs
Complex carbohydrates are also known as starches and polysaccharides, which contain three or more sugars. Their longer structure causes them to be generally digested and absorbed more slowly compared to simple carbs.

Complex carbs are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. And since complex carbohydrates come in their whole, unprocessed form, they tend to be an excellent source of fiber. They also offer essential nutrients and bare a number of health benefits.

Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is a component of found in plants that cannot be absorbed or digested within the body. Instead of being used for energy, fiber remains mostly intact and travels down the gastrointestinal tract.

Since fiber is non-digestible, they do not impact blood sugars. This is where the concept of "net carbs" comes into play. Net carbs are the total carbohydrates subtracting the fiber content, in which the remainder is more likely to impact blood sugars.

Carb Moderation

Moderating carb intake is also very important for diabetes maintenance and prevention. This specifically includes meal timing and portion and serving sizes for tighter blood glucose control.

Eating patterns can vary based on individuals needs and preferences. However, eating smaller and more frequent meals can keep blood sugar and hunger levels at bay. It also helps lessen the risk of overeating at mealtimes.

Most commonly, a diabetes meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some protein-based snacks. Additionally, meals are advised to contain no more than 60 grams of carbohydrate. Snacks ideally offer around 15 grams.

Practice portion control with servings by measuring out carb-rich foods like rice, pasta, beans, and lentils. Also include lean protein and healthy fat to stabilize blood sugars. The key is balance and making sure the body receives nourishment from all nutrients.

But in addition to measuring foods, naturally keep carb content and portions in check by making a balanced meal plate. This includes filling half of the plate with non-starchy veggies. Designate a quarter for a lean protein and the other quarter for a complex carb and starch. Complement with a healthy fat source and add dairy and fruit as desired.

Best Carbs for Diabetics

Again, carbohydrates come in different forms. But starches, sugar, and dietary fiber are all important forms of carbohydrates to know.

With carbohydrates raising blood sugar, it is wise to know the foods to include as part of a preventative, healthy diet. Good starches are found in foods such as beans, legumes, fruit, whole grains and vegetables. Most of these foods also contain complex carbohydrates. Also try to avoid simple sugars found in many processed foods and snacks, candies, cakes, and desserts.

However, it is best to speak with a dietitian or physician to figure out the right balance of carbohydrate to include. As a carb-light diet helps diabetes patients, others may be able to handle high carbohydrate intake while managing blood sugars.

Ultimately, the best diabetes diet is one based on sound nutritional guidelines. It should likewise address personal needs and be enjoyed to ensure sustainability.

Wanting to monitor diabetic carb intake without an ongoing need for meal prep? Look no further than the nation's leading weight loss meal delivery service! Its diabetic program is built to manage blood sugars, facilitate weight loss, and lead to good health. It was also created by Dr. Caroline Cederquist as a specific response to a very real need that diabetic members expressed.

Dr. Cederquist combines the nutritional requirements of a diabetic diet with the delicious flavors of top-notch cuisine. Registered Dietitians also customize menus to accommodate individual needs and preferences. A team of seasoned chefs and health experts create flavorful meals while keeping carb content moderated.

Healthy diabetic meals supply 25 net grams of carbs or less. Snacks supply 15 net grams or less. Both meals and snacks also deliver adequate lean protein the body needs to regulate blood sugar levels. They likewise ensure the body receives an adequate amount of calories to prevent metabolism from slowing down.

Also recognizing health is not a one-size-fits-all, diabetic meal plans are completely customizable and flexible. With diabetic meal plans, choose between a 5 or 7-day diabetic program to best fit personal needs and schedules.

And really, a balanced carb diet for diabetics has never tasted so good! Imagine this: A chicken sausage and egg scramble to kickstart the day and pork tenderloin with olive tapenade to end it. A hatch green chile and pork stew perfumes the office for lunch. A glazed cinnamon bar kicks that midafternoon sweet tooth and vanilla bean cheesecake is a guilt-free nightcap.

The ultimate diabetic meal delivery program takes the guesswork out of carbohydrate counting while considering personal needs. And not to mention, they provide an easy way to not only at order from home, but enjoy at home!

Written By bistroMD Team. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on April 12, 2019.

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