How to Manage your Carbohydrates and Diabetes
How Carbohydrates and Diabetes Affect your Blood Glucose
Anyone can get Type 2 diabetes. But you put yourself at greater risk if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and are physically inactive, obese or overweight. Diabetes is a disease. It occurs when your body can no longer produce enough insulin. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, your digestive system breaks it down into blood glucose.
This then enters your blood stream. But when you don’t have enough insulin, your body can no longer properly use and store blood glucose. This causes your blood glucose to rise. As a diabetic, you have to control your insulin intake to help manage your blood glucose. If you take too much insulin, then you are at risk of having low blood glucose. Taking too much Insulin is not the only cause for low blood glucose. Missing a meal, delaying a meal, exercising too much, or drinking too much alcohol can also cause low blood glucose. You put yourself at risk of getting sick if your blood glucose is too high or too low.
One of the main ways to manage your insulin intake and blood glucose levels is to track how many carbohydrates you eat. Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients along with protein and fats. Carbohydrates are a basic food group composed of sugars, such as fructose and glucose.
The Bad and Good Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates provide fuel for your body’s central nervous system and energy for working muscles. They are an important part of a healthy diet. There is a lot of confusion around carbohydrates. Are they good or bad for you? The answer to that question is a little bit of both. There are two types of Carbohydrates that each affect your health differently. Simple carbs and complex carbs. Better known as the good kind and the bad kind
Carbohydrates are crucial to your diet and should never be avoided. Simple carbs, also known as the bad carbs are composed of basic sugars that have little value for your body. These carbs are simple to digest and are absorbed more quickly. Simple carbs are higher in sugar than in fiber. They usually contain either fructose or galactose. Fructose is found in fruits, and Galactose is found in milk syrups, and some vegetables.
Most of these foods are made with processed and refined sugars that do not have vitamins, minerals, or fibers. These are foods that only carry calories and can lead to weight gain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still eat these types of food. Just make sure you track foods with simple carbs and eat them in moderation instead.
Simple carbs are good for you if you need a quick energy boost. You will usually need to eat simple carbs if you are exercising or doing any physical activity.
Bad carbohydrates are:
- High in cholesterol and trans fat
- High in calories
- High in saturated fat
- Full of refined sugars
- High in sodium
- Low in many nutrients
- Low in fiber
Complex carbs also known as good carbs are the best carbs for you. These types of carbohydrates are often referred to as starchy foods. They contain natural sugars and are high in fiber. You can find complex carbs in beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, potatoes, corn, parsnips, whole-grain bread, and cereals.
By containing fiber, vitamins, and minerals complex carbohydrates take longer to break down. This gives you more consistent energy over a longer period. But there are two complex carbs, white potatoes and white bread that contain mostly starch and little fiber. These foods have little nutritional benefits and act more like simple carbs.
Good carbohydrates are:
- Low or moderate in calories
- Very low in cholesterol and trans fat
- High in nutrients
- Do not have refined sugars and refined grains
- Low in saturated fat
- Low in sodium
Why you need Complex Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are your primary source for energy and fiber. Caffeine can only go so far until you get the jitters and crash. You need good carbs to help keep you awake and functioning throughout the day. Carbs carry fiber, which keeps you feeling full for a long time. It also slows your blood sugar, so you don’t get hungry as quickly.
Fiber helps lower your bad cholesterol, regulates blood glucose, and aids in weight control. The best way to increase your fiber intake is to eat more fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. You can do this by incorporating high-fiber foods into a recipe. For example, try adding beans to your soup, or add fruit to your oatmeal.
- Men aged 50 or younger should get 38 grams of fiber a day
- Women ages 50 or younger should get 25 grams of fiber a day
- Men over 50 should get 30 grams of fiber a day
- Women over 50 should get 21 grams of fiber a day
There are many health benefits to adding good carbs to your diet. Carbohydrates fuel your brain, optimize your metabolism, and can reduce anxiety and nervousness. Without carbs, your brain may become foggy-headed, and you will have a hard time concentrating. This can also lead to depression or cause you not to feel like you. Feed your brain carbs so that you don’t deprive it of reaching its full potential.
Energy from carbs also transfers over to improve your metabolism. While you might lose weight without eating carbs, your metabolism will suffer and slow down. This will ultimately cause you to gain weight in the long run. By improving your metabolism, you will consistently lose weight.
Simple carbs can cause you to feel jittery and anxious. This can result with anxiety and nervousness. Complex carbs will do the opposite. It can instead help provide grounding efforts to the body and reduce nervousness and anxiety.
With every meal, you have your goal is to balance the insulin and carb intake to keep your blood sugar at a healthy range. Following a meal plan and tracking your food will help you achieve this. Your diabetic meal plan should take into account your age, size, weight goal, exercise level, medications, and other medical issues. It should also include the foods you like to eat, including the ones from simple carbs. You just need to make sure everything is in moderation.
The basic nutritional guidelines are similar across all forms of diabetes. The key is creating a carb-friendly diet. Adults with or without diabetes should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates-preferably the complex and good kind. This will require you to vary your nutrition needs and styles of eating.
- Woman 65 or younger who want to lose weight and are of small stature should have 135-228 grams a day
- Woman aged 65, or older who want to lose weight should have 158-260 grams a day
- Woman aged 65, or younger who want to maintain weight should have 180-308 grams a day
- Men aged 65, or older who want to lose weight and are of small stature should have 180-308 grams a day
- Men aged 65, or younger who want to maintain weight should have 259-455 grams a day
As a diabetic, carb counting is going to become a part of your everyday meal planning method. Kudolife can help you keep track of your carbs, fat, and exercise to make sure that you are your way towards a healthier self. You can use Kudolife to calculate how many carbs you should have each day. But you should also talk to your healthcare team to figure out what the right amount of carbs is for you. Once you know how much carbs to eat per meal, you can choose your food and portion size to match.
Kudolife is a free activity and calorie tracker that helps you achieve a balance and healthy life.