Carbohydrates and Diabetes
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you must watch your food intake to balance insulin and blood sugar levels. There’s a strong relationship between carbohydrates and diabetes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any carbs. Use this guide to help you make the right decision when hunger strikes.
Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes
The type of diabetes you have plays a role in the course of your treatment. With type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin, while type 2 diabetes interferes with how the body responds to insulin. Carbohydrate metabolism in diabetes is important when it comes to type 2 because it plays a role in the development of the disease, as opposed to type 1, which is thought to be caused by genetics or the environment. In both cases, the condition can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. One way to control those levels is through diet.
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Are Carbohydrates Bad?
The simple answer is no. Carbs are a necessary component of any healthy diet. However, carbohydrates can affect blood sugar levels so you do need to keep track of how many you’re consuming. Carbs provide energy for the body, but for people with diabetes, they need to be high-quality whole foods, which are lower in sugar and won’t cause a dangerous spike in blood sugar levels. Diabetes and carbohydrates can work together.
Healthy Carbs for Diabetics
The key to carbohydrates and diabetes 1 is to stay away from simple sugars in favor of complect carbs. In fact, this is also ideal advice for carbohydrates and diabetes type 2. That’s because these kinds of carbohydrates are more likely to affect blood sugar and aren’t usually high in nutrients. On the other hand, complex carbs are rich in vitamins and minerals, provide the body with energy, and won’t be as worrisome to blood sugar. So what are they?
- Dairy foods - also offer protein and calcium
- Beans - also rich in fiber
- Fruits - not all of them are off limits and provide key nutrients like vitamins C and A, potassium and fiber
- Vegetables - like fruit, vegetables are a good source of carbs, as well as containing plenty of other vital nutrients
- Whole grains - while you can’t eat huge servings, whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and whole grain pasta offer healthy carbs and fiber
- Nuts - nuts have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease in type 2 diabetics and also contain fiber
Carbohydrates and diabetes aren’t mutually exclusive. Provided you choose the right ones, you can enjoy their health benefits without messing up your blood sugar.
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