Carbohydrates fuel your body with the energy it needs. Glucose is the simple sugar your body breaks down to provide this energy.
Labeling carbohydrates as “good” or “bad ” is inaccurate.” A better way of thinking about them is by understanding the carbohydrate spectrum. Carbohydrates range from simple sugars to complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), which contain more than two sugar units.
Types of Carbohydrates
Generally, it would help to eat carbohydrates from nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, non starchy vegetables, low-fat milk, and fruits. In your diabetic diet plan, limit carbohydrates by excluding added sugars and refined grains, such as white bread and pasta.
Monosaccharides are simple sugars with a single chemical structure that are quickly digested to supply immediate energy. Disaccharides are made from two monosaccharides and are the primary sugars in table sugar (sucrose) and honey. Polysaccharides are larger, more complex sugar molecules with various chemical structures. The significant polysaccharides are starches, found in plants, and glycogen, stored as an energy reserve in animals.
Added sugars are sugars added to food or drink and can be found in many processed foods such as soda, candy, and baked goods. Added sugars provide empty calories and don’t contain the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that other carbohydrate sources do. The Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods will tell you how many grams of added sugars a serving contains.
Refined carbohydrates are sugars and starches undergoing industrial extraction, concentration, or purification. This process reduces their nutritional value, which can negatively impact a person’s health and lead to certain diseases, such as diabetes.
Some examples of refined carbohydrates include table sugar, white bread, and pasta. They have a high glycemic index, meaning they are digested quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels after meals.
Eating too many refined carbohydrates can cause a person to become overweight. It can also make it difficult for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. Refined carbohydrates should be avoided for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These foods are healthier and contain more fiber, which takes longer to digest and signals the brain that you are full. These foods also have a lower glycemic index than refined carbohydrates, which makes them more effective in helping a person control their blood sugar. They also provide several essential vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates supply the body with energy for physical activity and mental function. The human body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars for energy, which are then used in the cells or converted to fat for long-term storage. The type of carbohydrates you eat determines your energy levels. Simple carbs are like quick-burning fuel, rising and falling quickly in the bloodstream. This type of carbohydrate can be found in sugary drinks and processed foods that contain a lot of added sugar. Complex carbohydrates have more complex molecules that take longer to break down, providing a more steady energy source throughout the day. These carbohydrates are found in whole wheat bread, pasta, brown rice, and starchy vegetables such as corn and peas.
Nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and beans are the best carbohydrate sources. When reading labels, look for words such as millet, bulgur, or triticale, which indicate that the food contains healthy complex carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are one of the three primary ways the body uses energy. Choosing nutrient-dense carbohydrates from whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and dairy products is essential.
It’s also essential to get enough fiber. Aim for at least 25 g of fiber daily from whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, non-dairy milk, fruits, and vegetables. Fiber slows digestion and the release of glucose into the bloodstream, which can help keep blood sugars stable.
If you’re thinking about going low-carb, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) before making any significant changes to your diet. Going too low in carbs can lead to nutrient deficiencies and may even cause health problems like kidney disease. The best approach to a diabetic diet plan is to focus on eating the right foods rather than counting carbs.