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Transcript
Conquering Carbs
You might think that people with diabetes should skip eating carbs all together, since
carbs raise blood glucose levels. But it would be impossible to get a nutritionally
balanced diet without plant foods, and all plant foods contain carbohydrates.
It's all about being aware of what you're consuming, reaching for low carb foods
whenever possible, and testing your blood sugar to find out how different foods affect it.
The good news is that the healthiest way to eat is the same whether you have diabetes
or not. Most people are best off consuming a diet of nutrient-dense, whole foods that
are low in glycemic impact (i.e., have only a small effect on your blood glucose level).
Learn more about carbs and find lists of nutritious, low carbohydrate foods to make sure
your diet is anything but boring.
Are all carbs created equal?
No way! The carbohydrates in potatoes, bread, and white rice are converted almost
instantly into glucose and hit the bloodstream fast. But carbohydrates such as
the fiber found in whole grains, fruit, and vegetables are absorbed more slowly and
some of it is not digested at all.
The Fiber-Carbs Formula
To account for fiber, look at the total number of carbohydrates per serving and deduct
the number of grams of fiber, if it's over 5.
For example, if a food has 24 grams of carbs in a serving and 7 grams of fiber, consider
the "countable" carbs to be 17. Guidelines say you should consume at least 25 to 35
grams of fiber per day (the average American gets about half that). Not only does fiber
not raise blood glucose, it helps slow the absorption of other carbs.
Foods with a lot of carbs:
• Pizza, Bread, Bagels
• Desserts, Candy
• Pasta, Rice, Potatoes
• Cereals, Cereal Bars, Granola
• Juices, Soft Drinks, Sports Drinks
• Salty Snacks (chips, pretzels, etc.)
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Page 1 Conquering Carbs, Continued
Foods that are lower in carbs include:
• Meats, Chicken, Fish, Seafood
• Eggs
• Most Vegetables
• Dairy (milk, cream, cheese)
• Berries, Some Fruits
• Nuts, Seeds
• Oils, Butter
Low Carb Fruits:
• ½ cup watermelon (5.5g carbs)
• ½ cup sliced strawberries (6.5g carbs)
• ½ cup diced cantaloupe (6.5g carbs)
• ½ cup diced avocado (6.5g carbs)
• ½ cup blackberries (7g carbs)
• ½ cup honeydew melon (8g carbs)
Low Carb Vegetables:
• ½ cup cooked spinach (3.5g carbs)
• ½ cup cooked broccoli (5.5g carbs)
• ½ cup cooked asparagus (3.5g carbs)
• 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce (1.5g carbs)
• ½ cup raw sliced white mushrooms (2g carbs)
• ½ cup sliced cucumber (2g carbs)
Go Nuts!
Nuts are not only tasty and satisfying, they're also low in carbs. With their heart
healthy fats, nuts can help protect against heart disease and, in women, diabetes too.
Check out the carb and fiber counts for one-quarter cup of these nuts. Buy unsalted
nuts or make a mix of half salted and half unsalted.
• Macadamias (4g carbs and 3g fiber)
• Pecans (4g carbs and 3g fiber)
• Walnuts (8g carbs and 2g fiber)
• Peanuts (5g carbs and 2g fiber)
• Pistachios (8g carbs and 3g fiber)
• Almonds (6g carbs and 4g fiber)
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Page 2 Conquering Carbs, Continued
Hidden Carbs
Watch out for those condiments! Two tablespoons of BBQ sauce contains 10g
of carbs -- the same goes for ketchup. And you might be used to using more
than that. Other places you will find hidden carbs: marinades, chutneys,
relishes, chili sauces, and salad dressings.
Low Carb Condiments
The good thing is there are other condiments that won't spike your blood
sugar. Next time you're in the supermarket, reach for the spices, the mustard,
and pickled foods such as olives, dill pickles, and capers.
Another trick is to use oil and vinegar on salads instead of the bottled
dressings -- vinegar is actually a blood sugar moderator, which means it slows
down the rise in blood sugar caused by whatever carbs you're eating.
Carbs and Cocktails:
If you drink, be aware of the carb counts of the cocktails you consume -sometimes it comes down to a simple choice that could save you a lot of
carbs.
For example, a true 4 oz margarita, made with just tequila, orange liqueur,
and lime juice, contains about 7.5g of carbs. If a commerical margarita mix is
used, you'll get a whopping 29g of carbs in the same serving size.
Liquor & Beer
A useful tip: All hard liquors are distilled, which by definition means they
contain no carbs. It's the mixers that you have to worry about!
Different beers have varying carb counts as well. Get the numbers straight so
you can factor them into your blood glucose management plan.
Bring a Friend
If you're drinking, make sure at least one trusted companion knows what
should be done in case of ahypoglycemic emergency. This is extremely
important because hypoglycemia can look like intoxication, and people may
assume you're drunk rather than suffering from a dangerous diabetic
complication.
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Page 3 Conquering Carbs, Continued
Your friend should be able to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia (i.e.,
confusion, dizziness, shaking, paleness, etc.) and should have on hand a
source of fast-acting carbohydrate, such as a juice box or glucose tablets.
Check the Label
Some foods might have more (or fewer) carbs than you would assume.
Always read nutrition labels or look up unlabeled foods in the dLife Food Finder.
Here are some tricky comparisons:
A medium size apple has 23g of carbs while a medium size orange has 16g.
Fruits and vegetables are good for you, but they're not all created equal when
it comes to carb counts.
An 8-inch flour tortilla has 25g of carbs while a slice of bread might have 15g.
Most people reach for sandwich wraps thinking they are making a healthier
choice, but that's not always the case. If you want to make your lunch low
carb, look for low carb tortillas or only use one slice of thin, whole grain bread.
Less Fat = More Carbs
Did you know that lowfat foods are often higher in carbs than their full-fat
counterparts? When the fat content is reduced in foods like dairy products,
salad dressings, and snacks such as cakes and cookies, the fat is replaced
with carbs. For example, a cup of fat-free, plain yogurt contains 19g of carbs
whereas its whole-milk counterpart has 11g.
Label Claims Smoke & Mirrors
Don't be fooled by tricky label terms. "Lowfat" and "reduced sugar" don't
always mean something is diabetes-friendly. "Sugar free," for example, does
NOT mean carb-free. A product can have "no added sugar" but plenty of
carbs. For example, one-half cup of Breyer's No-Sugar-Added Chocolate
Caramel ice cream contains 18g of carbs.
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Page 4 Conquering Carbs, Continued
"How many carbs should I eat?"
The amount of carbohydrate you should eat per day depends on a number of
variables. Your eating plan will vary depending on your age, physical activity
level, gender, blood sugar control, and many other factors.
Your first step should be to talk to a registered dietitian (RD) and/or certified
diabetes educator (CDE), who can help you map out an eating plan based on
your health issues and your lifestyle.
Tips from the Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N.
1. If you are trying to lose weight, select carbohydrate-containing foods
that are high in fiber, such as avocado, artichoke, lentils, raspberries,
and pears (with skin). By increasing your vegetable intake and reducing
your consumption of simple, low-nutrient carbs (such as candy, cookies,
and cake), you will lose weight and reap the benefits of a healthy diet.
2. Keep a food journal and monitor portion size. By writing down what you
eat, you will become more aware of when you're overeating or eating
poorly.
3. Drink plenty of water. That way you won't confuse hunger with thirst.
4. Continue to test your blood sugar. If you find that your blood sugar
spikes or dips, based on what you are eating, your carbohydrate intake
may need to be adjusted. Adjusting your carbohydrate may lead to
improved blood sugar control, as well as weight loss.
5. Before making a huge dietary change, speak with your physician. A
significant alteration in your diet may affect your insulin requirements.
Working with a registered dietitian (RD) who is also a certified diabetes
educator (CDE) can help you construct a meal plan to meet your needs.
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