A new study linking sugar consumption to Type 2 diabetes shows that Type 2 diabetes is on the rise again in the United States. Nearly 26 million American adults and children are Type 2 diabetics, and 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic or at risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a new report on March 9 in USA Today.
The key to controlling your blood sugar lies in counting your carbohydrate intake each day. Most diabetic lifestyles allow for a maximum of 14 carb servings per day. 15 grams of carbohydrates equals one carb serving. Carbs are your body’s main source of energy, and are the preferred source, particularly in the brain.
Simple carbs, also known as white carbs, can be identified on an ingredient label if you look for words ending in “-ose” – glucose and fructose, which come from fruit, lactose, which comes from dairy, and table sugar sucrose, from cane or beet sugar. Simple sugars are added to low-fat foods to give them flavor. Simple carbohydrates have virtually no nutritional value because they do not contain many micronutrients, vitamins, minerals or phytochemicals. Some simple carbs contain no nutritional value at all.
Simple carbohydrates that contain the least amount of nutritional value are:
- Processed and packaged foods
- Bleached white flour
- White rice, long grain or instant
- White potatoes
- White bread
- Granulated sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
Complex carbs consist of many chains of simple carbohydrates combined together. Complex carbs are derived from plant-based foods combine with fiber, with the exception of dairy. Complex carbs are nutrient-dense and contain the micronutrients your body needs to create energy to digest your food. This is the process that keeps your blood sugar levels stabilized. These types of carbs are also known as “low glycemic” or “low on the glycemic index” carbohydrates.
Foods that are nutrient dense forms of complex carbs:
- Whole grain breads
- Whole wheat pasta
- Chick peas
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice, long grain
- Fat-free plain yogurt
- Whole grain cereals
- Steel cut oats
- Buckwheat groats
- Agave nectar (a natural sweetener)
When counting carbs it is important to know that simple carbs and complex carbs still have the same carbohydrate value. You cannot eat ½ cup of brown rice just because it is better for you than white rice. One carb serving of brown rice is ¼ cup, your body just has to work harder to process brown rice than it does white rice. Therefore your blood sugar will stabilize with brown rice, but will spike with white rice.
Remember, the higher the grams of fiber, the lower the carbohydrate count. You may subtract the grams of fiber from the grams of carbs to get the net carbohydrates per serving.
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