This Article is About
blood sugar levels
complex carbs
glucose level
complex carbohydrates
simple sugars
fiber content
portion sizes
An Easy Diabetic Meal Planning Guide To Carbohydrates
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If you are looking for an easy diabetic meal plan understanding carbohydrates will be a big help.  Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on the glucose level of the blood.  Both the type of the carbohydrate you ingest and the amounts taken in at one time greatly affect the blood sugar levels. 

Understanding Carbohydrates

Every carbohydrate you eat is converted into some type of sugar or glucose which in turn triggers Insulin to be released.  Insulin is the body’s primary glucose and  fat storing hormone.  This hormone has the responsibility of getting excess sugar out of your bloodstream quickly so that the risk for damage to the arteries is removed fast.  Ingesting carbohydrates in too high amounts at one time can cause sugar spikes and weight gain. 

Carbohydrates are broken down into two different groups, the slow or complex carbs and the simple or fast carbs.  The difference between the two groups is the time it takes for them to break down and be absorbed as sugar into the bloodstream.  The faster the carbohydrate is converted into glucose, the more likely it will be to cause an insulin spike.  This may then cause your body to store the glucose as fat instead of utilizing their energy potential as fuel for your body.  The complex carbohydrates or slow carbs will be less likely to cause these problems.

Fast carbs are bread, sweets, potatoes, fast foods and simple sugars.  Slow carbs are foods that have high fiber content like greens, beans, fibrous vegetables and berries.  These slow carbohydrates will all take time to digest and convert slowly into sugar in the bloodstream.  Slow carbs also contain a lot of nutrients which also makes them a better and more nutritious choice.  The daily intake of calories from carbohydrates should be at a rate of 40 to 65 percent of the total calories consumed. 

Tips for Creating an Easy Diabetic Meal Plan:

Slow Carbohydrates and Portion Sizes Eat fresh and high fiber foods whenever possible.  Portion sizes make a difference in how well the body is able to process the foods.  Too much of even a good thing can cause blood sugar to spike.  However, the exception is the following vegetables and you can eat as much as you like of these. • Cauliflower • Celery • Chili Pepers (red or green) • Cucumbers • Mushrooms (button, Crimini, white) • Radishes • Sprouts • Uncooked Greens (Bok Choi, cabbage, endive, lettuce, radicchio, spinach, watercress)

A serving size for other vegetables like tomatoes, summer squash and cooked greens should be one cup for women and one and a quarter cup for men.  All fresh fruits like berries of any kind, grapefruit, limes, lemons and apricots should be one cup for women and one and a half for men.  Legumes like beans and peas should be one half cup for women and two-thirds cup for men.

Fast Carbohydrates and Portion Sizes

Potatoes and pastas should be limited to one cup cooked for women and one and one-quarter cup cooked for men. For breads, look for those that are high in whole grains and low in fat and sugar.  Breads can be 2 slices of bread, 2 corn tortillas (six inches), one English muffin or one flour tortilla (six inches) or one bagel (3 to 4 inches in diameter).  All types of rice, corn on the cob and other grains like barley and grits should be one-half cup cooked for women and two-thirds cup cooked for men, and you should always try to eat the whole grain versions.

Fresh melon of all types should be two cups for women and two and one-half cups for men.  Fresh fruits that are high in sugar content like grapes, cherries and pineapple for instance should be kept to one cup for women and one and a quarter cups for men.  Medium fresh fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, etc. should be one per serving and smaller fruits like plums, tangerines, nectarines, etc. can be two or three depending on how small they are.   Dried fruits need to be kept to just a quarter cup for women and one-third cup for men.  The best way to eat your carbohydrates is to balance one slow with one fast carb.  Eating slow carbs in combination with the fast ones will slow them down and be much healthier for your body. 

This is one way to create an easy diabetic meal plan by carefully choosing the carbohydrates and combining the fast with the slow.  Watch the fat content of the foods you eat and how you prepare the foods to stay within the guidelines for a healthy diabetic menu.  The best course of action is always to follow a plan devised by a nutrition expert.  This is easy to do and takes the guesswork out of your meal plans.  

Street Talk

Excellent article, Mathea. I think many people with diabetes will find your tips useful and easy to follow.

  about 1 decade ago
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