There’s a lot of confusion about carbs and diabetes & I’m hoping that this article will help to clarify a lot of the mis-information that’s out there about carbohydrates.
Here are some guidelines that will help you understand why it’s important to know the difference between simple and complex carbs. Implementing this information will certainly help in stabilizing your blood sugars.
We need carbohydrates as they become the fuel that the body uses when they are broken down into sugar.
There are three types of carbs:
- Simple carbs allow the body to break down fast into sugar.
- Complex carbs that take longer for the body to break them down into sugar
- Dietary fiber is a type of carb that the body can’t digest & cannot be broken down into sugar molecules. Instead it passes through the body undigested. When carbs are combined with fiber, it slows down the absorption of sugar & regulates insulin response.
When shopping for groceries, an easy way to recognize if the product you are buying has simple carbs or not is to check for words that end in “ose” on the label.
There are 6 chemical names for sugar – ending in “ose”:
- Dextrose – another name for glucose
- Fructose – fruit sugar
- Lactose – milk sugar
- Maltose – malt sugar
- Sucrose – table sugar
There are also other hidden sugars that you need to be aware of that are found in products like tomato paste, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, fruit juice, chocolate milk, sports drinks, low fat yogurt & granola.
It’s important to scan labels for foods like pasta & bread and look for whole grains & fewer sources of added sugar. If the first ingredient on the label is listed as whole grain oat flour, it’s likely that it’s going to be a complex carbohydrate.
If the first ingredient on the label is fructose corn syrup then you will know that it’s a simple sugar.
The FDA recently allowed the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to be changed to – “Natural Sweetener”, “Isolated Fructose”, or “Fructose” – misleading consumers to make ill-informed decisions that can still negatively impact their health.
Regular soda usually contains high fructose corn syrup & 12 oz. of soda has 39 grams of carbs.
Cookies, cakes, desserts, sweetened beverages, energy drinks that have refined sugar in them are examples of simple carbs, as opposed to fruit.
The fiber in fruit changes the way the body processes the sugars & slows down the digestion, which makes them a bit more of a complex carbohydrate.
Fruit are a very good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, & there is such a variety to choose from.
Bread made from whole grains like rye, barley, oats, whole wheat are complex carbohydrates.
A good source of complex carbs is found in starchy vegetables like yams, squash, pumpkin, garbanzo, black, white and pinto beans, lentils & split peas, and grains like brown rice, quinoa, and millet.
I hope you’ve seen how even making a few changes in your diet can make a difference in changing your life style. It’s not as difficult as it seems. You can do it!
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Looking forward to your response.
Love & Blessings,
Health & Wellness Coach