Integrative Health Blog

Diabetes Awareness: The Truth About Carbohydrates

Posted by NIHA Staff on Tue, Nov 11, 2014

I have long been talking about pre-diabetes and Type II diabetes as conditions that we DO have control over. The foods that we choose to eat and our lifestyle choices are of paramount importance.

November has been designated as National Diabetes Awareness month.

Personal awareness has to be the starting point to turn the tide of this chronic disease. So what can you do to prevent or slow the progression of diabetes?

It’s all about the carbs!

Carbohydrates raise blood sugar and insulin levels. When a large part of the diet is made up ofblood_sugar carbohydrates, insulin levels remain high throughout the day. Eventually, even though there is plenty of insulin in the bloodstream,  the body stops responding to it- creating insulin resistance- and body fat increases and insulin can no longer do it’s job of escorting sugar out of the blood and in to the cells for energy. Blood tests then reveal high blood sugar and a diagnosis of pre -diabetes or Type II diabetes is made.

All carbs get broken down in to sugar. Period. What’s important is whether or not that carbohydrate has fiber. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar and that’s a good thing because it lessens the amount of insulin needed to remove the sugar from the blood. The goal is always to reduce the amount of insulin needed to get the job done and that happens when we eat foods that are low in carbohydrates.

Most processed foods like cookies, chips, sweet drinks, brownies and most cereals are refined carbohydrates that don’t have enough fiber to slow down the absorption of sugar.

All fruits and all vegetables are classified as carbs that turn into sugar when they get digested, but they have fiber to slow down the absorption of that sugar. Real food will always be a better choice than processed foods for that reason alone, not to mention the nutritional value. There are exceptions to that rule though. Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, lima beans and corn and some fruits like bananas and grapes are very high in sugar and not a good choice when trying to lose weight or lower blood sugar.

This month, I encourage you to be aware of the food choices you are making, especially if you have put on extra weight or if your doctor has mentioned that your blood sugar is getting a bit higher.

Pre- diabetes is preventable and weight loss efforts get kick started when you reduce your carb intake!!

Look at what you generally eat.....does your diet contain a large amount of carbs? Do those carbs have any fiber? Does your “go to” snack have any fiber? If not, it’s time to switch it up!

If you are looking for a snack that won’t raise your blood sugar, try this recipe, it’s delicious! It’s a gluten free substitute for a pizza crust, but I put it under the broiler for a few minutes at the end and use it as a gluten free substitute for crackers!


Topics: carbohydrates, weight loss, diabetes, pre-diabetes