Not all carbs are created equal. But did you know there are 3 types of carbs? If you are living with diabetes, or even prediabetes, you likely already know that foods containing carbohydrates can raise blood sugar. With your doctor, you can establish a max amount of carbs you should aim not to exceed daily in order to keep your blood-sugar safely within the healthy range.
When looking on nutritional labels of foods at the supermarket, look at the number that appears next to total carbohydrates when you are counting carbs. This number will include all three types of carbs that the food contains.
The three types of carbs include:
Foods that contain fiber include fruits, legumes (such as beans and peanuts), whole grains, and vegetables. Fiber is not digested the same way that other carbs are. According to the American Diabetes Association, if a serving contains five or more grams of dietary fiber, you can subtract half of the grams of dietary fiber from the total carbohydrates per serving of the food. That’s because fiber is the indigestible part of plant foods, and when you consume dietary fiber the majority of it isn’t digested but passes through the intestines. It is recommended that adults consume up to 30 grams of fiber daily.
These are also known as complex carbohydrates and are found in starchy veggies such as corn, peas, and potatoes; legumes, including black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans; and grains such as barley, oats, and rice. Keep in mind that most of the grain products in the U.S. are made with wheat flour, including breads, pasta, and crackers. When you eat whole grains, they contain the entire grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm; whereas, a refined grain only contains the endosperm and the starchy part.
There are natural sugars, such as those found in fruit (fructose) or milk (lactose), and added sugars, such as agave nectar, corn syrup, honey, molasses, and cane sugar, which are put into processed foods such as cookies and cereals and sauces and many other foods. On nutrition labels, the amount of added sugars listed contains both natural and added sugars—no way to tell how much of each. However, you can look at ingredients labels to see if added sugars are listed. Remember, ingredients are listed by weight, so those appearing at the top of the list are most prominent. Additional sneaky code names for sugar: brown sugar, maple syrup, beet sugar, cane syrup, turbinado, and/or fruit juice concentrate. We know — they should make flashcards for wallets for this stuff, right? Or food marketing could be clear and direct. Wouldn’t that be refreshing.
What is Your method for easily counting carbs?