Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is more difficult for persons with diabetes because their bodies cannot regulate their sugar levels properly. Therefore, a diabetic patient may avoid foods and beverages rich in carbohydrates and added sugars. However, does avoiding foods high in carbohydrates and added sugars really help manage diabetes? Read more to find out.
How Do Carbs Affect Your Blood Sugar Levels?
Everyone must include carbohydrates in their diet, as they contain glucose (sugar) that your body needs to stay active throughout the day. Balancing your carbohydrate intake as a diabetic person is extremely important. This is because consuming excessive carbohydrates can lead to hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and consuming too few carbohydrates can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
What is Insulin, and Why Is It Important?
Everyday foods, especially carbohydrates, provide the energy you need to perform your routine activities. In non-diabetic people, carbohydrates from foods are converted into glucose that enters the bloodstream. Then, their body detects the rise in the blood glucose level and signals it to insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas (a small organ between the liver and the stomach). The insulin picks up the glucose from the blood and takes it to the cells to be used as energy, thus maintaining the healthy blood sugar level.
How Do Carbs, Insulin, and Diabetes Connect?
Diabetes is the inability to make and use insulin. If your pancreas cannot produce insulin, the glucose that enters your bloodstream cannot be taken to your cells. If glucose stays in your blood, you will have little energy to perform your routine activities, which can cause fatigue and other diabetic-related symptoms.
Besides these, consistent, uncontrolled high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels carrying blood to and from different organs in your body, thus eventually damaging these organs. Other complications of diabetes may include nerve dysfunction, vision problems, kidney disease, and heart problems.
Though insulin shots can provide enough insulin to regulate your blood glucose level, you must limit your intake of sugary and carbohydrate-rich beverages and foods to manage your diabetes. Here are some tips on how to control your intake of sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks!
Timely Eating Is Crucial
Since a diabetic patient cannot effectively store and use consumed sugars, fasting or long gaps between meals can decrease their blood sugar level, causing health complications, including dizziness. Therefore, it is essential to eat on time to avoid such inconveniences.
Follow the Glycemic Pentad
Though common, diabetes can be effectively controlled with the right diet plan. Now, the glycemic Pentad is becoming a new standardized diabetes management plan, which includes these five core parameters:
- Fasting Plasma Glucose Level – Make sure to maintain the fasting plasma glucose level, less than 125 mg/dL.
- Postprandial Plasma Glucose Level – Ensure your 2-hour postprandial plasma glucose level is less than 180 mg/dL.
- HbA1c Level – It’s your average blood glucose level for the past two or three months. The normal HbA1c level for the diabetic patient should be 48mmol/mol (6.5%) or below.
- Glycaemic Variability – It refers to the blood glucose levels fluctuations that occur throughout the day or at the same time on different days. Stick to a treatment plan (that includes physical activity and diet changes) to avoid oscillations.
Eat Healthy to Stay Healthy
Besides choosing healthy foods, it is essential to understand the glycemic index (GI) of foods. GI is a food scoring system that reveals how much food can increase your blood sugar level. Food with a low GI index is a healthy one.
Examples of high GI foods (that diabetic patients must avoid) are chocolates, ice creams, sweets, and refined flour.
Examples of low GI foods (that diabetic patients must eat) are whole-wheat bread, vegetables, high-fiber flour, fruits, legumes, and pulses.
Additionally, consuming complex carbs for diabetics is a better idea because they require more time for digestion and can provide you a steady energy source.
Following a healthy diet that includes essential nutrients and a limited amount of carbohydrates is the key to diabetes management.
Contact Pinnacle Healthcare Services if you are looking for a customized diabetes management and treatment plan. We can help to prevent, delay, or reverse your diabetes-related complications.