When using the word ‘carbohydrates’ during an office visit, most people think of sugar. But, that’s only half of the story. With that in mind, take a look at what choosing the best, healthiest carbs for Diabetes really involves.
Carbohydrates include starches and valuable fiber, found in many nutrient-rich foods. They need to be part of a diabetes diet.
- It’s not that you shouldn’t eliminate most of the sugar in your diet, but understand that sugar is one of the basic building blocks.
Depending on certain biological factors, sugar converts to either starches or fiber.
- You need about 135 grams of carbohydrates every day, spread fairly evenly throughout your meals.
Instead of trying to avoid carbs completely, adjust your diabetes eating plan, picking and choosing in moderation.
- There’s nothing you can’t have, but there is a catch…You probably won’t like the portion size or how often you can eat those carbs.
When choosing the best, healthiest carbs for Diabetes, pick from this list of healthy carbohydrates to help you stay balanced.
You might already know (or be surprised to learn) that milk and other dairy products contain sugar in the form of lactose. But this is an important food group to include in your healthy diabetes eating plan.
To make the most nutritious choices, choose skim milk or 1% milk, light yogurt, and low-fat Greek yogurt.
Dairy products are very beneficial even though they’re classified as carbohydrates because they also contain protein and calcium, both of which are important nutrients.
- One cup of skim milk has about 12 grams of carbohydrates.
By skipping whole-fat dairy products, you bypass a lot of the fat and calories that give dairy a bad rap.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body can’t break down, making it healthy for a diabetes meal plan.
Beans are a starchy form of carbohydrate and a high-fiber food. They also provide some good protein, which helps to fill you up.
The healthy carbohydrate content varies according to bean variety. For example, one cup of cooked black beans contains about 40 grams of carbohydrates.
Because beans are calorie dense, you’ll want to watch your portions, but because all beans are filling, a little goes a long way.
3.High-Fiber Whole Fruits
Most fruit is high in sugar, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their tasty, healthy and beneficial properties.
The key is to focus on fruits that you can eat whole and with the skin, which is where most of the fiber is stored — fiber helps to slow blood sugar spikes.
Fill your fruit bowl with apples, pears, and peaches.
You can practice moderation and still have one serving of these healthy carbs per meal as part of your diabetes eating plan.
Not eating any fruit is as bad of a choice as overindulging.
One medium apple with the skin has about 25 grams of carbohydrates.
A cup of raspberries contains about 14 grams of carbohydrates, and a cup of strawberries has just 11 grams.
Berries are also low in calories and high in healthy fiber, plus they pack a powerful punch of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They’re great carbs to include in your meal plan.
In fact, a lab study published in the European Journal of Nutrition even found that a naturally occurring substance in raspberries called Ellagic Acid specifically helped reverse certain aspects of diabetes.
The highest levels of ellagic acid are found in red berries. Plants like raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates make ellagic acid to protect themselves, but research is showing that it may offer some protective benefits for you as well.
Studies have found benefits in fighting viruses and bacteria, as well as cancer cells and other chronic ailments
Vegetables are virtually complete carbohydrates. As with fruit, healthy carbohydrate-rich vegetables are often those that don’t need to be peeled, like squash, peas, and even potatoes, if you keep the skin on — just eat them in moderation.
You can indulge more liberally with non-starchy vegetables on a diabetes meal plan. For instance, 1/2 cup of broccoli, fibrous stems and all, has only 5 grams of carbohydrates.
Vegetables are a great way to moderate the carbs in a meal and feel full. Non-starchy vegetables can fill up to half of your plate, with a quarter going to a starchy vegetable or a whole grain, and the other quarter to a lean protein.
6. Whole Grains, Pasta, and Rice
- When you’re making a grain-based starch selection, skip the refined white pasta and white rice. Go for the 100% whole grain like:
- whole-wheat pasta,
- brown rice
One cup of quinoa contains 39 grams of carbohydrates, while one cup of instant white rice contains about 41 grams of carbohydrates.
Not too different in carb count? BUT, the quinoa has protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. You won’t find those in the white rice.
One medium slice of whole-grain bread contains about 11 grams of carbohydrates, over 20 percent less than the 14 grams in a large slice of refined white bread.
Whole-grain breads contain healthy fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
And there’s more: Research published in the Annals of Epidemiology found that the more whole grains you eat, the lower your risk of developing diabetes, and possibly the better your control your weight, insulin, and blood sugar.
Choosing whole-grain bread for that piece of toast with breakfast and your sandwich for lunch is an easy way to include whole grains in your diabetes eating plan.
- An ounce of walnuts has just 4 grams of carbohydrates and makes a healthy and filling treat.
Most nuts, which contain starch, are a good source of healthy fats and proteins, too. One of their great advantages is their portability — pack 1-ounce portions to carry with you for a near-perfect snack.
Just keep in mind that they’re high in calories because of their fat content, so enjoy them in moderation as part of a healthy diabetes eating plan.
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