A Balanced Diet is a Sweet Way to Live
There are no foods that are completely forbidden for people with diabetes. If you're already a sensible eater, you don't have to make BIG changes to your diet, you just have to be more aware of how much of a good thing is too much. Carbohydrates ("carbs" for short), including foods such as fruits, bread, rice, pasta and corn, can and should be part of your daily balanced meal plans. For all carbs, including sweets, it's really how much carbohydrate you eat at one time that matters most for blood glucose control.
Many foods contain carbs, from bread to milk to sweets. Some sources of carbs are healthier than others. The healthy sources of carbs provide energy (calories), vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre. The less healthy carbs include added sugars which provide calories but little, if any, other nutritional value.
What do carbs do to blood glucose?
Carbs are the body's main energy source. All carbs break down into sugar in our blood, which is then stored and used for energy. When you have diabetes, you are not able to transport the sugar in the blood to its storage area. So eating too much carbohydrate results in high blood glucose levels, while too little can result in low blood glucose levels.
Should you avoid carbs?
No! You need to eat healthy carbs for energy and good nutrition. To control your blood glucose levels, day in and day out, it's best to eat similar amounts of healthy carbs at similar times.
- Starches (i.e., whole-grain breads and crackers)
- Grains (i.e., whole-grain cereals and pastas)
- Starchy vegetables (i.e., corn, peas)
- Non-starchy vegetables (i.e., broccoli, lettuce)
- Dairy foods-low fat or fat free (i.e., milk, yoghurt)
Less Healthy Carbs
- Sugar-sweetened (or "full calorie") fizzy drinks
- Fruit or sport drinks with added sugar
- Sweets & lollies (all types)
- Biscuits, cakes, pies
- High calorie, high-fat dairy desserts (i.e., ice cream, sweetened yoghurt, and flavoured milks)
Why carb counting counts.
One of the keys to living well with diabetes is keeping blood glucose levels in the range recommended for you throughout the day. It helps those living with diabetes feel better and minimises complications.
That's why carb counting counts. Now how do you do it?
- Read the nutritional labels on food packaging, adding up the carb grams listed per serving.
- Track your carbohydrate choices. Each "carb choice" contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate per serving.
- Your doctor, registered dietitian or diabetes educator can help you determine your recommended daily carb intake and how to carb count.
You can also make many delicious foods and treats-with less sugar-by using recipes made with SPLENDA® Low Calorie Sweetener and other SPLENDA® Sweeteners. If you enjoy sweets, you can plan for the occasional sweet treat, making your meals more interesting and varied, and something you can stick with.