Carbohydrates. Understanding Diabetes

Very little of the fat and protein you eat becomes glucose. Biggest part of the glucose in the bloodstream comes from the digestion of carbohydrates. As the carbs are broken down into glucose and absorbed, the blood glucose levels are going up. Different kind of food produce different ammounts of blood glucose. It depends on how fats the glucose is freed from the food. Food that comes in big pieces, as apples (if you don’t chew them into a pulp) or corn, breaks down more slowly than smaller pieces, like the bits in grits or nicely cooked oatmeal. Food that digests slowly will releasy the glucose into the bloodstream slowly, as in raw food compared to cooked food. Also, some foods contain more carbohydrates per serving than others. Compare potato and carrot, for example. Lots of starch (carbohydrate) in potato and no starch in carrot, but both of them full of nutritions.

For people with diabetes is also benefitial to know that combination foods take longer to digest, especially combination of carbohydrates and fats. Slower digestion means slower rise in blood glucose levels. Because of this simple fact it’s a bad idea to treat your low blood glucose levels with ice-cream or candy bar or even chocolate bar. The fats in those products will slow down digestion of carbohydrates and you will wait long time for your glucose levels to rise.

What is carbohydrates? Carbohydrates include sugars, such as fructose, lactose, and sucrose, and large, complex molecules, such as starch. For me starch is always associated with potatoes. Me, silly me. 🙂 In the body, most carbohydrates get broken down into glucose, a sugar that is the body’s main source of energy. Glucose molecules then penetrate cells all over the body with assistance of insulin hormone where cells convert it to the energy. Starches are made of many glucose molecules linked together. Sugars have only one or two molecules, of which one may be glucose.

Everyone is encouraged to eat starches because they provide the most nutrients per calorie. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Starches are found in cereals, whole grains, whole grain bread, and vegetables (hello, potato!). You need to include raw or lightly processed sources of starches in your diabetes diet plan to fully benefit from them. Processing can remove many ot these benefitial nutrients. For example, bread baked from the bleached flour is devoid of nutrients and dangerous for people wityh diabetes.

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