It’s all in the carbs; nowadays most diabetics are tracking carbohydrates as opposed to years past when the big concern was sugar. Why the change? We’ve learned about 90% of carb calories end up as glucose, so they have a big impact on blood sugar.
“We teach a little bit of carbohydrate counting, whether it’s real specific carb counting or generalities of carb counting,” says Sharon Tilbe.
Tilbe is a diabetes educator with Lee Health Solutions, a program that teaches self-management so that people with diabetes can control their condition using diet as a key tool.
“Making sure that people get adequate whole grains, adequate fruit and dairy in their diet. But not too much to raise their blood sugar,” says Tilbe.
While all carbs can cause a rise in blood sugar, they aren’t created equally. Pasta and potatoes, for example, can trigger a rapid rise. On the other hand, fiber causes a slower rise. And many food staples are carb heavy, but people don’t think of them that way.
“Fruit as an example, would be considered a high carb food in that it has a lot of natural sugar. Milk, we don’t think of milk as being a sugar food, but of course milk has lactose which will of course turn into blood glucose,” says Tilbe.
Overall a good diabetic diet is a good diet in general. The plate method is one way to keep things in balance.
“Half of the plate should be vegetable. That would be the first place that we start with. A smaller portion of starch and a small portion maybe about the size of palm of hand of meat, fish or poultry,” says Tilbe.
So all things in moderation. Someone with well-managed diabetes can eat whatever they want. But have to make their carbs count.