Are you carbohydrate aware?

Which foods contain carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate can be classified as starchy or sugary carbohydrate. All carbohydrate foods will cause a rise in your blood glucose.

  • Starchy carbohydrate is found in foods such as breadpastaricepotato,noodles and chapatti.

  • Fruit contains naturally occurring sugar (fructose)

  • Milk and yogurt contains the natural sugar (lactose)

  • Sweets and sugary drinks contain added sugar.

  • Cakesbiscuits and sweet puddings usually contain sugar and starchy carbohydrate

Which foods do not contain carbohydrate?

Foods which do not contain carbohydrate will not directly affect blood glucose but it is important to watch your fat intake to help your weight and keep your heart healthy. It is important to eat a healthy balanced diet.

  • Plain meat and fish do not contain carbohydrate. These foods do contain carbohydrate if they are in breadcrumbs, batter or pastry. Processed meats like sausages and burgers may contain breadcrumbs or rusk.

  • Cheese and eggs do not contain carbohydrate.

  • Vegetables and salads only contain very small amounts of carbohydrate.

  • Artificial sweeteners found in diet and No Added Sugar drinks do not contain carbohydrate so have no effect on blood glucose.

Do I need to count carbohydrates?

If you have type 1 diabetes and are on a basal bolus insulin regimen then counting carbohydrates enables you to calculate your dose of quick acting insulin for that meal. This helps to give flexibility and improve control of your diabetes. You may be interested in attending a DAFNE course to learn how to put this into practice.

If you have insulin treated type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes but are not on a basal bolus regimen then you cannot so easily adjust your insulin doses to match your carbohydrate intake. You would benefit from being aware of the amount of carbohydrate in your usual foods so you can keep your intake consistent from day to day. You may find the X-PERT Insulin programme helps you learn to be more aware of carbohydrate containing foods and the effect they have on your diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes and are not treated with insulin it can still be helpful to understand how to regulate your carbohydrate intake. The X-PERT Diabetes programme helps explore carbohydrates further.

The more carbohydrate you consume from any source- the more glucose will be released into your blood. It is useful for all people with diabetes to have an awareness of which foods contain carbohydrate.

What is Glycaemic Index?

Carbohydrate foods which release the glucose slowly into the body have a low Glycaemic Index (Low GI). Foods with a lower GI include seedy or granary bread, pasta, basmati rice, beans and lentils, fruit, milk, new and sweet potatoes. Consuming these foods may help even out your blood glucose levels, especially if you have type 2 diabetes. Remember that all carbohydrate will increase your blood glucose levels so it is also important to watch your portions.

High GI foods such as lucozade, jelly babies and glucose tablets are great for treating hypoglycaemia.

More information

Diabetes structured education can help you learn more about your diet and managing your diabetes. Education courses are available across Worcestershire and you can also ask your GP or practice nurse to provide you with a login for Mapmydiabetes.