Carbohydrates and Diabetes

I am amazed at how many people think that diabetics do NOT need carbohydrates (I will abbreviate this as CHO). I would like to clarify this misconception.

What is diabetes (DM)?
DM is when your body can not metabolize the glucose in your blood properly.

What is normal?
Normally, when someone eats carbohydrates they are absorbed in the blood. This stimulates insulin release. The insulin then tells the cells to open up and take up some glucose from the blood.

What happens in DM?
Think of it as a door bell. When you ring a doorbell a lot it eventually becomes less sensitive to your touch, so you need to push harder. With DM, there are consistently higher levels of glucose in the blood which in turn stimulate higher levels of insulin. Overtime the cells becomes less sensitive to the insulin. This means more insulin is needed to make the same response (more force is needed on the doorbell to make it ring). Eventually the level of glucose in the blood will remain high (>125 mg/dl) and at this point, the cells are permanently set to leave this high level of glucose in the blood. Unless there is a cure for DM, there is NO way to lower the glucose level in the blood to less.

Since I have too much glucose, should I avoid glucose?
No! The key is the right amount of glucose consistently throughout the day. Your body will respond better to this consistency and your blood sugar reading will be less variable.

How many CHOs should I eat?
You will want to eat about 75 – 90 grams of CHO at each meal and 30-45 grams CHO at your evening snack.

What CHOs can I eat?
Try to stay away from very sweet foods – the more processed the sugar the quicker it will be absorbed and the more it will affect your blood sugar. Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low- or no-sugar-added dairy, and desserts made with sugar substitute and/or whole grains.

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