Diabetes: Understanding Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein
Carbohydrates, Fats, and Protein
a source of fuel and nourishment for your body. It’s also a source of pleasure. Having
diabetes doesn’t mean you have to eat special foods or give up desserts. Instead,
dietitian can show you how to plan meals to suit your body. To start, learn how different
foods affect blood sugar.
Carbohydrates (carbs) are the main source of fuel for the body. They raise blood sugar.
Many people think carbohydrates are only in pasta or bread. But carbohydrates are
many kinds of foods. Carbs include:
Sugars. These are naturally found in foods such as fruit, milk, honey, and
molasses. Sugars can also be added to many foods. They may be added to cereals,
yogurt, candy, and desserts. Sugars raise blood sugar.
Starches. These are in bread, cereals, pasta, and dried beans. They’re
also in corn, peas, potatoes, yam, acorn squash, and butternut squash. Starches
raise blood sugar, but more slowly than simple sugars.
Fiber. This is in foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole
grains. Unlike other carbs, fiber isn’t digested or absorbed. So it doesn’t raise
blood sugar. In fact, fiber can help keep blood sugar from rising too fast. It
helps keep blood cholesterol at a healthy level.
Did you know?
though carbohydrates raise blood sugar, it’s best to have some in every meal. They're
important part of a healthy diet.
is an energy source that can be stored until needed. Fat doesn't raise blood sugar.
it can raise blood cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart disease. Fat is high
calories. Eating too many calories can cause weight gain. Not all types of fat are
Monounsaturated fats. These are mostly found in vegetable oils such as
olive, canola, and peanut oils. They're found in avocados and some nuts.
Monounsaturated fats are healthy for your heart. That’s because they lower LDL
Polyunsaturated fats. These are mostly found in vegetable oils such as
corn, safflower, and soybean oils. They're found in some seeds, nuts, and fish.
Polyunsaturated fats lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol. So, choosing them instead of
saturated fats is healthy for your heart. Some unsaturated fats can help lower
Saturated fats. These are found in animal products, such as meat, poultry,
whole milk, lard, and butter. Saturated fats raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol. They
not healthy for your heart.
Trans fats. These are formed when vegetable
oils are processed into solid fats. They are found in many processed foods. Trans
fats raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lower HDL ("good") cholesterol. They are
not healthy for your heart.
Protein helps the body build and repair muscle and other tissue. Protein has little
no effect on blood sugar. But many foods that have protein also have saturated fat.
choosing low-fat protein sources, you can get the benefits of protein without the
Plant protein. This is found in dry beans
and peas, nuts, and soy products such as tofu and soymilk. These foods tend to
have no cholesterol. Most are low in saturated fat.
Animal protein. This is found in fish,
poultry, meat, cheese, milk, and eggs. These foods have cholesterol. They can be
high in saturated fat. Aim for lean, lower-fat choices. Don't eat fried foods.
Online Medical Reviewer: Robert Hurd MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Callie Tayrien RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed:
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