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People talk a lot about carbohydrates these days. But did you know that not all carbohydrates are the same? There are actually three main types of carbohydrates: starch, sugar and fiber.
These three carbohydrates are all counted in the “total carbohydrates” on a food label. All kinds of carbohydrates matter but some are not listed on the food label. So, remember to keep your total carbohydrates below the goal you set with your doctor.
Foods that are high in starch:
Starches are good for you, but to get all the benefits, try to eat starches that have not been processed. For example, brown rice is better for you than white rice. It is important to control your portions. Too much starch can lead to high blood sugar.
Sugar occurs naturally in some foods, like fruit and milk. It is added to other foods. On a nutrition label, the number of sugar grams counts both the natural sugar and the added sugar.
If you see these items on the ingredient list, then you know the food has sugar in it:
And remember, sometimes sugars are listed under chemical names. You can spot them in the ingredients because they end in “-ose”:
Try to limit the amount of sugar you eat. You can still eat sugar, just be sure to not eat too much. If you eat too much it will lead to high blood sugar. Always work sugar into your meal plan as a carbohydrate.
You get fiber from foods that come from plants. Fiber is the part of the food you can’t digest. Adults should eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. Most of us only get about half that amount.
Good sources of fiber include:
An excellent source of fiber has 5 grams or more per serving. A good source of fiber will have between 2 ½ and 5 grams per serving. If a food has more than 5 grams of fiber, you can subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate serving when you count carbohydrates.
Content courtesy of Healthy at Heart.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's diabetes services or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego endocrinologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about diabetes, visit Diabetes Care in Adult Health or read the Diabetes News archive.