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Question: I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My doctor told me to cut out all rice, pasta, potatoes and bread, and now I’m starving and irritable. What should I do?
Sharon Nelson, RD, diabetes health educator with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers, responds:
Rice, pasta, potatoes and bread contain significant amounts of carbohydrates. Other examples of foods that are sources of carbohydrates include cereal, crackers, tortillas, barley and other grains, corn, peas, lentils/beans, fruit, milk, yogurt and sugar. Carbohydrates affect your blood sugar moment to moment, day to day. You need some carbohydrates in your diet because they are the preferred source of fuel for your cells — the gasoline for your brain to think and for your muscles to move. Carbohydrates also provide fiber and important vitamins and minerals needed for good nourishment.
The key is not to avoid all carbohydrates, but to eat them in moderate amounts, spread out evenly throughout the day. If people with diabetes eat too many carbohydrates at one time, this often leads to high blood sugar. On the other hand, avoiding all carbohydrates or eating too little will not provide your cells with appropriate energy and you will likely feel very tired, hungry and irritable. Essentially, your cells are starving because no fuel is coming in.
For more information on the amount of carbohydrates you should be consuming when you have diabetes, ask your doctor for a referral to the Sharp Rees-Stealy Diabetes Self Management Training Center.
Submit a Question
If you have a general diabetes-related question that you’d like to submit to “Ask the Dietitian,” send us an email. If selected, your question will be used in a future email newsletter. Not all questions will be used.
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.