Health Mastery Q & A: Carbs and Diabetes

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Q: I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Within two months, I have lowered my blood sugar considerably through dietary changes and training for the marathon. How can I fuel my body properly with carbs and still maintain healthy glucose levels? W

Q: I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Within two months, I have lowered my blood sugar considerably through dietary changes and training for the marathon. How can I fuel my body properly with carbs and still maintain healthy glucose levels? What about energy drinks?

A: Kudos to you for taking control of diabetes and not letting it take control of you.

As it turns out, the body needs carbohydrates to function optimally. Avoiding carbs altogether is the wrong approach and can lead to serious consequences.

Here are some keys points for controlling carbs in diabetes:

1. Choose Good Sugars for your diet! Refined sugars worsen diabetes.

**Substitute refined carbohydrates/sugars (white bread and white rice) with fresh fruit, natural whole grains and wheat products (granola, wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grain wheat bread).

2. Legumes (beans, peas, etc) are a good source of good carbohydrate as well as being a good source of protein and fiber!!!

3. Watch for the Glycemic Load (GL) of foods.

Glycemic load GL (or glycemic index, a slightly different number) is a measure of how much your blood sugar rises after consuming a certain food and a certain amount of that food.

Generally, a GL of 10 or below is considered low, whereas a GL of 20 or above is considered high. A typical target for total Glycemic Load is 100 or less per day. If you have diabetes, you should aim much lower. The following list gives you an idea of the Glycemic Load (GL) for a few common foods.

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Honey 1 tbsp—9

White Sugar 1 tbsp— 8

Maple Syrup 1 tbsp— 8

Oatmeal 1 cup— 12

Ice cream 1 cup— 10

Macaroni and cheese 1 serving— 30

Raisins 1 small box— 20

White rice 1 cup— 33

Read the labels on sports drinks. If the carb percentage is high, avoid those drinks and choose ones with no calories. Try water (or add lemon, lime or other citrus).

Good Luck with the marathon.

Here’s to Mastering Your Health.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

Dave Montgomery, MD, PhD is a Cardiologist at Northwestern University and a sought after Speaker and Health Coach. http://davemontgomerymd.com

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