What about Sugars?
First, let’s get a few facts straight. Note that plural on “sugars” in the the header. The sources of sugars we eat number far more than just the white granular stuff. There are sugars that occur naturally in foods, such as the fructose in fruit and the lactose in milk. Other sugars – such as granulated sugar, brown sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup – are added to foods when they are baked, cooked, prepared, or processed. The most important thing to remember about sugars is that they are carbohydrate and will raise your blood glucose.
If I have diabetes, can I eat sugary foods and sweets?
The short answer is yes. People with diabetes can eat sweets, as long as you account for them in your eating plan and adjust your medications to respond to the extra carbohydrate. Carb counting can help you do this. This may be a surprise – for many years people with diabetes were told to avoid sugar. But now we know that the total amount of carbohydrate in a food or meal is the most important factor.
This doesn’t mean that you should regularly eat candy, cake, and cookies. Realize that even a small serving of these types of foods contain a lot of carbohydrate. Cake and cookies also contain a lot of calories and fat. So you’ll want to limit them to special occasions and indulge in small portions, in addition to counting the carbs in your overall carb counting records.
Tips for eating fewer sweets
• Choose a few favorite desserts and decide how often to eat them.
• Satisfy your sweet tooth with a bite or two of your favorite sweet rather than eating the whole thing.
• If you have a difficult time eating smaller portions or how often you eat sweets, it is best not to bring large portions of sweets into your home. You might only order dessert at restaurants or just purchase a small quantity at a time.
• Split a dessert with a dining companion in a restaurant. Ask for several forks or spoons to share the treat.
• Take advantage of smaller portions – kiddie, small, or regular – at ice cream shops or in the supermarket.
• Check your blood glucose form time to time, two to three hours after you eat a sweet to see how high it makes your blood glucose rise.
Easy ways to eat less sugar
• Instead of regular soda, go for diet soda, seltzer water, or, even better, water.
• When you order to buy iced tea, make sure it is unsweetened or sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener.
• When you buy fruit drinks or flavored seltzers, read the Nutrition Facts label. Make sure the calories, carbohydrate, and sugars are near zero. In general, it’s better to drink water and eat fresh fruit.
• Trade canned fruit packed in heavy syrup for fruit packed in its own juice or light syrup.
• Use low-calorie sweeteners instead of sugar.
• Use low- or no-sugar jelly or jam instead of regular.
Fiber and Blood Glucose
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. There are hundreds of different types of fibers in our foods. Depending on which type you eat, fiber can affect blood glucose differently than other carbohydrates. Some fibers can slow down the absorption of glucose, resulting in lower rises in blood glucose after eating. Some fibers are also helpful for weight loss because they make you feel full and satisfied. Fiber has no calories. Fiber is an essential part of a healthy eating plan.
Easy tips to fit in fiber
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines foods with more than 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving as “excellent” sources, whereas foods that provide between 2.5 and 4.9 grams per serving are considered “good” sources.
Look for these items and check the Nutrition Facts label to see how much fiber a food contains.
• Whole-grain cereals, breads, and crackers
• Whole grains, such as barley, bulgur, and buckwheat
• Beans and peas – these types of foods, called legumes, are great sources of fiber
• Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber, such as acorn and butternut squash, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, berries, plum, prunes, and apples
• Nuts and seeds