Why are carbohydrates important in Type 2 diabetes?

Carbohydrates, also known as sugar, starch, and fiber, are broken down into glucose when they are digested, and insulin then helps that glucose move into your cells to be used for energy or stored for use later on. If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body is resistant to insulin so the glucose continues to circulate in your blood. You need carbohydrate-rich foods for energy, but choosing carbohydrate foods that your body digests at a slower rate will help reduce the demand on your insulin and thereby keep your blood glucose level more stable.

Which carbohydrates are digested quickly?

Any form of sugar, which can be called dextrose, glucose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, or lactose, is digested easily and rapidly. This is why sugar causes your blood glucose level to rise sharply, resulting in an immediate demand for insulin. Eating sugar in small quantities, and/or with or after other food, slows down its absorption so that it doesn’t have a dramatic effect on your blood glucose.

How do starch and fiber affect my blood glucose?

Starch and fiber include bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals, and legumes and beans. They are broken down into glucose relatively slowly during digestion. Unlike simple carbohydrates, they do not raise your blood glucose sharply, so eating them helps keep your blood glucose level balanced.

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