If you’re diabetic, it can feel like you’re not allowed to eat anything good. No sweets, no pasta, no bread, no pizza. You have to keep a strict watch on how many carbs a consume a day, and it can feel like everything’s off-limits.
But managing diabetes isn’t a matter of avoiding all carbs forever. Instead, it’s just a matter of finding healthy carbs for diabetics that you can have. Read on to discover some healthy (and delicious) foods you can eat today that are great for diabetics.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are made up mostly of one of two things: sugar and starch. And while there isn’t any starch in milk products, there is sugar in the form of lactose. But unlike sucrose and other refined sugar, lactose is a little healthier for you if you have diabetes.
There is some debate among nutritionists about whether you should have full-fat or skim dairy products. Most dietitians say that skim products are better when you can get them since diets rich in saturated fats have been linked with higher levels of insulin resistance. So get some skim milk, low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese!
Beans are a great source of fiber, as well as being a healthy source of carbohydrates. Yes, beans are higher in carbs, but the fiber they bring along with them balances out the carb count. Some studies have shown that people who have high-fiber diets have better weight loss results and overall body health.
You do need to be careful about your bean portion sizes, though. Beans do pack a huge amount of fiber, and that’s great, but they also contain about 20 grams of carbs per half-cup. So make sure you’re careful with your portion sizes and you stay within your carb goals.
It’s a common myth that if you have diabetes, you are no longer allowed to eat fruit. And it’s true that fruit does have a lot of carbs – one apple has about 25 grams of carbs in it. But fruits are also high in fiber, as well as important vitamins and antioxidants.
Fruit can also be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without eating something that has a ton of unhealthy sugar in it. And people who eat more fruit can have a lower risk of developing diabetes-related vascular complications. Try to stick to one serving of fruit at a time, space them out throughout the day, and monitor your sugar closely to see how different fruits affect you and take medication as needed to handle it.
If you’re looking for fruits that don’t pack 25 grams of carbs each, berries are a great option. In fact, berries have some of the lowest sugar and carb counts of any fruit. A half-cup of raspberries has only seven grams of carbs, and a half cup of blueberries has eleven grams of carbs.
Blueberries are also high in antioxidants and have been linked to good heart health. Since diabetics are at greater risk of heart disease, this can be very important. And raspberries are a great source of fiber, with that same half-cup containing four grams of fiber.
You’ve probably heard before that it’s a good idea to use non-starchy veggies as a way to moderate your carb intake. A salad can fill you up just as much as a bowl of pasta, but it packs almost no carbs and far fewer calories. But when you need some starch, vegetables offer a great way to get that.
Vegetables like sweet potatoes contain what are called complex carbohydrates. These take longer for your body to break down than the carbs found in things like pasta and white bread, making them healthier for you. Corn and green peas are okay, too, but be sure to eat all of them in moderation.
If you have to eat bread and pasta, try your best to get whole-wheat varieties. In normal bread and pasta products, only one part of the wheat kernel is used, stripping out a lot of the nutrients. Whole grain products use all three parts of the kernel and may contain other grains, such as barley, rice, oats, and more.
The carb counts on regular grains and whole grains are going to be similar because you’re still consuming a large amount of starch. And you need to be sure to eat these foods only in moderation. But whole grains also contain more fiber, which can help offset the effects of the carbs.
Nuts are some of the best things you can eat as a diabetic. Some studies have shown that diabetics who eat five servings of nuts a week have a 17 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. They also have a 27 percent lower risk of early death.
Nuts are believed to reduce inflammation, improve artery function, lower blood pressure, and improve glycemic control. They have some carbs, but they’re more packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins. An ounce of walnuts has four grams of carbs, an ounce of almonds has five grams, and an ounce of pistachios has four grams of carbs.
Find More Healthy Carbs for Diabetics
When you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, finding carbs you can eat can be a struggle. And since everything delicious is made of carbs, it can be hard to find good foods to eat. But these foods have healthy carbs for diabetics and can form the basis of your new, improved diet.
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