Glucose (sugar) is a carbohydrate. Because controlling blood sugar controls diabetes, a lot of dietary is given on the amount and timing of carbohydrate intake.
Carbohydrates are found in grains and starches, fruits, milk and alternatives which raises the blood glucose.
Carbohydrate foods are allocated a value per portion, called the exchange. A diabetic diet is constructed around the number of exchanges of carbohydrate a food contained. For example, a thin slice of wholemeal bread contains 15g carbohydrate and is one portion or exchange. An individual might be on 200g carbohydrate, which would contain 13 exchanges in the whole day.
Although diabetes means you ll always need to take that little extra care about what you eat, modern thinking has moved away from this type of diet. This is because all foods have an energy value, not just carbohydrate. For more details ADA (food exchange list) can be referred.
And different carbohydrates affect the blood glucose level at different rates:
- pure glucose is absorbed very quickly and causes blood sugar to rise within minutes.
- starchy foods are carbohydrate, but are absorbed far more slowly and release the sugar slowly over a longer period of time.
- A healthy diet is a balanced diet – focusing on carbohydrates alone skews that balance.