People suffering from diabetes should be extremely careful about their carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrate is essential for our body. However, for diabetes patients, excess carbohydrate as well as wrong carbohydrates can spell havoc. Diabetes patients are often confused about choosing the correct carbohydrate content in their diet.
Carbohydrate provides us energy. When we eat carbohydrates, the sugar in it is converted into glucose, which is the fuel for our body. Extra glucose in the body, which remains unutilized, is stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. When we need extra energy, this glycogen is converted into energy.
Complex carbohydrate or simple carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are divided into two categories – simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are unsuitable for diabetes patients. Compared to complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates are easily digestible and rapidly convert into glucose. In diabetic patients, the low insulin level fails to absorb the large volume of glucose, raising the sugar level in the blood stream. Complex carbohydrates on the other hand are slowly digested by the body.
They gradually break down into glucose. Since glucose is released in the blood stream gradually, the insulin could effectively help its absorption. Simple carbohydrates are present in the form of sucrose. Table sugar, sweetened desserts, cakes, soft drinks and sweets are sources of sucrose, which are harmful for diabetes patients. However, natural sugar is not as harmful as added sugar. Natural sugar present in fruits in the form of fructose is not harmful. Fibers present in fruit slow down the digestion of sugar. Whole grains and whole grain products, legumes and several vegetables are sources of complex carbohydrates.
Unrefined and refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates are undoubtedly preferred for their excellent taste. However, by removing the bran or outer coat of the whole grain, refined carbohydrates have extremely low fiber content. Therefore, they are speedily digested, promptly increasing the blood sugar level. Unrefined carbohydrates or unprocessed whole grain products are rich in fibers. Diabetes patients should only consume unrefined carbohydrate products.
Fibers are also a form of carbohydrate. However, it is non-digestible carbohydrate. Fibers help to stabilize the blood sugar level, and are essential for diabetes patients.