Carbohydrates And Fats In Diabetes

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Carbohydrates And Fats In Diabetes
Carbohydrates And Fats In Diabetes
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Diabetes: carbohydrates and fats

With diabetes, it is particularly important to consume suitable carbohydrates: Whole grain products (especially whole grain products) cause blood sugar levels to rise more slowly than products with refined or isolated sugar.

Since fat is the most energetic nutrient, obese people with diabetes in particular should pay attention to the daily amount of fat. When choosing suitable cooking and spreadable fats, the most important thing is good fat quality.


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  • What are suitable carbohydrates?
  • What should be considered with fats?

What are suitable carbohydrates?

The correct daily amount of carbohydrates depends on the amount of physical activity. Carbohydrates are “muscle fuel”, which means that they can only be used properly if exercise or sport is done. In addition to the amount, you should also pay attention to the quality, because not all carbohydrates are the same. Examples of cheap foods are whole grains (preferably coarse ones), fruits and legumes; especially for diabetics, they should be the basis of the carbohydrate sources.

Note Recent studies show that people with type 2 diabetes and overweight can benefit from a reduction in carbohydrates. However, there should not be a one-sided diet in which carbohydrates are completely avoided.

Whole grain bread and cereals, brown rice, legumes and water are therefore preferable to white bread, desserts, cakes, pastries or lemonades. But be careful: not everything that is dark has to mean whole grain. Often, for example, bread and pastries are colored brown with malt sugar. However, such products do not differ from conventional ones. You can find out more about this under FAQ Bread and Whole Wheat Bread.

How do carbohydrates affect blood sugar?

The influence of foods containing carbohydrates on the blood sugar level depends not only on the amount and type of carbohydrate, but also on the composition of the food: If the carbohydrates are consumed in combination with fiber, protein or fat, the blood sugar level rises less quickly and significantly. Quickly available carbohydrates should not be eaten alone, but together with protein-rich foods (e.g. jam with curd cheese).

Diabetics are recommended to have a slightly higher intake of dietary fiber than those with healthy metabolism, as this has a positive effect on blood sugar (40 grams / day instead of 30 grams / day).

Note Diabetics should choose the amount and distribution of carbohydrates in such a way that optimal blood sugar levels are achieved. This is closely related to the existing medication or insulin therapy. Especially with insulin therapy, the calculation of carbohydrates in bread units can be a support to achieve optimal and stable blood sugar values ​​in everyday life. More about it here.

Which sources of carbohydrates should diabetics avoid?

Not suitable are:

  • Sugar and goods such as table sugar, chocolate, sweets, jam, honey etc.,
  • Sugary dairy products such as fruit yoghurt, curd cream dishes, ice cream, etc.,
  • Baked goods such as pastries, cookies, donuts, etc.,
  • Drinks like sodas with sugar, fruit juices, liqueurs etc. as well
  • Dried fruit, canned fruit, etc.

What should be considered with fats?

Since fat is the most energetic nutrient, fat intake should be monitored in obese people with diabetes. Hidden fats from sausage products, ready-made products and fast food in particular have a negative effect on weight and blood lipid levels. According to the latest studies, naturally occurring fats such as from dairy products and eggs are not unfavorable when consumed in moderation. When selecting suitable cooking and spreadable fats, attention should therefore be paid to good quality and the consumption of fats from so-called "processed food" that has been processed several times should be avoided.

Since there is an increased risk of arteriosclerosis with diabetes and concomitant diseases such as obesity, increased blood lipid levels and high blood pressure (metabolic syndrome), special attention must be paid to the quality and origin of the fats:

Fatty acids are an essential part of fats; A distinction is made between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids based on their chemical structure. Saturated fatty acids are mainly found in animal foods such as butter, meat, cheese, and they are also produced by the body itself (eg when glucose is broken down). Unsaturated fatty acids are mainly found in plant foods, such as olives and nuts. The omega-3 fatty acids, which are also found in fish such as salmon and mackerel, are an exception.

Saturated fatty acids sometimes have an unfavorable effect on blood lipid levels, while unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. The blood sugar level is also influenced differently: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity, while a high proportion of saturated and trans fatty acids has an unfavorable effect on blood lipids.

The following applies not only, but especially for diabetics: saturated fatty acids should make up a maximum of one third of dietary fats. For meat, sausage, cheese and dairy products, prefer the low-fat variants and pay attention to the portion sizes. Give preference to vegetable oils such as olive or rapeseed oil when preparing the dishes - these contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are valuable for your health. Pay attention to the total amount of cooking and spreadable fat, since one gram of fat contains around nine kcal (in comparison: one gram of carbohydrates and one gram of protein each contain around four kcal).

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in high-fat fish such as salmon, mackerel or tuna, as well as in rapeseed oil and nuts, also offer many health benefits for the diabetic.

For more information, see Fats and increased blood lipid levels and Basic information on fats.

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