The facts about carbs, fibre and diabetes
Watching your diet is an important part of managing diabetes. You'll probably see a dietitian as part of your diabetes care team. They can give specific recommendations, but generally paying special attention to carbohydrates (carbs) is important because these can affect your blood sugar levels faster than protein or fat.
Carbs are found in many foods and drinks, including sweets, fruit, milk, yoghurt, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, potatoes and other vegetables.
'Carb counting' is important for diabetes treated with insulin. Each food and portion size adds up to a meal needing a certain insulin dose. If you have more carbs than your insulin supply can deal with, your blood sugar level goes up. If you eat too few carbohydrates, your blood sugar level may fall too low.
Fibre also plays a role in helping to control blood sugar. It also helps you lower your 'bad' (LDL) cholesterol.
Most people in the UK fall short of the recommended amount of fibre in their diet, which is at least 30g of fibre a day.
Good sources of fibre include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Beans and peas
- Wholegrain breads, cereals and crackers
- Brown rice
- Bran products
- Nuts and seeds