When you eat carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose. The glucose is then absorbed by your bloodstream, causing a rise in blood sugar. Your pancreas then kicks into gear releasing insulin, which acts like a transporter to get the glucose into your cells. When your body is not able to produce enough insulin to combat blood sugar that never decreases, blood glucose stays at a high level.
This is what is known as Type-2 diabetes. Many people with diabetes have unusually high levels of LDL, otherwise known as ‘bad’ cholesterol. When the body cannot eliminate glucose properly, glucose starts attaching itself to cell receptors for other things, like, in this case, LDL. LDL cannot be eliminated from the body, and starts to build up, causing high cholesterol.
Type-2 diabetics must carefully allocate their carbohydrates per meal to avoid the yo-yo effect of rapid rises and falls in blood sugar. Your Doctor will calculate the amount of carbohydrates you should be having each day, based on your age, gender, and weight. This doesn’t mean that you should eat whatever type of carbohydrate you want within that daily allocation.
Highly processed carbs like white sugar, bread, and pasta have been stripped of most nutrients. This processing also causes your blood sugar to rise exponentially faster than an unprocessed whole grain would. The fibre and nutrients contained within the whole grain take longer to be digested and give the body a slow stream of glucose, rather than a fast spike like a bowl of pasta or a few cookies would. Eliminating carbohydrates completely is a very dangerous idea for anyone, especially a diabetic. Carbs are the most accessible form of energy for the body, and the body cannot function without them.
Fibre is another piece in the diabetes puzzle. Technically fibre is a carbohydrate, however your body cannot digest it and it simply gets eliminated. The benefits of fibre come from what it does while it is on its way out of your body. Soluble fibre such as oats will bind to cholesterol and move it out of the body, lowering the dangerously high cholesterol levels that many diabetics face.
Insoluble fibre found in many vegetables acts as a scrub brush in your intestines. It causes your digestive system to move at an ideal rate, efficiently eliminating remaining sugars in the waste. If bodily waste takes too long to move through the system things like sugar and water can be reabsorbed, causing constipation and higher blood sugar.
Carbohydrates are an essential but confusing part of a diabetic’s diet. By staying informed and making educated choices, you can manage your diabetes while still giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs.