Wellness for the Family: How to Avoid the Dance of Diabetes & Carbohydrates

When it comes to avoiding the complications of diabetes, just cutting sugar isn’t necessarily going to cut it.

Carbohydrates as a whole are the real issue, and several foods that are normally considered healthy, like certain fruits and vegetables, have a lot of them.

Registered Dietitian Grace Derocha, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, says portion control in carbohydrates is everything.

For example, cereal.

“Three quarters of a cup is considered a serving for this, but that already has 22 grams of carbohydrates,” she says. “And the average person is having close to three cups of cereal at a time when they don’t measure.”

Traditionally avoided foods like cookies and cupcakes have sugar, one type of carbohydrate.

But fruits and breads are a traditionally “healthy” food groups that also have lots of sugar.

And starches are another carbohydrate found in many vegetables, which people fail to think of when it comes to diabetes.

Derocha is not recommending cutting out carbohydrates entirely. They are great fuel for the brain and needed in a healthy daily diet.

But she says we “over-do” it eating so many of them in our modern lifestyles.

That’s why occasionally swapping carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes and pasta is another way to live healthier.

  • Cauliflower is a great vegetable that’s low in carbohydrates and can substitute for creative things like pizza crust.
  • Chick peas can satisfy your need for crunch over a bag of potato chips.
  • And spaghetti squash is an option to replace pasta or zoodles (zucchini noodles).

Portion control in carbohydrates is not just for those with diabetes, or at risk for it, but also a healthy habit everyone should pay attention to.

“We overdo carbohydrates—doesn’t mean that they are bad—they are not evil,” Derocha says. “But you want to make sure you pick healthier options not the ones with a lot of added sugar and you’re watching your portion sizes.”

And in honor of American Diabetes Month, Derocha pays special attention to a little-known but just as important segment of the diabetic population: pregnant women with gestational diabetes. Watch the video above to learn more.

For more recipes and health and wellness tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.

Categories: the four, the four Express, Wellness for the Family