Three main types of carbohydrates
There are three main types of carbohydrates in food. The "Total Carbohydrate" that you see in the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels includes all three types. This is the number to watch if you’re counting carbs.
StarchesKnown as complex carbohydrates, these are found in starchy vegetables (such as potatoes and corn), beans, peas, lentils; and in breads, cereals and grains.
SugarsAnother type of carbohydrate, sugars are often referred to as simple or fast-acting carbohydrates. There are naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose), and sugars added during processing such as the table sugar (sucrose) used in sodas, candy and baked goods.
FiberThe indigestible part of plant foods, fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. Fiber is classified into two categories, those that don’t dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber). Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugars, which may help improve blood glucose levels for people with diabetes.
Meal planning and managing your carb intake
Carbohydrates, an important source of energy, are broken down into glucose during the digestion process. That’s why they have the most immediate effect on your blood glucose levels. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid carbs if you have diabetes. Carbs are an essential component of a healthy diet.
It’s important to eat the right amount of carbs at each meal and snack, along with suitable sources of proteins and fats to balance your meal. There are many options that people with diabetes use to help plan meals and manage their carb intake:
Managing your carb intake can help you feel your best, continue to do the things you enjoy, and help manage your diabetes. We suggest you speak with your physician, nurse educator or registered dietitian to help determine what meal plan is best for you.