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Diabetic Dilemma--Carbohydrates versus Low Sugar

Updated on April 30, 2012

Why is my A1C so high?

I exercised, watched my sugar intake and still my A1C was 7.2. I was depressed, angry and very disappointed in myself. My physician was not as upset as I was, because all my other numbers looked okay. What to do? She sent me to a dietitian. There must be some little thing that you are overlooking that is causing the A1C to remain high.

The first thing the dietitian said to me was, ‘don’t look at the sugar content.’ Sugar is important, but the carbohydrate figure is far more important. Carbohydrates raise blood glucose. With a good diet and staying within a certain number of carbohydrates you can maintain blood sugar levels.

After describing my normal low sugar weekly diet to the dietitian, I was shocked to discover the first culprit, raisins. Raisins are a big no, no, and I put them on everything. I have raisins in my oatmeal, my dry cereal, in my salads, and even as a snack with peanuts. I thought they were good for me, but apparently dried fruits are very high in carbohydrates. The next bad idea I have, is reaching for crackers to ease hunger pains. Again, these are very high in carbohydrates. Well, a few is okay, but I never have just a few.

Three types of carbohydrates

The raisins I was eating contributed to almost 1/3 of my daily carbohydrate limit. One quarter cup of raisins equals 31 grams of carbohydrates that is more than I should have in a meal. My cracker snacks also added up quickly: 5 Ritz crackers are 10 grams, and two graham crackers are 25 grams. My education begins.

There are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, fiber and starches. The listing on nutrition labels includes all three types of carbohydrates. My dietitian wants me to have about 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. I try to average about 30 per meal and divide the rest into snacks.

A good diet is necessary to succeed in controling A1C. Watching your diet and exercising will not be enough, if the wrong amount of carbohydrates are eaten. If you eat too many carbohydrates the excess will be converted to fat and stored in your cells. You will end up with high and maybe even low blood sugar.

Certain types of sugars; glucose, dextrose, corn sugar, frusctose, are digested very fast. Other sugars like table sugar, lactose and maltose take longer but are digested quickly. Starches are complex carbohydrates are require longer to digest. Starches that are low on the glycemic index are better for diabetics. Fibers can not be digested.

Fiber slows down the process of digestion and slows down the release of energy into the bloodstream from carbohydrates. This action helps to keep blood sugar level near normal. The glucose is steadily release.

Counting is important

When counting the carbohydrates for daily usage, if the food contains more than 5 grams of dietary fiber, you substract half the grams from the total serving. Five grams is a good source of fiber, an okay source contains 2.5 to 4.9 grams. An adult should try to have 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day.

The amount of hidden carbohydrates that I was consuming was amazing. I was well over 250 grams per day. No wonder my A1C was high. With my new knowledge, I am eating more fiber, less carbohydrates and no raisins. The next blood test will tell how I am doing.

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    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 

      6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      I count my carbs all the time. I did it for eight months in a food log, and lost 75 pounds. While I don't keep the written food log, I still keep track in my head.

      Did your nutrition teach you how to eat carbs better? Like if you eat a high glycemic food with a low glycemic food, it makes it a medium. Just curious.

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