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Carbohydrate Counting and Exchanges

The myth: If you have diabetes, you can't eat sweets or sugar.

The truth: A food doesn't have to be sweet or sugary to raise your blood sugar.

Anything with carbohydrates will affect your blood glucose, whether it's from white potatoes, pasta, bread or Jelly Tots.1

Consult the Accu-Chek® Portion Plate for guidance.

Of course, different foods may affect you differently. Why?

Eating protein, fat or fibre along with your carbohydrates may slow the absorption of the carbohydrates into your system. That's why the extra fibre in whole-grain foods can help you avoid a big spike in blood glucose. What's more, eating carbohydrates as part of a larger meal that includes fat and protein will also help.2

What foods don't have carbohydrates? Green and leafy vegetables, meat and fish, tofu, cheeses, eggs, nuts and fats.3 To be sure you're accounting for all of your carbohydrates/exchanges accurately, try an online carb counter or app.

Certainly, there are other reasons to limit sugary foods in favour of other types of carbs. You'll feel much more satisfied after eating a small potato, for example, than a tablespoon of jam – and you'll take in added fibre, vitamin C and potassium that your body needs.

Just remember, whether it's from milk, peas, apricots or a biscuit, a carb doesn't have to be loaded with sugar to count.

1International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes education modules 2011: nutrition part 2: recommendations. Available at: http://d-net.idf.org/en/login.html?return=aHR0cDovL2QtbmV0LmlkZi5vcmcvZW4vbGlicmFyeS8xNzgtZGlhYmV0ZXMtZWR1Y2F0aW9uLW1vZHVsZXMtMjAxMS5odG1s.. Accessed July 2, 2015.

2International Diabetes Federation. Diabetes education modules 2011: nutrition part 3: education. Available at: http://d-net.idf.org/en/login.html?return=aHR0cDovL2QtbmV0LmlkZi5vcmcvZW4vbGlicmFyeS8xNzgtZGlhYmV0ZXMtZWR1Y2F0aW9uLW1vZHVsZXMtMjAxMS5odG1s.. Accessed July 2, 2015.

3Queensland Health. Understanding the carbohydrate portion. Available at: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/151737/diab_chocount15g.pdf. Accessed July 2, 2015.

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