For those with diabetes, when it comes to consuming carbohydrates, it is a balancing act. Carbohydrates can contribute to an increase in blood sugar However, a diet plan for a diabetic still should include making sure to get adequate amounts of carbohydrates. That is why it is important to understand that not all carbohydrates are the same, which will help you in making the right food choices. Some foods that contain carbohydrates also include other key nutrients that, if taken in the right amount, can be a benefit to someone with diabetes.
Since not all carbs are created equal, you want to understand the different types and their impact on blood sugar. To begin with, your body breaks down digestible carbs into sugar, which then enter the bloodstream. There are three main types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches, and fibers.
Sugar: Sugar also is referred to as simple carbohydrates. Simple carbs can cause blood sugars to rise very quickly. The two main types of sugar are naturally occurring, such as those in milk or fruit, and added sugars. The latter is added during processing, such as sugar to make pastries or sugar added in sodas, for example.
On nutrition labels, the number of sugar grams will include both the naturally occurring and added sugars. You may see table sugar listed by its chemical name, which is sucrose. Fruit sugar is known as fructose and sugar in milk is lactose. If an ingredient ends in “ose,” it is a sugar. 
Starch: Starches are complex carbohydrates. They are crucial in providing a nutritious well-balanced diet because they provide glucose. Glucose, which is a simple monosaccharide sugar and the main energy source for every cell, provides a range of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and other nutrients. 
Foods high in starch include: 
- Starchy vegetables like peas, corn, lima beans, and potatoes
- Dried beans, lentils, and peas such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black eyed peas and split peas
- Grains like oats, barley, and rice.
Fiber: Fiber is the indigestible carbohydrate that is found in plant-based foods. Dietary fiber can be soluble or insoluble and passes through the body without being fully digested. It does not provide energy but it has a beneficial role in digestion and metabolism. Fibers is mostly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Fiber can help slow down the body’s absorption of sugar, helping to prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.
How many carbs to consume daily
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that keeping track of the foods you eat daily in meals, snacks and drinks can help you match your activity levels and medicines to the food you eat. If you take mealtime insulin, you will count carbs to match your insulin dose to the amount of carbs in your foods and drinks. You may also take additional insulin if your blood sugar is higher than your target when eating.
CDC explains that carbs are measured in grams. On packaged foods, you can find total carb grams on the Nutrition Facts label. For diabetes meal planning, 1 carb serving is about 15 grams of carbs. If a product does not have a food label, such as a whole piece of fruit or a vegetable, there are apps and other tools to help you calculate.
Try to eat about the same amount of carbs at each meal to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, CDC advises. The amount you can eat and stay in your target blood sugar range depends on your age, weight, activity level, and other factors. Work with a dietitian or diabetes care and education specialist to help you create an eating plan that works for your unique needs and lifestyle.
 “Types of Carbohydrates,” American Diabetes Association,” Accessed November 5, 2022. https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/recipes-nutrition/understanding-carbs/types-carbohydrates
 Sherrell, Zia, “What to know about starch,” Medical News Today, Januar 18, 2022.
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 Newman, Tim, “Why do we need dietary fiber,” Medical News Today, April 27, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146935
 “Carb Counting,” CDC, Accessed November 5, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/eat-well/diabetes-and-carbohydrates.html
 “Carb Counting”
 “Carb Couonting”