Not too many, too little or the wrong kind too often.
Carbohydrates are a chief source of energy (1). To me, getting enough of the right kind means good energy all day every day. Good energy means accomplishing goals and living happily to me. My carbs source differs depending on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. What doesn’t differ are the recommendations of how many you need depending on your activity level and what kinds are best / worst for the blood sugar.
Complex carbohydrates should make up the majority of one’s daily calories (1). The amount you need depends on many factors; your current health standing, your activity levels, and goals. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for carbohydrate intake for an adult is 45–60 percent of total caloric intake (2). To calculation your daily calorie needs, see the calculator chart in the introduction.
Simple vs complex carbohydrates
The kind you need / don’t need
All carbohydrates are made up from sugar, starch, or fiber. Simple carbohydrates—candy, bread, crackers, fried food, cereal, sports drinks, rice, and fruit—are made up of sugar. Complex carbohydrates—oatmeal, quinoa, and sweet potatoes—are made of starches and fiber. Simple carbohydrates are made of sugars that have only one or two sugar unit (monosaccharides or disaccharides). Complex carbohydrates are made of sugars that have three or more sugar units (polysaccharides).
Simple carbohydrates (mono/disaccharides, one/two sugar units) are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly. Complex carbohydrates require prolonged enzymatic action to be digested, meaning they are absorbed into the bloodstream over a prolonged period of time, which doesn’t spike insulin as fast – regulating your blood sugar.
|low-fat yogurt||skim milk||asparagus||onions|
|Beans, Nuts, Seeds, Lentils||green beans|
|chick peas||soy milk||yams||zucchini|
|kidney, pinto||soy peas||okra|
|brown sugar||honey||jams, jellies and preservatives||maple syrup|
|candy||table sugar||pastries and desserts, cake|
|corn syrup, artificial syrup||molasses||Processed Snacks|
|Drinks||Potatoes||fruit roll-up||white rice|
|fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice drinks||russet potatoes (complex but broken down in body as simple)||sweetened applesauce (look for the ones with “no sugar added”)||white bread, pasta, cereal, tortillas, flour|
Glycemic index & load
Why balance matters
Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the body absorbs the sugars within a certain food.
(55 or Less)
(70 or More)
|oatmeal||quick oats||instant oatmeal|
|oat bran||brown or wild rice||corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes|
|muesli||whole wheat, rye and pita bread||white bread or bagel, pretzel|
|sweet potato, yam||couscous||short grain, white rice, french fries, instant rice|
|peas, chickpeas, pinto, black beans, peanuts||carrots||macaroni and cheese from mix|
|lentils||brown rice||popcorn, saltine crackers, graham crackers|
|fruit: cherries, grapefruit, apple||honey, pineapple
|watermelon, melons and pineapple, dates|
|wheat tortilla||sweet potato
|sports drinks, fruit drinks, sodas, juice|
|Non-starchy vegetables and carrots|
We typically eat foods in combination with others. If you eat a simple carbohydrate (a high-glycemic food item) such as watermelon, crackers or a bagel with foods high in fiber such as sweet potatoes and vegetables, the absorption of the sugar is slowed meaning balance matters. The measure how quick an entire meal is absorbed is called glycemic load.
Net carbs and fiber
Fiber is a carbohydrate. Soluble fibers (found in oats, peas, beans, lentils, barley, and uncooked fruits and vegetables) help regulate the body’s use of sugar and lowers cholesterol. Insoluble fiber (such as those found in bran layers of cereal grains) helps with satiety – the feeling of being full. The mechanisms behind the reported effects of dietary fiber are not well established (3), however study after study produces results suggesting its beneficial effects. Diets high in fiber have been associated with lower risk of heart disease and cancer (4). The recommended intake of fiber is thirty-eight grams per day for men and twenty-five grams per day for women (1). Most Americans get half of the recommended daily amount (5). Don’t be one of these Americans and then complain about your quality of life later when you could do something about it now!
The lesser of the evil
At the end of the day, bread is a processed food, and we should limit processed foods. The ingredients are the most important part. I try to stay away from anything with bleached flour or high fructose corn sugar as the third ingredient (indicating it is the third most abundant ingredient in the food item). I always try to find something with a whole-grain mix made from barley, rye, millet, flax, oats, and bran. I haven’t found the perfect bread that is in my budget and in my local grocery store.
My carbohydrate list
The carbs I eat depend on whats going on in my life, how much time and money I have, what I’m craving, what I’ve found new. So many variables. Below is a list of carbs I usually alternate between for lunch.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Tots
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Spanish Quinoa
- Mashed potatoes
- Fried potatoes
- Potato Salad
- Whole Grain Bread
- White Bread
My carbohydrate schedule
The graft below is meant to give you an idea of how often I eat what carbohydrate. In later versions this chart may be better developed.
|DAY 1||DAY 2||DAY 3||DAY 4||DAY 5||DAY 6||DAY 7|
|WK 1||Vegetables||Sweet Potato||Carb Powder||None||Hush puppy||Potato Salad||Pizza|
Superfoods for those with Diabetes
Below is the American Diabetes Association’s list of superfoods:
- dark-green leafy vegetables
- citrus fruit
- sweet potatoes
- fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
- whole grains (oatmeal, pearled barley, quinoa)
The G.I.Lane Low Sugar Meals
The American Heart Association recommends less than 25 grams of added sugar daily and less than 38 g for men. Just to give you all an idea, according to the _______ The Average American consumes 82 grams. every day. The World Health Organization‘s (WHO) recommends that no more than 10% of an adult’s calories – and ideally less than 5% – should come from added sugar or from natural sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice.How many meals on average are people eating? Doesn’t Matter. Everyone is different. 38+25 = 63/2= 31.5 on average for the average (both men and women) just to keep it simple and get some baseline data to start working with as the majority of us, including myself has never calculated and eaten under 25grams of sugar in a day.
If only 3 then every meal should be less than 10 grams of sugar on average. If 5 every meal should be less than 6 grams (31.5/5) per serving. Obviously you could get more scientific with the calculations. I try to keep things simple for us all. So I want less than 6-10 grams of sugar in every meal, totaling no more than 25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men. Plus Low sugar as explained above (under 10g/serv) low sodium (under 750g/serving). http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/the-growing-concern-of-overconsumption/#.Wjwg1yOZPBI. The G.I.Lane Meal Plan Recipe Book has __ low sugar recipes.
You need carbs – just the right kind
Most importantly, I want you to know that not all carbohydrates are bad. We all need them, but complex carbs are much better for you than simple carbs. Your daily carbohydrate intake should be 45–60 percent of your daily caloric intake. If you haven’t already, use the the macro calculator chart in the introduction to calculate your carbohydrate needs.
Check your Knowledge
|Week 1 – Top 15 Things to Know||Ok|
|The CDC holds that in 2015, 30.3 million Americans (9.4%) had diabetes (1). That’s 1.2 million more than 2012.|
|In 2016, $51.5 billion (19.3 billion more than 2014) worth of diabetes drugs were sold (2).|
|My uncle has diabetes and had his foot cut off.|
|Diabetes affects the body’s ability to process sugar.|
|Diabetes may increase risk of stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, organ failure and damages blood vessels.|
|Understanding sugar and carbohydrates may help ameliorate diabetes.|
|Carbohydrates are a chief source of energy (3)|
|The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range for carbohydrates is 45–60 percent of total caloric intake (3).|
|All carbohydrates are made of sugar, starch, and/or fiber.|
|Sugars are absorbed in the blood quicker than starch and fiber.|
|The quicker a carbohydrate is absorbed in the blood, the higher the blood sugar.|
|Chronic high blood sugar causes diabetes.|
|The recommended amount of sugar is less than 25 grams of sugar daily for women and less than 38 g for men (4).|
|If eating 3 meals / day every meal should be less than 10 grams of sugar on average.|
|Having a habit of making quick, cheap, delicious starchy, fibrous carbs is more effective than counting calories.|
|Week 2 – Starchy, Fibrous Carbs vs. Sugary Carbs||Ok|
|Starch and fiber require more to break down than sugar, thus are absorbed in the blood slower.|
|Starchy and fibrous carbohydrates should make up the majority of one’s daily calories (1).|
|The recommended intake of fiber is thirty-eight grams per day for men and twenty-five grams per day for women (1).|
|Most Americans get half of the recommended daily amount of fiber (5).|
|High fiber diets are associated with lower risk of heart disease and cancer (4).|
|Table sugar, brown sugar, honey, candy, corn syrup, artificial syrup, maple syrup molasses, fruit punch, fruit drinks, fruit juice, soft drinks, jams, jellies, preservatives, pastries, most desserts, cake, fruit roll ups, sweetened applesauce, white bread, pasta, most cereal, russet potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, white tortillas, apples, pears, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, bananas, eggs, peanut butter, yogurt, milk, cucumbers, carrots, turnips, onions, prunes and zuchinni have more sugar than fiber just to name a few.|
|Cabbage, turkey, salmon, cheese, asparagus, wheat tortillas and peas have nearly an equal amount of fiber and sugar just to name a few.|
|Beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, broccoli, green beans, spinach, buckwheat, corn, barley, oats, okra, muesli, quinoa, avocado and chickpeas are made of much more fiber than sugar.|
|The amount of carbohydrates you need daily depends on your activity level and goal weight.|
|A ___ lb man with a goal weight of ___ and a ___ lifestyle needs _____ grams of carbohydrates daily.|
|Week 3 – Carbs and their Macros||Ok|
|Oats, beans, whole grain bread, bagels, sometimes potatoes and tortillas are stables of my carbohydrates.|
|1 C. boiled pinto beans is 45 g. carbs, 15 g. fiber, 1 g. sugar|
|1 C. Mixed Berries is 19g. carb, 10g. fiber, 13 g. Sugar|
|1 C. walnuts is 11 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber & 2.1 g. sugar|
|1 C. old fashioned oats is 27 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber, 1 g. sugar|
|1 C. russet potato is 37 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber, 1.9 g. sugar|
|1 wheat tortilla is 98 g. carbs, 4.7 fiber, 5 g. sugar|
|1 C. sweet potato is 27 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber & 6 g. sugar|
|1 C. white rice is 45 g. carbs, .6 g. fiber, & .1 g. sugar|
|1 slice whole wheat bread is 12 g. carbs, 1.9 g. fiber, 1.6 g. sugar|
|1 peach is 14 g. carbs, 2.3 g. fiber, 13 g. sugar|
|1 chocolate croissant is 47 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber, 18 g. sugar|
|1 C. orange juice is 9 g. carbs, .2 g. fiber, 7 g. sugar|
|1 apple is 25 g. Carb, 4.4 g. Fiber, 19 g. sugar|
|1 C. Plain greek yogurt has 15g carb, 0 fiber, 3 sugar|
|1 vanilla latte is 37 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber, 35 g. sugar|
|1 C. decaf earl grey tea has 0 carbs, 0 fiber, 0 sugar.|
|1 C. whole milk has 12 g carb, 0 fiber, 13 g. sugar.|
|Week 4 – Recipes, Review & Take Away||Ok|
|To make pinto beans you simply boil 2 cups of raw beans with 12 cups of water. Soak for 8 hours for quicker cooking, and less gas.|
|To make oats you simply boil 1/2 c. Oats with 1 cup of water. Top with nuts and dates or honey if you need more flavor / sweetness.|
|Review Question:What Carbs should be on your grocery list?|
|Review Question :How much money is spent treating diabetes?|
|Review Question :Diabetes increase the risk of ____.|
|Review Question :What are carbs made of?|
|Review Question :What carb discussed in week 3 is highest in fiber, lowest in sugar?|
|Review Question :How much sugar is in a vanilla late?|
|Review Question :How many|
|Review Question : A can of soda has __ carbs, __ fiber and ___ sugar.|
|Review Question :Carbohydrates should make up majority of one’s daily calories. T/F?|
R E F E R E N C E S
- Clark, A., Lucett, S., Sutton, B. (2012). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Baltimore, Maryland: Lippincot Williams & Wilkins, a Wolters Kluwer Business.
- Lattimer, J. Haub, M. (2010). Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health. Nutrients. 2(12). 1266-1289. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257631/. Accessed April 14, 2016.
- American Diabetes Association. Diabetes statistics. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?loc=db-slabnav. Accessed December 24, 2015.
- Harshman, R., Aldoori, W. New Dietary Reference Intakes for Macronutrients and fibre. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1479724/. Accessed June 23, 2016.
- Rodriguez, N. DiMarco, N. Langley, S., American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, American College of Sports Medicine (2009). Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of American Diet Association. 109 (3): 509-527. Retrieved from https://www.andeal.org/vault/2440/web/200903_NAP_JADA-PositionPaper.pdf. Accessed Jan 19, 2016.