Carbohydrates pop up in so many of our favorite daily foods and tasty dietary staples. Yet, believe it or not, these simple compounds could be the pesky source sabotaging your wellness journey and putting you at risk for abnormal insulin levels.If you have diabetes, whether it be Type 1 or Type 2, your health and wellbeing depends on your ability to keep your blood sugar balanced and normal, which all goes back to your diet and eating habits.
Even if you are prediabetic, now is the time to get your blood sugar levels back on track and at a healthy level. If you are thinking to yourself “What are carbohydrates?”, and wondering if they really could affect you so significantly, the following comprehensive analysis was written just for you. What Are Carbohydrates? Overview To answer the question
“What are carbohydrates?”
This compound is a series of elements found in food and tissues composed of sugar, starch, and cellulose. Not all carbohydrates are created equally regarding the quality of the sugar, starch, and cellulose that vary based on the source.Whenever you eat a carbohydrate food source, your body dissects and disperses the digestible elements into the form of sugar which goes into your bloodstream. This causes your blood sugar levels to elevate, stimulating your pancreas to produce more insulin.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for causing cells to use the sugar stores for later or consume them immediately as energy.As your cells absorb the blood sugar, the amount originally in your blood stream after initial consumption of the carbohydrates will drop. Your body begins to produce glucagon, which alerts your liver to release its stored sugar. The insulin and glucagon work together to make sure that your cells and brain are enjoying sufficient amounts of blood sugar.In the case of Type 2 diabetes, your body is unable to produce sufficient insulin, or utilize what it already has, to manage blood sugar consumption, causing carbohydrates to become a threatening substance to the body. It typically takes time for Type 2 diabetes to develop.
The process usually begins with your muscles and cells failing to react properly to insulin, eventually leading to insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, your blood sugar levels remain elevated long after you have finished a meal, wearing the cells down to where insulin output ceases entirely. Therefore, carbohydrates become a dangerous irritant to a system unable to metabolize or disperse these innate sugars properly. Not all carbohydrates are created equally.
In answering the query “What are carbohydrates?”, it is crucial to distinguish between the simple and complex varieties.
Simple carbohydrates are basic chemical compounds containing only 1 or 2 sugar sources, making them easily absorbed by the body. This can lead to significant blood sugar spikes in a short amount of time and high insulin production.
Complex carbohydrates have more detailed compounds, composed of 3 or more connected sugars. Foods like fruits and vegetables, containing vitamins, minerals, and fiber, are complex carbohydrates. Their complex form causes them to take more time to digest and hit the blood stream more slowly. There are other common foods like white potatoes which are considered complex carbohydrates, but do not contain the same essential nutrients.
How Do Carbohydrates Effect Diabetes?
The Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar, we must next examine how they affect diabetes in a noticeable way. Despite the obvious differences between simple and complex carbohydrates, their compound makeup is not enough to explain their ultimate impact on blood sugar and, therefore, diabetic individuals. This is where the glycemic index comes into play.
The glycemic index was created to better separate the carbohydrates that cause danger to conditions like diabetes from those which could be considered healthy food sources when enjoyed in moderation. The glycemic index takes the form of a scale, rating carbohydrates on a 0 to 100 computation.
Foods such as white bread, which are digested very quickly and hit your blood sugar levels almost immediately causing spikes, come in high on the glycemic index. Alternatively, whole, fibrous grains, like oats that digest slowly and disperse their innate sugars over time to allow for balanced blood sugar levels, rate much lower on the glycemic index.
To be considered a low-glycemic carbohydrate source, a food must be rated at 55 or less. Foods between 70 and 100 are on the high end of the glycemic spectrum. If you consistently eat high-glycemic foods, constantly spiking and unbalancing your blood sugar levels, you not only put yourself at greater risk for diabetes, not to mention weight gain and heart disease, to name a few potential consequences.
If you are already diabetic, the outcome of consistent high-glycemic carbohydrate consumption can be catastrophic.Eating foods with a low glycemic rating can not only help you manage your Type 2 diabetes, but improve your blood sugar levels and enable you to achieve your weight loss goals. Eating carbohydrate foods low on the glycemic index can reduce inflammation greatly, which is another key player in controlling diabetes.
There are pertinent factors that determine the answer to the question “What are carbohydrates?”, in that a particular food’s glycemic index rating and carbohydrate amount varies based on a few key elements. Highly processed and refined carbohydrate foods, that remove much of the fibrous content, are harder on your blood sugar levels and thus, higher on the glycemic index.
Eating whole grains in moderation is an excellent way to weave carbohydrates into your diet as a diabetic without spiking blood sugar and insulin levels. The more fiber food has, the less of a digestible source of carbohydrates it contains, which slows its digestion and absorption to maintain optimal blood sugar dispersion.
Foods containing fats or acid are also much slower to turn into sugar.While fruits and vegetables are far healthier carbohydrate sources than cakes or cookies, overly ripe ones will have a higher glycemic rating and still cause spikes, if not consumed in moderation. Speak with your doctor regarding questions you may have pertinent to your own dietary needs and carbohydrate consumption to work out an eating plan that is best for you.
Dangers of High or Low Blood Sugar
Signs and Symptoms
To build on the question “What are carbohydrates?”, and explain why they can have such an impact on diabetes, it is crucial to understand the risks involved with allowing your blood sugar levels to elevate abnormally or drop consistently. Not only can you become very ill when your blood sugar spikes or lowers suddenly, but this state can worsen your diabetes, and sometimes cause a grave medical emergency.
Symptoms of high blood sugar include exhaustion, extreme thirst, blurred vision, weight loss, and frequent bathroom use. You may also have intense stomach upset including nausea and vomiting. Some individuals experiencing high blood sugar lose consciousness. Signs of low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, include shakiness, confusion, mood swings, extreme hunger, and exhaustion. You could begin to sweat, have a headache, and eventually experience a seizure or pass out.
Understanding the Difference
The query “What are carbohydrates?”, is accompanied by the realization that consuming too much of the wrong kind or ingesting high-glycemic sources could cause your blood sugar to hit very dangerous levels. If your blood sugar is tested and stays above 240, this is considered very high. High blood sugar may develop slowly, caused by insufficient insulin production. If you check your blood sugar twice, and it is above 300, call your physician immediately. You may require alterations to your insulin shots and/or diabetes pills.
A reconfiguration of your eating plan to balance your carbohydrate intake may also be in order.If you are consuming too many high-glycemic carbohydrates, you will eventually wear your pancreas down to the point that it does not disperse the necessary insulin, resulting in high blood sugar. Alternatively, if you have too much insulin production from excess carbohydrate or sugar consumption, your blood sugar may drop too low.
Low blood sugar usually comes on and worsens very quickly if not attended to at once. In the immediate sense, your most important course of action is to get your levels back to normal so you do not escalate or pass out. Often, with low blood sugar episodes, it is necessary to eat a little of a sugary carbohydrate food or drink to get your levels balanced in the short-term. Orange juice, milk, and hard candy are a few examples. You might have glucose tablets on hand as well.
Determining “What are carbohydrates?” is not inherently complicated. The various compound makeups of simple and complex carbohydrates affect your diabetes by either elevating, lowering, or balancing your blood sugar levels. Choosing carbohydrate food sources that are on the lower end of the glycemic index is a great place to start when configuring a diet to manage your diabetes. Speak with your doctor regarding an eating plan that is best for you to balance your blood sugar levels and maintain optimal energy and vitality.