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Carbs + Sugar Confusion

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by CrazyCatLady2693, Aug 28, 2018.

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  1. CrazyCatLady2693

    CrazyCatLady2693 Type 2 · Member

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    Hi, I have some questions and wondered if anybody would be kind enough to clarify a few things for me as looking online is just adding to my confusion!

    I was diagnosed last September with a HbA1c of 51. They were not completely sure what type I have, thinking it is genetic, possibly affected by previous strong medications and that I have several other autoimmune issues, but they are treating it as type 2. I am on Metformin which has been increased to four 500mg pills a day. I have also made a lot of dietary changes and have lost 4 stone since diagnosis and got my HbA1c down to 37. I don't self test.

    My confusion is around carbs and sugar. Some things I read say carbs are better because they are slow release energy compared to particularly sugary foods which cause more of a high then crash, but I see so much focus on 'low carb' diets, which make me feel like I'm doing something wrong. Sorry this has probably been answered many times before but I'm having trouble finding direct answers to my questions and feel like I need someone to answer in a more personal way with my HbA1c now being in normal range etc..

    I've read the 'normal' recommended sugar intake allowance per day is around 25g for women but wondered if there is a 'norm' for diabetics? Obviously cutting out as much bad sugar as possible is ideal.. is there a 'don't eat if over X amount per 100g' for example?

    Thank you in advance! :)
     
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  2. Rokaab

    Rokaab Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    As a diabetic it is carbs that matter not just the 'of which sugars', many type 2's have done very well on low carb (note the important word of carb), but it differs from person to person as to how much they can cope with and the only thing that can tell you how much you can deal with is testing, testing and unfortunately more testing.

    In other words, ignore the sugars bit, just look at the total carb value and test test test - though getting your Hba1C to 37 is good :)
     
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  3. britishpub

    britishpub Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    Sugar is a Carbohydrate.

    All Carbohydrates turn into glucose after we eat them. Different types of Carbohydrate will turn into glucose at different speeds, depending on their makeup.

    If you read @daisy1 post on this topic you will get a better idea.

    It should magically appear in this thread, as @daisy1 has super human powers.
     
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  4. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    Obviously you are doing things right as you have got your A1c down to nonD numbers (congratulations!).

    Basically, sugar is a carbohydrate. There are what I call fast carbs i.e those in fruit juices and there are slower carbs, those in low numbers that come alongside fibres and/or fats. Perhaps you should look at the insulin index or read up on foods said to have a lower glycemic load for further information. Whatever you decide, keep doing what you are doing because it has done you favours so far.
     
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  5. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    For me all the GI an GL figures are irrelevant - I digest carbs and they turn up either in my blood, in my liver or as fat - all bad news.
    I stick to the lowest carb options for vegetables and fruits, make 10 percent the absolute maximum with a get out clause for high cocoa chocolate as I eat it one square as a serving.
    The normal need for sugar is zero - the amount of carbs required in a healthy sustainable diet is also zero, but few people cannot tolerate a few carbs, so I pick the tastiest.
    I did have the advantage of testing, so I know that legumes spike me more than carbs from other sources, and of course such things as grains, potatoes and other high carb foods are not on my menu.
     
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  6. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Expert
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    Hello @CrazyCatLady2693 The recommended amount for each of us will of course be different. To me carbs are carbs, I ignore sugar. I know I cannot eat more than so many carbs in one go as my levels will spike for higher and longer than other times, so I end up taking correction doses or having to increase my bolus simply to cope with the extra carbs I eat so I try and minimise the max carbs I eat at any one meal time to less than 30g, most meal times however I will eat between 15-30g. I do still eat pizza/take-aways/restaurants but limit the times I do it as I know i'll pay the price for it afterwards.

    It's very much influenced by what my glucose meter says though, as my results will change throughout the day/month, so mornings are the worst time to eat carbs and early afternoon/evening is better for me. I also try and eat carbs when I know I am going to be active so my insulin will manage it better.
     
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  7. daisy1

    daisy1 Type 2 · Legend

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    @CrazyCatLady2693

    Hello and welcome to the Forum :) Here is the Basic Information we give to new members and I hope you will find it useful. Ask as many questions as you need to and someone will try and help.


    BASIC INFORMATION FOR NEW MEMBERS

    Diabetes is the general term to describe people who have blood that is sweeter than normal. A number of different types of diabetes exist.

    A diagnosis of diabetes tends to be a big shock for most of us. It’s far from the end of the world though and on this forum you'll find well over 235,000 people who are demonstrating this.

    On the forum we have found that with the number of new people being diagnosed with diabetes each day, sometimes the NHS is not being able to give all the advice it would perhaps like to deliver - particularly with regards to people with type 2 diabetes.

    The role of carbohydrate

    Carbohydrates are a factor in diabetes because they ultimately break down into sugar (glucose) within our blood. We then need enough insulin to either convert the blood sugar into energy for our body, or to store the blood sugar as body fat.

    If the amount of carbohydrate we take in is more than our body’s own (or injected) insulin can cope with, then our blood sugar will rise.

    The bad news

    Research indicates that raised blood sugar levels over a period of years can lead to organ damage, commonly referred to as diabetic complications.

    The good news

    People on the forum here have shown that there is plenty of opportunity to keep blood sugar levels from going too high. It’s a daily task but it’s within our reach and it’s well worth the effort.

    Controlling your carbs

    The info below is primarily aimed at people with type 2 diabetes, however, it may also be of benefit for other types of diabetes as well.

    There are two approaches to controlling your carbs:
    • Reduce your carbohydrate intake
    • Choose ‘better’ carbohydrates
    Reduce your carbohydrates

    A large number of people on this forum have chosen to reduce the amount of carbohydrates they eat as they have found this to be an effective way of improving (lowering) their blood sugar levels.

    The carbohydrates which tend to have the most pronounced effect on blood sugar levels tend to be starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and similar root vegetables, flour based products (pastry, cakes, biscuits, battered food etc) and certain fruits.

    Choosing better carbohydrates

    The low glycaemic index diet is often favoured by healthcare professionals but some people with diabetes find that low GI does not help their blood sugar enough and may wish to cut out these foods altogether.

    Read more on carbohydrates and diabetes.

    Over 145,000 people have taken part in the Low Carb Program - a 10 week structured education course that is helping people lose weight and reduce medication dependency by explaining the science behind carbs, insulin and GI.

    Eating what works for you

    Different people respond differently to different types of food. What works for one person may not work so well for another. The best way to see which foods are working for you is to test your blood sugar with a glucose meter.

    To be able to see what effect a particular type of food or meal has on your blood sugar is to do a test before the meal and then test after the meal. A test 2 hours after the meal gives a good idea of how your body has reacted to the meal.

    The blood sugar ranges recommended by NICE are as follows:

    Blood glucose ranges for type 2 diabetes
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 8.5 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (adults)
    • Before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 9 mmol/l
    Blood glucose ranges for type 1 diabetes (children)
    • Before meals: 4 to 8 mmol/l
    • 2 hours after meals: under 10 mmol/l
    However, those that are able to, may wish to keep blood sugar levels below the NICE after meal targets.

    Access to blood glucose test strips

    The NICE guidelines suggest that people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be offered:
    • structured education to every person and/or their carer at and around the time of diagnosis, with annual reinforcement and review
    • self-monitoring of plasma glucose to a person newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes only as an integral part of his or her self-management education

    Therefore both structured education and self-monitoring of blood glucose should be offered to people with type 2 diabetes. Read more on getting access to blood glucose testing supplies.

    You may also be interested to read questions to ask at a diabetic clinic.

    Note: This post has been edited from Sue/Ken's post to include up to date information.
    Take part in Diabetes.co.uk digital education programs and improve your understanding. Most of these are free.

    • Low Carb Program - it's made front-page news of the New Scientist and The Times. Developed with 20,000 people with type 2 diabetes; 96% of people who take part recommend it... find out why

    • Hypo Program - improve your understanding of hypos. There's a version for people with diabetes, parents/guardians of children with type 1, children with type 1 diabetes, teachers and HCPs.
     
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  8. britishpub

    britishpub Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You see daisy1 does have super human powers.

    She manages to type the same post over and over and never makes a mistake.

    Amazing.
     
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  9. Santa_Fe

    Santa_Fe Type 2 · Newbie

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  10. Pinkorchid

    Pinkorchid Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Wow you have done really well with your weight loss and HbA1c levels down to non diabetic many will be envious so congratulations Whatever you are doing it is working so keep it up and I do not think you are doing anything wrong just keep away from sugar stuff
     
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  11. CrazyCatLady2693

    CrazyCatLady2693 Type 2 · Member

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    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has replied to this, it's been interesting and informative to read (also thank you for the encouragement and kind words :happy:)

    @Rokaab and @daisy1 you both mention testing. Is this something I should be doing as its not been offered by my diabetic nurse or doctor? If I can keep my HbA1c in the non diabetic range is it necessary to self test? Currently my HbA1c is now only being tested every 6 months :confused:
     
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  12. bulkbiker

    bulkbiker Type 2 · Oracle

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    A lot of us find that by testing we can keep an eye on things regularly.. (I test at lest twice and often 3-4 times a day) only usually eating one meal. In the early days I tested far more often to see what foods were doing to my blood sugar and deleting those that were causing spikes. By following that method it becomes easier to keep sugars stable and not get nasty surprises come HbA1c time.
     
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  13. Gyorgy_Jaros

    Gyorgy_Jaros Researcher · Newbie

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    Hoping that this might help with the confusion:

    Carbohydrates we eat, with the exception of milk carbohydrates, are long chains that are broken down to glucose. The glucose is absorbed into the blood and becomes available for energy production in the body. Sugar is also a carbohydrate: a 50-50 combination of glucose and fructose, the latter having no direct energy providing role, and being handled by the body differently from the former. It is taken up by the liver and turned into certain kinds of fatty substances that can cause insulin resistance, among other things. The liver can convert a small protion of fructose consumed into glucose, but this amount is well below the amount one consumes nowadays.

    Thus, while there are other factors as well, the fructose part of sugar actually causes insulin resistance, which is a precursor of Type II diabetes. Glucose and other carbohydrates do not cause insulin resistance, but they convert it into prediabetes, and eventually Type II diabetes, through their insulin stimulating activity. The pancreas eventually fails to deliver any insulin at all and, therefore the condition becomes a fully blown Type II diabetes. Therefore, the main reason for avoiding sugar is to prevent the development of insulin resistance. It has nothing to do with calories, glycaemic rates or loading, HbA1C, or even with rates of absorption.
    Regard sugar as medicine, like all medicines, may be acceptable in very small concentrations, but can be a poison in large concentrations.
     
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  14. milesrf

    milesrf Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    The old idea that the length of carbohydrate chains always made the longer chains slower to digest has been shown to be incorrect. The types of links between the simple sugars in the chains has much more effect on the speed of digestion. Each type of digestive enzyme for carbohydrates can usually break only one of these types of links, but is not restricted to doing it only at the ends of the chains. Therefore, most of the common types of starches digest about as fast as table sugar.

    Cellulose is a type of carbohydrate most easily found in wood. Humans and multi-cell animals don't produce the type of enzyme needed to break its links. Some bacteria do produce the right enzyme, so some animals maintain colonies of these bacteria and are therefore able to digest cellulose with help from the bacteria. Some of the animals doing this are termites, rabbits, and cattle.

    Lactose is the main milk carbohydrate. Babies of all races produce a suitable enzyme for breaking its link. People of mainly European ancestry usually continue to produce this enzyme as adults. People with ancestry mainly from other continents usually no longer produce this enzyme as adults, and therefore have health problems with high use of dairy products.
     
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  15. LucyL 2

    LucyL 2 Type 2 · Member

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    You have lost 4 stone and your levels are down to 37. You are clearly doing something very right. Well done you!!!!!!! Your next test will be very soon. Perhaps see where you are then before changing anything. But it seems you are already in control here.
     
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  16. Pinkorchid

    Pinkorchid Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    It is highly unlikely that your doctor or nurse will supply you with the blood testing strips on prescription most will say T2's do not need to test. Most here who do test their blood buy their own meters and strips. Some here test a lot some maybe 2/3 times a week and some do not test at all it is just a personal thing. You are doing really well so just carry on doing what you are doing
     
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  17. Daibell

    Daibell LADA · Master

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    Hi. As another poster has said you don't typically need any carbs 'for energy' as the body can get all the energy (glucose) from the fats and proteins you eat unless you exercise a lot. Just keep the carbs down, have high fibre ones when you can and have enough proteins and fats to keep you feeling full. Note that sugar is an empty carb with no real food value so best to avoid it where you can.
     
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  18. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    I am just nitpicking - but all that effort to get a B.Sc degree doesn't go away....
    Carbs are all the starches and sugars, and the invented ones such as polyols.
    Sugars are the smaller molecules, sucrose, lactose, dextrose are double molecules, glucose fructose galactose are single molecules. Some taste sweeter than others - it depends on how well they fit into the tasting 'docks' of our tongues.
    Energy is not glucose - we can use fats as ketones for energy - our brain can use ketones, but the liver stores instant release glucose for those times when we really need to sprint to catch the bus or avoid the lions.
     
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  19. CrazyCatLady2693

    CrazyCatLady2693 Type 2 · Member

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    Thank you again to those who have replied, it's been very informative and encouraging :happy:
     
  20. SaskiaKC

    SaskiaKC Type 2 · Expert

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    So then, looking at the carb content and sugar content on the nutrition information panel on any food item, do I just pay attention to the carbs and not the sugar? Or do I add the grams of sugar to the grams of carbs? Or subtract the grams of sugar from the grams of carbs?
     
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