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Confused - Carbs and what to eat

Discussion in 'Prediabetes' started by nannyof3, Mar 1, 2019.

  1. nannyof3

    nannyof3 · Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    I am obviously here because i've just been diagnosed prediabetic, i am awfully confused on what i should and shouldn't be consuming and i know there is a wealth of information on this forum and over the web but i would really like to ask my questions so i can get my head clear.

    I'll try and keep my questions as simple and brief as possible:

    1. What carbs can i eat?
    2. What do i mix carbs with to get that balanced diet people talk about, especially as i am a vegetarian?
    3. What portion sizes should i be aiming for?

    It's really upsetting me because i am looking at the foods in the kitchen and i'm confused on what i should be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Thank you very much
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  2. Pipp

    Pipp Type 2 · Expert
    Retired Moderator

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    Hello @nannyof3 . Welcome.
    Don’t be too upset, you have come to the right place, and you can turn this around.
    What carbs can you eat? Reduce as much as possible. Sugar would be the obvious first thing to eliminate, but potatoes, pasta, and rice, breakfast cereal and bread are all high carb, so reducing amounts of these, or even removing them altogether would help . Instead I use celeriac for potato, courgettes instead of pasta, and halloumi fries instead of potato chips. If you tell us the sort of things you eat now, we can suggest low carb alternatives, and I am sure some of our vegetarian members will be along with ideas.

    I have tagged @daisy1 , who posts info for new members. That will appear here soon. In the meantime, have a read round the sub-forums. This one may be particularly useful for you.
  3. lucylocket61

    lucylocket61 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    there is a section here: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/category/vegetarian-diet-forum.71/ which may have some answers for you? Welcome to the forum.
  4. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    In addition to the great links Pipp gave you can I suggest you take a good look at low carb high fat methods. It helps many of us lose significant amounts of weight, keep our numbers down and for some even eliminate medications and achieve remission.

    https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/blog/jokalsbeek.401801/ for info including low carb made simple

    And https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/category/success-stories-and-testimonials.43/ to show it really works

    and https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/what-have-you-eaten-today.75781/ for food ideas

    also https://www.dietdoctor.com/ for more food ideas and general info of carb content of foods. Lots of other websites for recipes out there too. Just use the term low carb or keto with whatever you fancy.

    IMPORTANT: if you lower your carbs then any glucose lowering meds may need to be adjusted accordingly to make sure you aren’t taking more than your new diet requires. It can cause a hypo if you have more gliclazide or insulin than your carb intake requires. Ideally do this with your dr. Please don’t be put off by an ill informed out dated rubbishing of low carb diets or being told you should eat carbs to match meds. It’s the other way round!
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  5. LittleGreyCat

    LittleGreyCat Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    You could start from the position that you don't need to eat any carbs because they are not essential.
    Then consider vegetables grown above ground (but not grains). Sweetcorn and cornflour are not that good either.
    Eggs, cheese, butter, are all good staples.
    My personal view is that diet advice which includes "healthy carbs and wholemeal grains" is out of date and misguided.

    The main message is Don't Panic!!!

    It will take weeks if not months to get a full grasp of what is good to eat and what is not so good.
    Don't worry if you find out that you have made a mistake or two. Everybody does and it isn't the end of the world. You will learn, and then you will settle into a sensible way of eating which suits your palate and your lifestyle.

    I sometimes twitch a bit at some of the things I did with massive enthusiasm on first diagnosis, such as eating big bowls of muesli with lots of fruit because it was "healthy". Likewise drinking lots of orange juice for the same reason. Then it was explained to me that these things were loaded with sugars and weren't really that healthy for me. Oops!

    Take it in easy, small steps and post what you are eating and thinking of eating on here. You will get loads of advice, some of it even good. :)
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  6. annie07

    annie07 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum - a new diagnosis can be very scary and confusing but you are in good hands here. As others have said - the lower the carbs, the better, but remember it is a marathon not a sprint and don't worry if it takes you time to get used to everything. It's a big life change. A good starting point may be to Google "keto vegetarian recipes" for things you can eat!

    Also tagging @JoKalsbeek for her useful nutrition factsheet - some of it will not be relevant to you as a vegetarian but there is some useful info in it that you may like to read.

    Don't panic and know that diabetes is controllable and you have already made the best possible step forward by asking for help.
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  7. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    For a biological omnivore governed by an ethical vegetarian, there can be problems.
    There is only so much starch and sugar a type two diabetic can cope with at any particular time, my personal limit is 10 percent carbs in order to avoid spikes, simply as that is self limiting, the bulk of the food makes it unlikely that I'd over eat.Perhaps the best way to start would be to seek out protein sources with low carbs - I notice that some things made from Quorn have carbs added in the processing.
    Fat sources - low in Omega 6 is thought a good idea, so avoid sunflower, corn and various other plant based oils.
    Carbs from salad stuff are what I go for, but weighed out portions of higher starch or sugar foods could be OK - many say no sugar - but as starch is converted to sugar as soon as you start to chew I don't see the difference between the two as foods.
  8. daisy1

    daisy1 Type 2 · Legend
    Retired Moderator

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    Hello and welcome to the Forum :) Here is the Basic Information we give to new members and I hope you will find it both interesting and helpful.


    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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