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Diabetes

More About Carbs

More About Carbs
Author
Lark Team

We are passionate about providing scalable virtual care. We pioneered the use of AI for better health. Combining the power of data, behavior change science, and smart devices, Lark’s digital platform provides scalable, personalized coaching 24/7 to help people manage or prevent chronic disease.

Session Focus


Understanding carbohydrates can help you prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

This session we will talk about:

  • The link between carbs and type 2 diabetes
  • Types of carbs
  • A healthy approach to carbs
  • How to find the amount of carbs in food

You will also make a new action plan!

Tips:

Instead of choosing white rice, try barley or brown rice.
Instead of choosing apple pie, try stewed apple with cinnamon.

Types of Carbs


There are three main types of carbs:

  1. Starches
  2. Sugars
  3. Fiber

1. Starchy foods include:

  • Starchy veggies
  • Beans, peas, and lentils
  • Grain foods

Starchy veggies include:

  • Corn
  • Green peas
  • Parsnips
  • Plantains
  • Potatoes
  • Winter squash
  • Yams

Beans, peas, and lentils include:

  • Black, pinto, and kidney beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • Red, brown, and black lentils
  • Split peas
Whole grains

Grain foods include:

  • Whole grains
  • Refined grains
Whole grain foods include:
  • Barley
  • Bread and other baked goods made with 100% whole wheat flour
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Oats and oatmeal
  • 100% whole grain cereal
  • Pasta made with 100% whole wheat flour
  • Popcorn
  • Tortillas made with 100% whole wheat flour or 100% cornmeal
Refined grain foods include:
  • Bread and other baked goods made with white flour
  • Pasta made with white flour
  • White rice

2. Sugars include:

  • Fruit sugar (fructose)
  • Milk sugar (lactose)
  • White, brown, and powdered sugar „ Corn syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses

3. High-fiber foods include:

  • Beans, peas, and lentils
  • Veggies and fruits—especially ones that have skin or seeds that you eat
  • Nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, and almonds
  • Whole grain foods
Types of Carbs1
Types of Carbs2
Types of Carbs3

Desmond’s Story


Desmond is at risk for type 2 diabetes. His doctor tells him that the more carbs he takes in, the higher his blood sugar will be. So she urges Desmond to take a healthy approach to carbs.

“Try to cut back on carbs,” says Desmond’s doctor. “And when you do have carbs, choose healthy ones.”

Desmond decides to replace:

  • Candy and cake with fruit, such as apples, oranges, and berries
  • Potatoes and corn with non-starchy veggies, such as broccoli, peppers, and carrots
  • White bread with 100% whole wheat bread
  • White rice with brown rice

These days, Desmond is taking a healthy approach to carbs. He uses food labels to find healthy items that meet his carb goals. He is also staying active. As a result, Desmond’s blood sugar is lower.

A Healthy Approach to Carbs


Try to take a healthy approach to carbs. Here’s how.

Make your plate

Carbs should make up one quarter of what you eat.

Choose carbs wisely

When you do have carbs, choose those that are:

Low in calories, fat, and sugar
High in fiber and water
High in vitamins, minerals, and protein

Make healthy swaps

Try these ideas.

Make healthy swaps

Carbs by the Numbers


Read food labels

Reading food labels like the one below is one way to find the amount of carbs in food. Here’s how.

First, look at the serving size. This tells you how much is in one serving of this item.

Next, look at the total carbohydrate. This tells you how many grams of carbs are in one serving of this item.

This container holds three servings. So if you ate the whole container, you would eat three times the carbs.

Other ways to find the amount of carbs in food include:

  • Apps for smart phones or computers
  • Websites
Carbs by the Numbers

One serving of carbs

Each of these items has 15 grams of carbs. That’s one serving.

  • 1 small piece fresh fruit (4 oz)
  • 1⁄2 cup canned or frozen fruit
  • 1 slice bread (1 oz) or 1 (6 inch) tortilla
  • 1⁄2 cup oatmeal
  • 1⁄3 cup pasta or rice
  • 4 to 6 crackers
  • 1⁄2 English muffin or hamburger bun
  • 1⁄2 cup black beans or starchy veggies
  • 1⁄4 large baked potato (3 oz)
  • 2⁄3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 small cookies
  • 2-inch square brownie or cake without frosting
  • 1⁄2 cup ice cream or sherbet
  • 1 Tbsp syrup, jam, jelly, sugar, or honey
  • 2 Tbsp light syrup
  • 6 chicken nuggets
  • 1 cup soup
  • 1⁄4 serving medium fries

My Carbs


Write some of your favorite carbs. Decide if each item is healthy. If it’s not, write a healthy swap you will try.

My Carbs