I have just been diagnosed with diabetes. Does this mean I have to give up carbs?

Video Transcript

Welcome to “A Virtual Q&A with Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacists”! Join our pharmacists as they answer your questions on various health and medication topics.

I have just been diagnosed with diabetes. Does this mean I have to give up carbs?

The short and sweet answer is no. If you have diabetes, you can still eat foods that contain carbohydrates. Having diabetes means managing the type and the amount of carbohydrate that you eat. A carbohydrate is a nutrient that provides your body with energy. There are three types of carbohydrates: simple sugars, starch, and fiber. Simple sugars and starches raise your blood sugar levels, but fiber does not. Simple sugars are quickly digested in the body and therefore, produce quick increases in blood sugar levels. Examples include both white and brown sugar, honey, syrup, and agave. Starch is the digestible part of plants and is made up of long chains of simple sugars. Starch is digested into simple sugars and therefore, can raise our blood sugar levels. Examples include starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, yam, oats, pastas, and breads. Then onto fiber, it is the non-digestible part of plants. Fiber slows down the digestion of other simple sugars and starches as can help to prevent large spikes in our blood sugars. Foods that are high in fiber include fruits and vegetables, whole grains like quinoa, steel-cut oats, barley, brown rice, nuts and seeds, and finally, legumes. It’s important to know that most foods actually contain multiple types of carbohydrate. When you have diabetes, you will want to include carbohydrates that are high in fiber most often. We will want to be mindful about our portion sizes of carbohydrates at each meal, and always try to pair these foods with a source of protein. For example, tofu, fish, chicken, and so on. And we can bump up the fiber even more, by adding a generous serving or two of non-starchy vegetables. Every person’s response to carbohydrate is different. And this is where working one-on-one with a registered dietitian can be extremely valuable. If you would like to chat with one of our dietitians, you can book a free 15-minute call at shoppersdrugmart.ca/dietitians.

Get to know your virtual dietitian and discuss how we can support your unique nutrition needs. Visit shoppersdrugmart.ca/dietitians to learn more.

For questions about diet, nutrition and personalized support, our registered dietitians will work with you to build a plan that helps empower you to create life-long changes and healthier eating habits.

The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.

The information included in this recording is correct as of May 18th, 2021