Does it sometimes feel like EVERYTHING has sugar in it?
As someone with Type 2 Diabetes, you’re trying your best to eat well to control blood sugar and lower your A1c.
But there are so many “rules” when it comes to nutrition and diabetes, that you might feel like you’ll never figure this out.
They tell you that you have to...
“Cut carbs and sugar”
“Avoid anything white”
“Go on a strict diet”
"Only eat low glycemic foods"
But let me tell you why that is ALL pretty crappy information - and show you a better way so that you can lower your A1c with your diet controlling your life.
In this article, I will also share a list of carb foods that stabilize your blood sugar.
Because my goal is to help you control diabetes - not the other way around.
Understanding how to stabilize blood sugar with food
Understanding how to stabilize blood sugar through food is the single most important part of managing Type 2 Diabetes. And it doesn’t have to be so complicated.
You may have heard that to lower your A1c and control blood sugars, you need to eat low glycemic foods (aka foods with a low glycemic index value). But what does that look like in YOUR life?
It’s not just about cutting out carbohydrate-containing foods.
To truly live a healthy life, choose wholesome carb foods in a well-balanced eating pattern. One tool for choosing healthy carb foods is the glycemic index.
Let’s simplify the glycemic index AND choose carb foods that will stabilize your blood sugar. If you want to learn more about how many carbs you should eat in a day, check out this blog article or even this YouTube video where I cover that topic in depth.
What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?
The GI shows you how a certain food or ingredient will affect you by indicating how much it will raise your blood sugar. The higher the GI value, the higher the food is likely to raise your blood sugar.
Foods that contain no carbs, of course, have a glycemic index value of ZERO.
What makes a food higher or lower glycemic?
The more fiber, protein, fat, and other nutrients the food contains, the lower its GI value will be.
Even if a food has moderate to high carbohydrate content, it can be low glycemic.
For example, a slice of whole grain bread contains fiber, a little fat, and a little protein along with essential vitamins and minerals; this has a lower GI value than a slice of white bread.
An apple has a lower GI value than applesauce, which has the fiber stripped out during processing.
This means that foods high in total nutrition will increase blood sugar less than those carb foods that have poor nutritional value.
Are you noticing a trend here? The more wholesome nutritious foods have a lower GI value. Compare this to my previous blog post about choosing wholesome foods to control blood sugar and weight. You’ll notice that choosing nutritious foods is KEY to controlling blood sugar and maintaining a lower A1c.
How to use this information to make confident food choices
The fallback of using this system? It’s just one perspective of the effect of a food!
There are many things that change how a certain food will affect your blood sugar.
For example, what you also eat or drink alongside a food will alter how it affects your blood sugar. If you have 1 cup of white noodles (high glycemic) alongside a chicken breast and cheese (low glycemic), you decrease the effect of that carb food on your blood sugar.
Additionally, roasting potatoes (relatively high glycemic) skin-on with a little oil and having alongside roast beef changes the effect on blood sugar drastically from having potatoes alone.
So just going by GI score isn’t completely reliable. It is a helpful tool, but understanding how different nutrients affect blood sugar (by raising OR stabilizing) is more important in finding an overall healthful diet that you can stick to and thrive on.
Remember, just because something has a low GI score, doesn’t mean it's “healthy”.
How to make stabilizing food choices
Choose balanced meals to ensure that you’re giving your body what it needs. This includes wholesome carbohydrate-containing foods (cutting these out completely will lead to nutrient deficiencies, hindering reversal of diabetes symptoms long term).
Wholesome carbs are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and often contain protein. Things like whole grains, fruits, legumes and pulses, starchy veggies. Remember to structure these into meals and snacks alongside low glycemic foods such as meats and cheeses, non-starchy vegetables, and good fats.
But what does all this look like in your life?
I teach my Drop Diabetes program clients to eat well from every aspect of nutrition. I help them lower their A1c out of diabetes range with long-lasting results by giving them the knowledge and skills to succeed, as well as support in making the changes that work for them.
So they no longer need to second-guess themselves and cut out their favorite foods, and instead can lower their A1c (and stick to it) without feeling restricted.
If you’d like to learn more about the Drop Diabetes program and see if you’re a good fit, check out this free training video.
All of that being said, here is a list of carb foods that will STABILIZE your blood sugar
High fiber fruits (berries, pears, etc.)
Whole grains (things like whole-grain pasta, bread, oats alongside a protein and fiber food -> note that "keto" breads are not as wholesome and are usually highly processed)
Nuts and seeds (chia seeds in oatmeal, mixed nuts for snacks)
Non-starchy veggies (eat plenty of these!)
Meats and cheeses (always have a protein-rich food alongside a carb food!)
Want more specific examples and ideas? I give you more in this free training video.
Examples of HIGH glycemic foods:
LOW glycemic alternatives, or adaptations
Potatoes -> Potatoes w/ skins + non-starchy veggie
White pasta -> Edamame OR Red Lentil pasta
Granola bars -> Kind Nut Bars
White flour products -> 100% whole grain products
Lower fiber fruits -> High fiber fruits OR lower fiber fruits
Instant oatmeal -> Rolled oats, bran cereal, Muesli