Choosing a carbohydrate is confusing, and there are many differing views on how much and how often you can eat them – or whether to eat them at all.
The good news is that carbohydrates are not off limits for people living with diabetes.
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy in the form of glucose, but too much glucose in the blood is a problem for people with diabetes. Some people require more carbohydrates for energy, such as those that are more active, younger, male or who are trying to gain weight. Other people require less carbohydrates for energy, such as those that are less active, older, female or who are trying to lose weight.
Carbohydrates can and should be part of a healthy, balanced diet and one of the easiest – and tastiest – carbohydrates around is bread.
It is true that you need to choose wisely – not all breads are created equal – so here are a few tips and suggestions to help you choose the right loaf.
- Choose a bread that is high in dietary fibre. Look for one that has at least 5 grams of fibre per 100 grams.
- Choose a bread that is low on the glycaemic index (GI) scale, that is has a score of 55 or less.
- Choose a wholegrain bread. These breads have whole grains and sometimes seeds added to wholemeal flour. Don’t be fooled by multigrain breads as sometimes these are just white bread with grains thrown in – always read the label.
- Watch out for wraps and flatbreads – just because they are flat doesn’t mean they are healthier. Some wraps have four times the carbohydrates than a regular slice of bread.
Some options you might like to consider include Tip Top 9 Grain, Helga’s Wholemeal Grain, Abbott’s Grainy Wholemeal and Burgen Soya & Linseed.
So how much bread can you eat if you are living with diabetes? There is no easy answer to that question!
We suggest a small to moderate amount of carbohydrate food be eaten over the day. This may be in the form of bread or it may be another type of carbohydrate, such as cereals, potato, corn, rice, pasta, noodles, fruit, milk or yoghurt.
You could have bread three times a day if you had, for example two pieces of toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a bread roll with meat and salad for dinner.
On other days, you may not eat any bread at all because you prefer to eat other sources of carbohydrate instead. The table below shows some different options for how you could have some carbohydrate containing food at each meal.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast||Toast||Cereal & milk||Fruit & yoghurt|
|Dinner||Bread roll||Roast with potato||Pasta meal|