Carbohydrate vs. Sugar
Q. I have Diabetes and I'm confused about the difference between carbohydrate and sugar. Can you explain?
A. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates come in a variety of forms including sugar, complex carbohydrates, and fiber.
So what is the difference between carbohydrate and sugar?
Sugar is a carbohydrate. There are 3 main sources of calories your body can use for energy: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Carbohydrates are your body’s favorite source of energy. There are 3 groups of carbohydrates.
What are complex carbohydrates?
Complex carbohydrates are complex in structure and take longer to breakdown in the body. Examples
include starch found in potatoes or peas.
What are simple carbohydrates?
Simple carbohydrates are fairly simple in structure and easily broken down. Table sugar, sugar in milk, and sugar in fruit are examples.
What about fiber?
Fiber is very complex and cannot be broken down by the digestive tract. Fiber aids in weight loss
and delaying sugar absorption into the bloodstream.
Are there different types of fiber?
There are 2 types of fiber. Soluble fiber is fiber that can be dissolved in water; examples include oats and apples.
Insoluble fiber is fiber that cannot be dissolved in water; examples include wheat bran, strings in celery, and seeds on strawberries.
What about Diabetes and carbohydrates?
Those with Diabetes need to monitor carbohydrates in their diet. Monitor the amounts of
carbohydrates you have throughout the day. Optimal blood sugar levels can be achieved in
part by controlling carbohydrate portions.
Christine Carlson, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE
GlucoMenu® Nutrition Director
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