Carbohydrates are the most important providers of energy for the body.
1 gram of carbohydrates has 4,1 kcal of energy. About 45 – 60% of the daily total energy should come from carbohydrates.
Contrary to fat and protein carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels (except dietary fibres). Digestion of carbohydrates leads to sugar (glucose) which will higher the blood sugar.
Insulin-dependent diabetics have to make sure that the intake of carbohydrates matches the insulin dose to avoid hypo- or hyperglycemia.
The calculation of the carbohydrates is done in some countries like Austria or Germany in Bread Units (BE). But also in other countries carb counting gets more and more popular.
One Bread Unit of a certain food contains about 10 – 12g carbohydrates.
It is useful for diabetics to prefer food which leads only to slow increase of blood sugar – we are talking about Glycemic Index. This Glycemic Index helps to judge different kind of food after its blood sugar increasing effect.
The speed of the increase of blood sugar depends on composition of a meal and now it is prepared. Food low in dietetic fibres or intensively cooked leads to quick increase of blood sugar whereas food which has not be cooked or is rich in fibres leads to slow increase of blood sugar.
Food with high Glycemic Index (75 – 100%): glucose tablets, honey, softdrinks, fruit juices, white bread, starch flour, cornflakes. Food with middle Glycemic Index (50 - 75%): potatoes, rice, noodles, mixed bread, muesli
Food with low Glycemic Index (30 – 50%): whole meal products, vegetables, fruits, legumes, milk products..