Surprising Carbs

DessertWhen you are trying to keep your blood sugar levels down, the natural first step is in limiting bread, pasta and cake—all those “desirable and tempting” foods.  Carbs can actually lurk in other less obvious places and it would be advisable to know that when you’re counting those carbs. There are 10 common foods have surprising amounts of carbs that you should be aware of.  

Most people with diabetes aim for 45-60 grams of carbs per meal, but you should discuss this with your doctor or diabetes educator to find out the right amount of carbs that is best for you. The following are foods that might surprise you with their carbs:

  • Milk substitutes.  Soymilk and almond milk are great for lactose-intolerant people but watch out for the flavored varieties that tend to have more sugar.  A cup of vanilla almond milk has 16 grams and a cup of chocolate soymilk has 23 grams, compared to plain soymilk that has about 12 grams of carbs.
  • Yogurt.  A good source of calcium and good-for-you bacteria, but some low-fat, fruit-flavored varieties have close to 40 grams of carbs for an 8-ounce serving.  Try that Greek yogurt that you find in the plain, no-fat variety that has about 9 grams of carbs and packs more protein than the regular stuff.
  • Baked Beans.  One cup of canned baked beans has a striking 54 grams of carbs (a whole carb budget for one meal).  They do provide that desired protein and fiber but limit yourself to just ½ cup serving.
  • Tomato sauce.  Watch for the sauce that comes in a jar as you can bet there’s added sugar and carbs (about 12 grams per ½ cup).  Check those nutrition facts as well as the sodium.
  • Salad dressing.  No matter which kind you choose you can bet it contains some sugar. Check those labels or consider making your own. Be careful with the amount you drizzle on that salad.
  • Barbeque sauce.  Check that portion again.  One tablespoon will cost you about 7 grams of carbs.  If you keep dipping you could consume ½ cup and will have eaten 58 grams of carbs from the sauce.
  • Orange chicken.  Both oranges and chicken are healthy, but an order of Chinese orange chicken has 146 grams of carb. Skip the battered Chinese dish the next time you order and get something steamed.
  • Split pea soup.  You’ll be getting a hefty amount of carbs (26 grams per cup) because peas are a starchy veggie.  Soups also have a lot of salt, so choose that reduced-sodium variety.
  • Sugar-free cookies.  Well, sugar-free does not equal carb-free.  Some of these cookies have nearly as many carbs per serving as the regular cookies.
  • Protein bars.  When you hear high-protein, it doesn’t mean low-carb.  Many of these bars are aimed at athletes who need that extra energy have plenty of both, carbs and protein.  Try a banana with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter instead!

And remember…if you’re fighting a cancer diagnosis, cancer loves and thrives on sugar.

Dr Fredda Branyon