The normal foods that we associate carbs with are bread, pasta and cake. We avoid these to keep the blood sugar level down. Carbs, however, can lurk in many less obvious places that we need to be aware of when counting carbs.
Most people with diabetes aim for 45-60 grams of carbs per meal; however, each person needs to discuss this with your doctor to learn the correct amount of carbs for you.
Surprising sources of carbs are:
1. Milk substitutes
Great options are organic soymilk and almond milk for those who are lactose-intolerant. Watch for the flavored varieties that have more sugar. Vanilla almond milk has 16 grams of carbs and a cup of chocolate soymilk has 23 grams, compared to plain soymilk that has about 12 grams of carbs.
This is a good source of calcium and probiotics but some low-fat, fruit-flavored varieties have upward of 40 grams of carbs for 8 ounces. Try to use organic yogurt.
3. One cup of Canned Baked Beans
Has 54 grams of carbs that could be the entire amount budgeted for one meal. They provide protein and fiber but limit yourself to a ½ cup serving. If possible, it’s actually better to cook your own baked beans rather than eating from a can.
4. Tomato sauce
In a jar, you can count on there being added sugar and carbs. (about 12 grams per ½ cup). Check those nutrition facts and notice that many brands are high in sodium.
5. Salad Dressing
Nearly any bottle you reach for will have added sugar, so check those labels. Try making your own with olive oil and vinegar. Otherwise, a tablespoon or two is unlikely to send your blood sugar soaring, but watch the amount you use.
6. Barbecue Sauce
One tablespoon will cost you about 7 grams of carbs. Limit that dipping and dipping where you might end up with ½ cup and have eaten 59 grams of carbs.
7. Orange Chicken
Each eaten individually is healthy. But orange chicken has 146 grams of carbs. Better skip this dish when ordering at the Chinese restaurant.
8. Split Pea Soup
The starch in peas will yield a hefty 26 grams of carbs per cup along with those other nutrients like fiber. There is usually a lot of added salt in soups, so choose those reduced-sodium varieties.
9. Sugar-free Cookies
Take another look. Just because these are sugar-free it doesn’t mean carb-free. There are nearly as many carbs in sugar-free cookies per serving as their regular counterparts. And let’s not forget to look for what other chemicals are added in order to make it sugar-free but still sweet tasting. Again, check those nutrition labels before making your choice.
10. Protein bars
Many of these bars, especially if aimed at athletes who need that extra energy, have plenty of carbs. Try a banana with 1 tablespoon of almond butter for that healthy snack before your workout. This might be a better option.
Bottom line? Check those nutrition labels as some foods just might surprise you with the amount of carbs they contain.
Dr Fredda Branyon