I have recently been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic, and whilst not completely followng this diet, I am using some of the recipes and guidelines, which I am finding really helpful. I have cut right down on potatoes, pasta, cereals, processed meats, too much fruit (especially those considered as tropical fruits, like bananas, mangoes, grapes etc), flavoured yoghurts, etc. I have never had a particulalry sweet tooth so don’t normally eat biscuits, cakes, sweets etc. . I am not too concerned about losing weight, but really want to get my blood sugar levels down. I now read labels on everything I buy and try to take note of the carbohydrate content (particularly the bit that says ‘of which sugars’). My question is, how do I know what is a high level of carbs/sugar and what is acceptable? Is there some sort of magic figure I should be looking for? Sorry if this seems a daft question, but I look at things and think ‘is that high? Is that ok? so I really need some advice! Thanks in advance. 🙂
Your question is not ‘daft’ at all, but unfortunately it is not as simple as a magic figure.
The amount of carbohydrate in a food item depends on the concentration and on the portion size. The effect on your blood glucose depends on how that food is processed, how it is cooked or prepared, what other foods it is eaten with and other factors. Nutrition tables and ingredients lists are best used to compare one food to another in the same group, and thus make healthy swaps.**
Are you testing and recording your blood glucose regularly? Have you been completing and analysing your detailed food and symptom diary (p.187)? What have you been advised to eat or to avoid eating by health professionals (diagnosing doctor/ diabetic nurse/ registered dietician/ NHS leaflet)?
The purpose of removing foods in several stages (p.190) and reintroducing them slowly (p.194) is to identify those that are problematic for you. The detailed food and symptom diary “will help you be systematic and focussed in your approach” (p. 188). Given how well you have done so far, you might now use your diary to monitor the effect of individual foods, or of healthy swaps **, or compare different methods of preparation (eg. raw/ lightly steamed/ blended/ long slow cooked).
Be aware that some groups of moderate carb or higher carb foods (eg. wholegrains/ beans/ lentils) are rich in minerals, soluble and insoluble fibre. It is very easy for a lower carbohydrate diet to become restrictive, imbalanced or low in certain nutrients. Your detailed food diary helps you and health professionals check whether your new diet is properly balanced and varied.
** So you might …
Replace white potatoes with other root vegetables (eg. carrot, celeriac)
Replace baked beans with other pulses (eg. kidney beans, edamame)
Replace sweetcorn with other yellow veggies (eg. bell pepper, baby corn)
Replace red or black grapes with other dark fruit (eg. raspberries, blackberries)
Replace white pasta with other grains (pot barley, wild rice).
And so on.