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Understanding carbs


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Did you know that eating a plate of rice could affect your blood sugar more than two cans of Coke? Or that two pitta bread are the equivalent of 18 teaspoons of sugar?


Understanding carbohydrates (or carbs for short) is an important first step if you want to improve your blood glucose, lose weight or reduce medication.

One recent study looked at the impact of a low carb diet on patients on insulin for type 2 diabetes. 


92% of patients in the study were able to stop their insulin completely, and the average weight loss was 13kg (over 2 stone).


Reducing carb intake works by:

  1. Reducing the amount of glucose circulating in your blood and therefore the amount of glucose that gets stored as fat
  2. Allowing levels of the hormone insulin to drop
  3. Burning existing fat stores
  4. Reducing peaks and troughs in your blood sugar, reducing hunger and cravings
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Carbohydrates are one of the body’s main sources of energy and consist of two main types.


These are: 


  1. Sugars, which are found in sweets, cakes, pastries, fruit juices and energy drinks; and 
  2. Starches, which are long chains of sugar joined together. These are found in foods such as cereals, rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, yam, plantain, dumplings, noodles and African foods such as fufu. When starch is digested it’s broken down into glucose and enters your bloodstream, increasing your blood glucose level. 

Limiting the amount of sugars entering your body, whether as sugar or starch, can have a positive impact on your health. It can help you to limit the amount of sugar that your body stores as fat. This in turn can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of diabetes complications.


We've brought together a lot of information on the Know Diabetes low carb and remission pages to help you understand which foods contain how many carbs. We've also created a downloadable 7-day menu plan to get you started.

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Starchy foods can have a surprisingly big effect on your blood sugar. Watch this short video to learn more.



"Love your body and teach your mind to respect it"



Learn more about the benefits of low carb from experts and patients.

Wonder how sugar affects your brain and why carb cravings can be so strong? Learn more from brain expert Nicole Avena.

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