Diet and Diabetes
Topics discussed below at a glance
What is Fiber?
Fiber is a complex carbohydrate.
Dietary fiber – the kind you eat, has two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber attracts water to slow digestion, while insoluble fiber helps to speed the passage of foods through the stomach and intestines.
Dietary fiber can be helpful in controlling weight because it helps make you feel full faster.
According to the American Diabetes Association, there is no one diet or meal plan that works for everyone with diabetes. The important thing is to follow a meal plan that is tailored to personal preferences and lifestyle and helps achieve goals for blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, blood pressure, and weight management.
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients (protein and fat are the other two) and are classified as simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates include sugars like glucose, fructose (fruit sugar) and sucrose (table sugar). Complex carbohydrates include starches and fiber. The primary function of carbohydrates (except fiber) is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. An enzyme called amylase helps break down carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar), which is used for energy by the body. Finding the right amount of carbohydrates can vary by individual needs, so working with a physician or registered dietitian is helpful.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Most people should get between 40% and 60% of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably from complex carbohydrates (starches) and natural sugars. Complex carbohydrates provide calories, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Foods that are high in processed, refined simple sugars provide calories, but very little nutrition. It is wise to limit these sugars.
To increase your consumption of complex carbohydrates and healthy nutrients, like fiber:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat more whole-grain rice, breads, and cereals
- Eat more legumes (beans, lentils, and dried peas)
Here are recommended serving sizes for foods that contain carbohydrates:
- Vegetables: 1 cup of raw vegetables, or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice
- Fruits: 1 medium-size fruit (such as 1 medium apple or 1 medium orange), 1/2 cup of a canned or chopped fruit, or 3/4 cup of fruit juice
- Breads and cereals: 1 slice of bread; 1 ounce or 2/3 cup of ready-to-eat cereal; 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal; 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, lentils, or dried peas
- Dairy: 1 cup of skim or low-fat milk
For information about how many servings are recommended, see the article on the food guide plate.
According to the USDA MyPlate program and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, when choosing carbohydrates, Americans should emphasize naturally occurring carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, beans and peas, vegetables, and fruits, especially those high in dietary fiber, while limiting refined grains and intake of foods with added sugars. The carbohydrates in avocados are naturally occurring and a 1-oz. serving of Hass Avocado contains 3 grams of Total Carbohydrate with 2 grams of fiber, 8% of your daily recommended value.
Portion of medium sized
1 oz., 2-3 slices
Monosaccharides (Simple Sugars):
The glycemic index, or GI, measures how equal amounts of carbohydrates in different foods raise blood glucose. Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food– either glucose or white bread (on a scale of 0-100). A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI. GI is influenced by food preparation, ripeness and its macronutrient profile. The Glycemic Load (GL) of a specific food is based on the GI but goes a step further and measures how a single serving of that food affects your blood sugar.(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17992183)
The International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002i,published by researchers from the University of Sydney, did not include GI values for meat, poultry, fish, avocados, salad vegetables, cheese, or eggs because these foods contain little or no carbohydrate and it would be exceedingly difficult for people to consume a portion of the foods containing 50 g or even 25 g of available carbohydrate. According to the researchers, “even in large amounts, these foods when eaten alone are not likely to induce a significant rise in blood glucose.”
For more questions regarding avocado nutrition facts or servings, view our Nutrition Facts and Label page.
i Kaye Foster-Powell, Susanna HA Holt, and Janette C Brand-Miller. International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. From the Human Nutrition Unit, School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, University of Sydney, Australia. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/76/1/5.full
ii Wong JM, de Souza R, Kendall CW, Emam A, Jenkins DJ (2006) Colonic health: fermentation and short chain fatty acids. J Clin Gastroenterol. 40(3):235-43. PMID: 16633129). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16633129