Yes, these foods raise blood sugar. No, they are not bad foods!

Teaching dietary recommendations for managing blood sugar is an interesting experience for me. Since carbohydrates have been engrained in my head for so long, it is always surprising to hear people’s reactions to the list of foods that raise blood sugar.

The obvious culprit is sugar itself. However, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar so they, too, raise blood sugar. So, while limiting desserts, candies, sugar packets, and sugary drinks is important, we can get in trouble (and frustrated!) if we do not have a complete list of foods/drinks raising blood sugar.

The list includes:
– Bread (white and whole wheat)
– Cereal (hot and cold)
– Pasta (white and whole wheat)
– Rice (white and brown)
– Potato
– Corn
– Beans (with the exception of green beans)
– Peas
– Fruit and fruit juice
– Dessert (cake, cookies, candy, ice cream, etc.)
– Sugary drinks (regular soda, lemonade, sweet tea, koolaid, sports drinks, etc.)
– Popcorn, potato/tortilla chips, pretzels, crackers
With each food, I hear: “OH!”, “What!?”, “Really?!”, and my favorite: “But, I thought _____ was healthy!”.

Yes, high fiber cereal, whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice, beans/peas, starchy vegetables and fruit are healthy; but, they raise the blood sugar. Carbohydrate does not mean “bad”, or that it should be avoided. The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein in these foods are all important for a healthy lifestyle, but we should all pay attention to how much carbohydrate we eat!

Eliminating carbohydrates is not the goal. The goal is balancing carbohydrates. Choosing high-fiber carb sources and practicing portion control is best for managing blood sugars. We are making a “better” choice by swapping our candy bar with fruit; but, fruit raises blood sugar too. We are making a “better” choice by swapping white bread with whole wheat bread; but, whole wheat bread raises blood sugar too.

The fiber in the “better” choices decreases the effect on blood sugar when compared to the other option; but, they are not “free foods” since they do have carbs. We can, and should, continue to eat these foods; BUT, we need to watch the portions. How much is too much? Well, that’s different for everyone!

If you are having trouble managing your blood sugars, or have questions about your carbohydrate recommendations, contact me! I love carbohydrates, I love teaching how to fit carbs into a healthy lifestyle, and I have been balancing carbs myself since I can remember, so I know how you feel!


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