Your body uses carbohydrates as its main source of energy. When you eat a carbohydrate-rich food—like cereal, bread or fruit—the body breaks down the starch and sugar in these foods into glucose. The glucose is then transported through the bloodstream, and with the help of the hormone insulin, it makes its way into all the body's cells, where it's used as fuel. At least, that's how it's supposed to work.
When you have diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin or the cells aren't responsive to the insulin. That means if you eat a meal containing carbohydrates, you'll end up with an excess of glucose in your bloodstream—not in your cells, which need the fuel to pump your heart, expand your lungs and keep nerve cells firing in the brain. Long term, that excess glucose causes damage to your eyes, kidney and nerves and increases your risk for heart disease.
Obviously, you need carbs for energy, so the key is finding the right amount, both in terms of blood sugar and calories.
We've done all the work for you in the meals on our online program—TheBestLife.com/diabetes—and in the book.
Once you determine just how many carbs you can handle, you can then spread them out between your meals and snacks so you keep your blood sugar as stable as possible throughout the day.