Dear Baobab,

I am a diabetic who has a mild addiction to carbs. Can you suggest some “good” carbs or carb alternatives? Thanks.

Smarty 

Dear Smarty,

Thank you for submitting your question. When making dietary suggestions I prefer not to describe the want for a particular food as an addiction (with the exception of sugar) because it suggest the inability to make the necessary changes to your behavior, which isn’t the case!

Let’s start with breaking down what carbohydrates are and the difference between the good and bad ones. Carbohydrates are defined as a large group of compounds (including sugars, starch and cellulose) that contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and can be broken down to release energy in the body.

Complex carbohydrates, commonly referred to as good carbs provide the body with high doses of nutrients that help your body perform properly. Simple carbohydrates, or bad carbs, consist of highly processed foods and sugars causing your body to slow down, and should be avoided. Simply put—carbohydrates are necessary to live a healthy life; it’s just a matter of choosing the right ones.

Below are a few complex carbs that might benefit you:

  • Fresh Fruit (preferably in season to also save your wallet) like apricots, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries have a low glycemic index (GI), perfect for a diabetic.
  • Non-Starchy Vegetables: collard greens, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, brussels sprouts, lettuce, artichokes and spinach. All of these vegetables can be consumed in high levels. Visit D Life for more information.
  • Nuts: Nuts have low GI and can curb the need for sugar when you need a snack. Almonds, macadamia nuts and cashews are your friends. Makes sure to stay away from heavily salted versions, though, or make your own. 
Though I don’t eat or recommend a diet that contains grains, if you just can’t wrap your head around a lettuce wrap, whole grain breads and pastas are also great alternatives. 
Let us know how it works out and we hope this helps!
Baobab Wellness