Good Carb Bad Carb – by Talia den Dulk

Good carb, bad carb and more to the point – Should Diabetics be eating carbs? 

A carbohydrate is a food that when eaten, converts into blood sugar. Types of carbohydrates are whole or complex carbs like wholegrain bread, cereals, potatoes, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables. These foods are generally healthy. On the other hand, refined carbs include cakes, biscuits, fruit juices, pastries, white bread white rice, sugar etc. Carbohydrates are pretty much present everywhere in the diet. 

When you have Diabetes, your body’s metabolism of blood sugar is impaired and therefore important for you to look at the carbs in your diet. To keep it simple, I would suggest that you look at the following factors. 

  1. Body Weight 
  1. Blood glucose control 
  1. Diabetes treatment 

Body weight

The more you weigh the more insulin and glucose your body requires.  Insulin resistance is directly linked to being overweight. As soon as you gain weight, you become more resistant to your own insulin which means that your pancreas will produce even more insulin to get the blood sugars into the cells. The extra amounts of insulin floating around in your blood will increase your appetite and also increase fat storage. If you are overweight it would be a good idea to exclude refined carbohydrates from your diet and limit the amount of complex carbohydrates. Please consult with us before you strip your diet of all carbs. 

If you are normal or underweight it would be advisable to consume Carbohydrates that are complex however looking at the quantity that you consume at a time. Rather spread small amounts frequently during the day. Ensure that your carbohydrates are low in Glycemic Index…..(See attach list) 


Blood Glucose control 

If your blood sugars are normal, it means that there is a good balance between your dietary carbohydrates, your medication and insulin produced or injected. On the other end if your blood sugars are higher than normal range, it suggests that you are either eating too many carbohydrates, your medication is not adequate and/or you are not exercising frequently. The first step in managing raised blood glucose is to reduce the Carbohydrates in the diet. Firstly, excluding all the sugary foods and junk foods and secondly reducing or excluding the starchy carbohydrates i.e. bread, rice, pasta, cereals, crackers (whether they are low GI or not).

Diabetes treatment 

If you are already eating a low Carbohydrate diet, and following an exercise regime and your blood sugars remain elevated (> 7mmol/L any time in the day) then your medication regime might need a review. If you are unsure about this, you can consult any of our Dietitians at the practice.  

In general, moderation is key. This not only your diet, but includes your weight and exercise routine. If your chair has four legs and is balanced, by losing one, it will topple over. Diabetes management does not only consist of taking your medication and hoping for the best. Without the correct diet, exercise and body weight, your chair will topple at some point.



 Types of Carbohydrates BAD CARBS

Refined Carbohydrates



Complex Carbohydrates


Low Carbohydrates

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • White cereals i.e. corn flakes, rice crispies
  • White pasta
  • Pies & pastries
  • Cookies
  • Sweets
  • Chips
  • Sugar
  • Rusks
  • Puddings
  • Whole grains i.e. multi-seed bread
  • Brown rice, barley
  • Bran cereals, oats
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Legumes i.e. lentils, baked beans, kidney beans, chick peas
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables i.e. potato, sweet potato, peas, corn, butternut, pumpkin
  • All Atkins products i.e. bread, crackers, muesli, bars
  • Red Basket products i.e. bread, muffins, pizzas, pancakes
  • Banting products
  • Low carb veggies i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, greens, green beans, spinach, leeks, onions, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots
  • Eggs & dairy
  • Meat, chicken & seafood
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Oils & fats
Overweight  Avoid  Avoid  Allowed
Normal Weight  Avoid  Moderation  Allowed
Underweight  Avoid  Allowed  Allowed
Uncontrolled Blood Sugar  Avoid  Avoid  Allowed
Controlled Blood Sugar  Avoid  Moderation  Allowed

Featured Items

Atkins Bread
1 slice (40g) = 140kCal

Protein 4.6g
Carbs 12g
Fat 6.8g
2 Protein Portions
½ Fat

Atkins Muesli
25g = 120kCal

Protein 4.6g
Carbs 12g
Fat 7.4g
1 Protein Portion
½ Fruit
1 Fat

Atkins Crispbread
10g = 42kCal

Protein 2.6g
Carbs 4.0g
Fat 1.5g
½ Protein Portions

Atkins Advantage Bar

Protein 17.9g
Carbs 17g
Fat 612g
2 Protein Portions
2 Fats

Atkins Endulge Bar

Protein 1.9g
Carbs 3.1g
Fat 11g
½Protein Portions
2 Fats

Atkins Daybreak Bar

Protein 11g
Carbs 11g
Fat 8g
1 Protein Portions
1 Fat

Atkins Shake
330ml = 147kCal

Protein 3g
Carbs 10g
Fat 9g
1 Protein Portion
2 Fat