5 Foods with Hidden Carbs that Affect our Blood Glucose Level


Hidden carbs can be very annoying. As diabetics we are constantly scrutinizing, analyzing and calculating whenever we are about to eat a meal. Unlike persons without diabetes who can simply eat to their heart’s content, we have to put the work in to ensure our blood sugar levels are as close to perfect as possible. However, sometimes we end up with high blood sugar levels after meals and are left to wonder what went wrong. Carbohydrates can lurk in some less obvious foods, and can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Knowing a couple of these culprits will help you dodge this hidden carbs bullet and keep you on track.

Here is a typical example I’m sure many of you have experienced. I went to lunch one day and I decided to have meat and veg; spare ribs smothered in a tantalizing barbecue sauce and a side of steamed veggies. Notice I didn’t get any starches such as rice or potato. My blood sugar level was around 6 mmol/L so I didn’t take any insulin with this meal. However, when I tested a couple hours after lunch it had risen quite a bit. Why did it rise? There were carbs in that meal that I didn’t know would have such a large impact. These hidden carbohydrates exist in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis. Check out the list below.

Sneaky Foods with Hidden Carbs

1. Restaurant Sauces and Special Dips

hidden carbohydrates in sauces

Restaurants are not concerned with what will raise our blood sugar levels. Amazing, tasty food which will keep everyone coming back for more is their primary objective. Restaurant signature sauces and dips are very rich in flavor which often mean that they are loaded with sugar.

2. Condiments

hidden carbohydrates in condiments
This is a really important one. Condiments are used to add flavor to various types of food. We dip, pour, and smear condiments such as ketchup and mustard on sandwiches, fries, chicken and many other food items. However, we often forget to factor them into our carbs and calorie allotment calculations. Using these condiments in moderation is quite fine but splurging on them is a big no no. Pay careful attention to portions and serving sizes, because the calories, sugar, and carbohydrates can add up quickly. Let’s face it. How many of us actually measure out tablespoons of ketchup when eating fries? We should in fact measure condiments and read the label to get an accurate count on the carbohydrates at least once. This way we can always get a close estimate when we can’t accurately measure.

3. Sugar Free or No Sugar Added Foods

no sugar added foods hidden carbs
Many people assume that “sugar free”,”no sugar added” and “unsweetened” foods and drinks will not affect their blood sugar. This isn’t always the case. Sugar free and no sugar added foods still contain carbs. A typical example is unsweetened fruit juice. One cup of some brands can contain approximately 28 grams of carbs.

Another example is No Sugar Added Ice Cream. If you take a look at the below nutrition facts there is actually 15 grams of carbs in a half cup of ice cream. Once again there is nothing wrong with carbohydrates, it is not accounting for them that is the issue.
nutrition facts for no sugar added ice cream - hidden carbohydrtates

4. Battered or Fried Foods

battered foods hidden carbs
Food items such as nuggets, fillets, and some types of fried chicken, to name a few, are breaded or dipped in flour before cooking. Flour and breading is considered a starch and therefore will contain added carbs.

5. Processed Meats

hidden carbohydrates in processed meats
Processed meats like hot dogs contain hidden carbs from the preservatives and sweeteners. Although the carbohydrates in deli dog may not be enough to sky rocket your blood sugar, the combination of the roll, deli dog with loads of ketchup and honey mustard can certainly do the trick if not factored into your carb count.

Now you know some of the sources of hidden carbs, you can be on the lookout. Visit the supermarket and browse the condiments and sauces section. Take a look at the labels and see what type of carb content they have. Also, take a look at the labels on the battered/breaded foods such as nuggets as well as the no added sugar items. This knowledge will help you be much more accurate in your nutrition management. You can also check out this article on serving sizes for better weight management and blood sugar control.

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[…] Accurately calculating the number of carbohydrates in our meals is extremely important. Mastering serving sizes and servings per container will bring you one step closer to better blood sugar control. While carbohydrates are important with respect to blood sugar, total calories are important with respect to our weight. Consuming more calories than your body needs over time will cause weight gain. Calories can quickly add up if you have the serving size or servings per container incorrect. So if you are noticing that your clothes are getting a bit too snug be sure to monitor your total calories each… Read more »