Starchy foods are things like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, chapattis, naan and plantain. They all contain carbohydrate, which is broken down into glucose and used by our cells as fuel. The problem with some starchy foods is that it can raise blood glucose levels quickly, which can make it harder for you to manage your diabetes. These foods have something called a high glycaemic index – we’ve got loads more information about this.
You don’t need any of these as part of a healthy diet. But we know you’re bound to eat these foods from time to time, so it’s really important to know how they might affect your body. Specifically at least 1 or 2 portions of oily fish each week.
Check food labels – look for green and orange colours. We’ve got more information to help you read labels and we’re campaigning for things to get more consistent and less confusing. Cook more meals from scratch at home, where you can control the amount of salt you use.
Check for added sugar in lower-fat versions of dairy foods, like yoghurt. It’s better to go for unsweetened yoghurt and add some berries if you want it sweeter. If you prefer a dairy alternative like soya milk, choose one that’s unsweetened and calcium-fortified.
Some of us go vegan because we want to stop animal suffering; others go keto or paleo in the hope of rebalancing hormones or getting back to a more ‘natural’ way of eating. There are some higher-fibre types of white bread and pasta. This can stop your blood sugar level dropping, which can make you feel tired and bad-tempered. However, you can fry and roast using small amounts of healthier fats such as olive and rapeseed oil. Cooking techniques such as roasting and frying can be less healthy if a large amount of fat is added during the cooking.
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Biologically, eating in upright chairs helps with our digestion. Talking and listening also slows us down so we don’t eat too fast. Guidelines recommend that carbohydrates (“carbs”) form the basis of most diets, making up half of total energy intake. This food group can be separated into complex and simple carbs.