2 mins

Diabetes and carbs: 4 hidden sources to keep in mind

Most foods contain some carbohydrates, but some may contain more than you realise.

24 April 2023
Examples of carbs include pasta, bread and rice

Have you ever had something to eat or drink and were surprised when your blood sugars were higher than expected afterwards? This could be due to a hidden carb. Here are some foods with hidden carbs that you may not have known about.

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is created when yeast eats sugar, turning it into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Spirits, known as ‘hard alcohol’, don’t contain any sugar because the yeast eats all of it to produce that high alcohol content. However, if you add juice or soda to hard alcohol, make sure to account for the carbs. Wine, beer, and cider naturally have some sugar, and this can vary in amounts depending on the type of drink. If you drink alcohol and want to keep the sugar low, stick to dry wines or spirits mixed with low or sugar-free mixers like soda water. Then check your blood sugar to see if it changes.

2. Milk of all kinds

Milk or milk products like yogurt contain lactose. Lactose is a type of sugar that gets converted into glucose when you consume it. Choosing a lower fat or fat free milk product will change the fat and calories, but the carbohydrate content will remain the same. Lactose-free milk options may seem like a better choice, but still contain carbohydrates. Non-dairy milk, like almond or soy milk, seem safe because they don’t have lactose, but many have additional added sugar, so it is always best to check the labels.

3. Peas

Some often think of peas as a vegetable due to their green color, but they aren’t like other vegetables. They are legumes, which means they have a lot of carbs. Be sure to monitor your portion size of this starchy vegetable!

4. Tomato products

Tomatoes are a great source of nutrition. However, many processed foods using tomatoes are full of sugar. Tomato sauce, ketchup, and pasta sauces often have added sugar. Instead of buying them from the store, why not try making these at home? You can avoid the added sugar and create a flavourful and delicious product with a lower carbohydrate content than any store-bought variety. The same applies to many sauces, such as barbeque sauce, which also has a large amount of added sugar. When using these sauces and condiments, measure out your portion and be sure to include the carbohydrate amount in your meal total.

We've only listed a handful of things here to get you started, but there are more out there. Keep an eye on those labels to avoid surprises!

This content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice from your healthcare professional before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, Roche makes no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content is accurate, complete, up-to-date or that it should be relied upon.