Your blood sugar levels affect your mood and energy levels. Blood sugar is readily available energy that the body can use to fuel various processes. The body normally regulates its blood sugar through a chemical called insulin, which breaks down blood sugar. People who have diabetes don't produce enough of this chemical -- if any at all -- and, consequently, need to monitor their blood sugar and the foods they eat. But this is a healthy practice for anyone, and it is important to recognize that grains-based foods like potato or tortilla chips can boost blood sugar levels.
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Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar
Chips contain carbohydrates in the form of starches. Potatoes, which are a common food processed into chips, have among the highest starch content of any food. Tortilla chips made from flour and/or corn have less starches but can still increase blood sugar. Any time you are consuming carbohydrates, you are consuming foods that increase your blood sugar.
According to FamilyDoctor.org, controlling carbohydrates is key for people who have diabetes, but it's also a healthy habit for people who don't, as well. Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of your daily calorie consumption can safely come from carbohydrates, and this includes chips. Carbohydrate consumption increases your blood sugar levels, but doing so in this proportion is generally safe -- as long as, for people who have diabetes, the blood sugar continues to be monitored.
Concerns for People With Diabetes
Many health experts, including the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, recommend that people who have diabetes consume baked chips in place of fried chips whenever possible, as fried chips are cooked in fat. The concerns regarding fried chips are not related to blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes are at an increased risk of heart disease, so controlling fat intake is as important as monitoring carbohydrate intake.
If you are concerned about your blood sugar levels, or if your doctor has encouraged you to monitor your intake of carbohydrates, you should keep track of your daily diet and try cutting carb consumption to between 40 and 60 percent of your calories. Consuming large amounts of carbohydrates over a long period of time has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Alternatives like soy chips may be better than potato or tortilla chips.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.