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Archive for March, 2010

Below is a question I received from FOODPICKER.org

My doctor recently diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes.  I know it is important to watch my sugar intake.  Is sugarless candy really sugarless?

Answer: Yes, sugarless candy is really sugarless, however sugar is not the only thing that raises your blood sugars.  Any items with carbohydrates will cause your blood sugars to rise.  These items include grains, beans, starchy vegetables, fruit, fruit juices, milk and yogurt.

A raise in blood sugar is not ‘bad’ since our bodies need carbohydrates for energy.  Rather than focusing on avoiding carbohydrates or sugar in your diet, aim to choose the more nutrient dense carbohydrates such as whole fruit, whole grains and low fat dairy products.  These items will provide your body with the energy it needs and also with many essential vitamins and minerals.

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Below is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org

My fasting glucose number was 127.  Does this sound like pre-diabetes or diabetes? What should I do to control by blood sugar?

Answer: There are a few ways in which diabetes or pre-diabetes can be diagnosed, one of which is a fasting plasma glucose test.  Generally, a result of 126mg/dL or higher indicates diabetes and a result between 100 and 125mg/dL indicates pre-diabetes.  In either case, it is recommended that you contact your doctor and have a second test performed in order to confirm the diagnosis.

If a second test confirms your diagnosis, I would recommend visiting the American Diabetes Association’s website to learn more and attending a diabetes education class.  Take a look at my previous posts to learn how to find a diabetes educator in your area and some other nutrition related tips.

In terms of treatment, your doctor should discuss the various possibilities with you.  Some of the types of treatment include dietary management, weight loss, oral agents and insulin injections.

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Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org

I have pre-diabetes and am trying to lose weight.  How many servings of fruit and veggies should I have each day?

Answer: If you have pre-diabetes, you can and should do something about it. Studies from the American Diabetes Association have shown that a reduction in 5-10% of your body weight can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 58% .  In addition, participating in some type of modest physical activity for 30 minutes daily can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers, strengthen your bones and muscles, and improve your mental health and mood.

In terms of fruit and veggie consumption, I would recommend a minimum of 5 servings daily.  An easy way to incorporate these is a fruit for breakfast, a fruit and veggie for lunch, and a fruit and veggie for supper.  Eating 5 of these each day will not only help you lose weight, but will also provide your body with essential nutrients it needs.  Below are some additional tips related to fruit and veggies in your diet:

  • Choose whole fruits rather than fruit juices.  Juices do not make us feel full, are full of calories, and rise blood sugars quickly.
  • Fresh or frozen are generally better. If  choosing canned fruits such as pineapple or peaches, look for ones in light syrup.  If choosing canned veggies, drain the water and rinse to remove excess sodium.
  • Limit starchy vegetables like peas, corn, and potatoes.  Choose non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, etc. These non-starchy veggies are lower in calories and carbohydrates, meaning your blood sugars will remain lower.  In addition, they are a rich source of fiber keeping you full longer.

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Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last month.  I’m having difficulty understanding how many carbs and sugar I can have each day.  I’m finding that nearly everything contains carbs and sugar!  Can you help me with this?

Answer: It can be difficult understanding how carbs and sugar affect your body when you have type 2 diabetes, and how much of these you should eat.  I would suggest refering to my previous blog to learn how to find a diabetes educator in your area.  Meeting with an educator will help you develop a personalized plan to determine the ideal amount of carbohydrates for your body and the distribution of these throughout the day.

Until you have a chance to meet with an educator, I would suggest focusing on the composition of your meal rather than how many carbohydrates you eat.  Imagine your plate is divided into four equal sections.  Fill one section with vegetables, one with fruit, one with a protein source and one with a bread/rice/pasta.  Following this will help keep your blood sugars near the ideal range and will assure your body gets the nutrients it needs.

If having a snack between meals,  read the labels and choose items with  <30 g carbohydrate.  Choose items that have whole grains, fiber and <5g sugar.  Some suggestions include fruit, yogurt, sugar free ice cream or jello, whole wheat crackers and granola.

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Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org

I am trying to find a class for our grandson.  He is 19 and has a part-time job but no insurance.  He just found out last week that he has type 1 diabetes after losing a lot of weight and his blood sugar was 523.  He is on insulin but needs to go to a class to manage his diabetes without going hungry.  Where do we start?  Any suggestions would help us a lot.

Answer: Begin by calling the facility that diagnosed him.  Often times, they will either provide education services or refer you to another facility.  If you find this does not work, visit the American Association of Diabetes Educators website to find an educator in your area.

In the mean time, take a look at the American Diabetes Association website at to learn more.  This is a great website for basic information, potential complications, tips for parents (grandparents too),  recipes and more.

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