Recipes for vegetarian and diabetic diets have much in common

Recipes for Vegetarians with Diabetes

This blog was originally written for SplendaLiving.com. You can read that post here.

Maybe you’ve been a vegetarian for as long as you can remember, and then developed type 2 diabetes as an adult. Or maybe you received a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes as a child and decided during your teen years to become a vegetarian. Either way, if this describes you or someone you know, you may be wondering if it is possible to combine a vegetarian diet with one to manage diabetes.

The simple answer is yes, vegetarian meal plans and diabetes diets are compatible and both can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

The goal for any diet is to meet your personal nutritional requirements, but there are endless ways to do that based on what is available, affordable and acceptable to you. Vegetarians who only eat pizza and French fries are not making the best choices possible to meet their needs. People with diabetes who never eat fruit or whole grains aren’t either.

 Vegetarian Meal Plans and Diabetes

The first step to combining a vegetarian diet with a diabetes diet is to make a list of the foods from each food group that you like and will eat and that you can easily purchase and prepare. The biggest difference for a vegetarian (compared to someone who is not a vegetarian) will be in the Protein Foods Group. A vegetarian’s list will include plant-based protein sources such as beans, peas, lentils, soy-based meat substitutes, nuts, nut butters and seeds instead of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and fish. Eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt may be additional sources of protein for vegetarians who choose to include those foods.

Choices from each of the other food groups – Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Dairy and Oils – are the same for vegetarians, “meat eaters” and people with diabetes. The focus for all of them should be getting the best quality and variety of foods in the diet as possible and eating them in the right frequency and serving size. That may mean having two canned peach halves packed in natural juices when fresh peaches are not in season, mixing a cup of spiralized zucchini squash with a cup of spaghetti to reduce the carbohydrate content of a meal, or adding a bag of frozen edamame (soybeans) to a can of vegetable soup to boost the protein in each serving.

If you’re wondering how much honey, molasses and other added sugars a vegetarian diet for diabetes can contain, the answer is the same as for any other healthy person – less than 12 teaspoons a day for a 2000 calorie diet. That recommendation is based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans which state added sugars should be less than 10% of total calories whether you eat meat or not!

Reducing added sugars in the diet is important for everyone since many of the foods and drinks added sugars are found in can displace other foods that provide essential nutrients. The calories from those sugars can also contribute to weight gain. This is just as true for people who don’t have diabetes as those who do. Using low-calorie sweeteners, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener Products, can help reduce added sugars in the diet without giving up the sweet taste that makes so many foods and beverages more enjoyable.

To show you some options possible when combining a diabetic diet with a vegetarian diet, I have put together some meal plan ideas below using “Diabetes Friendly” recipes found in the SPLENDA® Brand recipe files. Of course, it is not necessary to only use recipes specifically designed for diabetes, or, for that matter, only those developed for vegetarians. Just about any recipe can be tweaked to make it work for both purposes. Please note if you have diabetes, it is important to check with your healthcare provider to determine your personal meal plan and adjust these recipes, meal combinations and portion sizes accordingly.

*For the purposes here the vegetarian dishes here may include dairy, eggs and fish.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Snacks

I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Remove added sugar without giving up the sweet taste you love

How to Reduce Added Sugar Intake and Still Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Do you still have a can opener in your kitchen? It may soon become obsolete as more cans are being designed with pull-tops or replaced by microwavable tubs and pouches. I’m sure most of us will have no difficulty getting used to life without ever cranking a can opener again. Now imagine being told you have diabetes and must reduce the carbohydrate and added sugar in your diet. Not being able to dip into the sugar bowl as often as you want may be harder to accept, especially if you’re like me and enjoy a little something sweet every day.

Fortunately, there are ways to satisfy a sweet tooth while still following a healthy diet for diabetes.

Living With Less Added Sugar

As I wrote in a previous blog about artificial sweeteners and diabetes, people with diabetes have the same basic nutritional needs as the rest of us. We all need to eat a well-balanced diet to maintain good health. That means including plenty of fruits and vegetables every day; adding beans, nuts and seeds to weekly menus; regularly choosing whole grains over refined grains; and selecting lean meats, low-fat dairy products and plant-based oils for a healthy fat profile.

Another thing we all need to do, whether we follow a diet for diabetes or not, is reduce the amount of added sugar we consume. Our average sugar intake in the U.S. is around 20 teaspoons a day per person and most nutrition experts say it should be about half that amount.

How to Reduce Sugar Intake

A simple way to reduce your sugar intake is to replace some added sugar with low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener. Sucralose (the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners) has been determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be safe for the entire population.

Think about all of the foods and drinks you now sweeten with sugar, honey or maple syrup to see where you can make some changes. If you have 3 cups of coffee every day and add 2 teaspoons of sugar to each, using a single packet of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener for each cup instead will provide the same sweet taste and eliminate 6 teaspoons of sugar a day! If you add a tablespoon of brown sugar to your morning bowl of oatmeal and switch to a half tablespoon of SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend you can enjoy that same sweet flavor with half as much sugar. The more swaps you make, the lower your added sugar intake will be without giving up the sweet taste you love.

Maintaining a well-balanced diet with less added sugar is not the only way to manage diabetes. Staying physically active, checking blood glucose levels and taking medications properly are all steps recommended for optimal diabetes management. Using the Diabetes Goal Tracker mobile app from the American Association of Diabetes Educators can help. It is based on 7 proven approaches to diabetes management (called the AADE7 Self-Care BehaviorsTM) and has valuable features such as reminders for when it’s time to “check in” and the option to share your completed goals with others as a source of motivation.

Living with diabetes and with consuming less added sugar may not be as difficult as you thought, so don’t be afraid if it’s time to say goodbye to your can-opener and to the sugar bowl on your kitchen table for good!

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Are there side effects from artificial sweeteners?

Are There Artificial Sweeteners Side Effects?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Many things in our lives are now easier thanks to the Internet. We can book our own flights for a vacation, check what the weather will be when we arrive and order new clothes before we leave. But finding good health advice online is not an easy task.

If you’ve ever tried to get an answer to a health question you’ve probably ended up more confused – or even frightened – about your condition, after scanning all of the possibilities. That is especially true when it comes to alleged (or suspected) side effects of artificial sweeteners (commonly known as “sugar substitutes” or what I call “low-calorie sweeteners”).

I have written about the myths associated with sucralose (the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners) and other sugar substitutes before in individual blogs. For this blog, I thought it would be useful to pull together the most commonly asked questions so you have the answers you are seeking all in one place.

Dispelling the Myths about Artificial Sweeteners Side Effects

Q: Do artificial sweeteners, like SPLENDA® Sweeteners, cause weight gain?

A: No. Artificial sweeteners can help decrease caloric intake when they are used in place of sugar, so they can help you lose weight when part of an energy-balanced diet with regular physical activity.

Learn more about misinformation regarding weight gain and low-calorie sweeteners. Also, read about how low calorie sweeteners can support yourweight loss efforts.

Q: Will using SPLENDA® Sweetener Products or other sugar substitutes make me crave sweets?

A: No. Research shows food cravings are not the same for everyone and not triggered by the same foods. Since sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners, is 600 times sweeter than sugar, some people believe it will trigger cravings for them if they like sweets. But studies on people who are regular users of SPLENDA® Products and other artificial sweeteners show that these products can be an aid to weight management. Read more in my blog about sweet cravings and satisfying our desire for sweet taste with fewer calories.

Q: Can no- and low-calorie sweeteners like SPLENDA® Sweeteners make me have an increased appetite?

A: No. It is normal to want more of a food that tastes good to us, but if we pay attention to our hunger and satiety signals we can avoid overeating. Low calorie sweeteners have been shown to be a useful tool in weight management by helping people feel more satisfied with their food and beverage choices.

Learn more from my blog about the appetite myth, and about signs of hunger vs. appetite.

Q: Do artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, cause digestive problems?

A: No. Data from over 100 studies show sucralose has no side effects. Changes in our stomach sounds and bowel habits can be triggered by many healthy foods we eat and are a sign of normal digestion at work.

Read more about sucralose and digestive health.

Q: Can sugar substitutes cause diabetes?

A: No. People who have diabetes are advised to reduce their sugar and carbohydrate intake by using sugar substitutes (such as SPLENDA® Sweetener Products). Sucralose is not a carbohydrate so it does not affect our blood glucose levels or insulin requirements.

Learn more of the “sweet truth” about artificial sweeteners and diabetes.

Now that you have all the answers to your questions about side effects and artificial sweeteners you can get back to planning your next vacation via the Internet!

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Barley Can Help Control Type 2 Diabetes

A Secret Weapon to Help Control Diabetes: Barley

BARLEY PROVIDES MANY BENEFITS THAT CAN HELP CONTROL TYPE 2 DIABETES.

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

No one wants to learn they have diabetes, yet nearly one in four Americans over the age of 60 receives this news. Many others have pre-diabetes, a condition where their blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. If you fall into either category, an ancient grain can help you control your blood glucose and offer other protection against type 2 diabetes.

Barley, once known as a “food of the Gladiators,” has a unique profile of nutrients that makes it a great defender against diabetes and worth adding to your diet.

Of course, no single food can prevent or cure diabetes. But some foods do offer more protection than others, so it makes sense to include them in your meals as often as possible. And diabetes isn’t the only disease that barley offers protection against, so everyone who cares about their health can benefit by eating more barley.

Barley can help with your battle against diabetes in these ways:

High in Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber has the ability to form a gel when it mixes with liquids in the stomach. The presence of this gel slows down the emptying of the stomach, which prevents carbohydrates from being absorbed too quickly and raising blood glucose levels. One cup of cooked whole grain barley contains 14 grams (g) total fiber, with 3g soluble and 11g insoluble. A cup of cooked pearl barley contains 6g total fiber, 2g soluble and 4g insoluble.

Low Glycemic Index

People with diabetes experience fluctuations in their blood glucose level after eating carbohydrate-rich foods. Different amounts and types of carbohydrates have a different impact on blood glucose. A measurement known as the glycemic index (GI) ranks foods according to their ability to raise blood glucose. The lower the GI, the less impact it has on blood glucose levels. Barley has a GI of 25, compared to 58 for oatmeal, 55 for brown rice and 45 for pasta.

Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that acts as a co-factor in more than 300 enzymes in the body, including enzymes involved in the production and secretion of insulin and the use of glucose. Studies show magnesium levels are lower in people with diabetes than in the general population. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for magnesium for adults is 420 mg for men and 320 for women. One cup of cooked whole grain barley contains 122mg of magnesium while a cup of pearled barley provides 34mg.

Find more information here: Living Healthy with Diabetes Barley Foods Recipes

Are you ready to include more barley in your diet?

Balancing food choices is the key to diabetic meal plans

Delicious Ideas for Your Diabetes Meal Plan

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

People who have diabetes do not have different nutritional needs than those who do not have the disease. There also is no one diabetes diet or diabetic diet meal plan they must follow. Instead, what individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes do have is a greater motivation to eat well to manage their illness. And when they do that they are also lowering their risk factors for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for all Americans.

A valuable tool that can help you get on the right track is ChooseMyPlate. It provides all of the practical information you need to build a healthier diet based on the Dietary Guidelines, from shopping lists and safe food storage tips to healthier holiday choices and eating for vegetarians.

Looking for Meal-Time Inspiration

Numerous websites, books and other sources share information about diabetic diet meal plans, but that doesn’t mean you have to find one and stick with it. Living with diabetes means knowing how to adapt any menu or recipe to meet your personal needs. Working with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a Registered Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator is the first step to understanding how to do that.

Once you know how to manage diabetes you’ll be able to find inspiration everywhere, from award-winning cookbooks to your favorite cooking show on TV. Sometimes all you need to do is make a simple substitution in a recipe so it will “add up right” for you, like using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, instead of sugar.

The best news of all is that your good example can be followed by the rest of your family to improve their diets, too. As I’ve often said, one of the best ways to prevent diabetes is to eat as if you already had it.

Living with diabetes is not about whether or not you can have sugar or how many carbs are in a bagel. It’s about a lifestyle that includes making the right food and beverage choices, not smoking, getting regular exercise, adequate sleep and more.

So if you’re still wondering, “Is There a Diabetic Diet?” check out this blog post about diabetic diet by fellow blogger and dietitian Hope Warshaw. You’ll find advice that’s good for us all.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Sugar substitutes help make managing diabetes a little easier

The Sweet Truth about Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com on November 6,, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about diabetes? If you thought of sugar, you’re not alone. The connection between diabetes and excess sugar in the urine was first made by a Greek physician over 2000 years ago. Back when I was studying the disease in college, patients were still expected to test the sugar content of their urine several times a day to see if they were in good control.

We have learned much more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of diabetes in the past 200 years, but its connection to sugar remains strong.

In recognition of American Diabetes Month, I’d like to share the results of some new research on the role of sugar and artificial sweeteners (sugar substitutes) in diabetes, to bring you up to date.

Two Types of Diabetes

There are two classifications of diabetes, commonly known as type 1 and type 2. Only 5 percent of people who have diabetes have type 1, and most are diagnosed when they are children or young adults. Their bodies do not produce the insulin they need to convert sugar and starches into energy, so they must take insulin by injection or other means.

People with type 2 diabetes experience high blood glucose (sugar) levels because they don’t make enough insulin or their body does not use it properly. Being overweight, inactive, and having high blood pressure are some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. You may want to take this brief “Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test” offered online for free by the American Diabetes Association.

A combination of lifestyle changes and medications can help keep blood sugar levels within normal limits in people with diabetes.

The Role of Diet in Diabetes

The treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes includes consuming a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight. This can be accomplished by following the same eating patterns recommended for us all in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (pdf). People with diabetes do not have to buy special foods or have different foods prepared for them if the meals the rest of their family is eating are well balanced, but need to be more careful managing their carbohydrate intake.

The key to managing one’s weight is to manage caloric intake. Since sugar has calories, the amount eaten must be controlled just like any other source of calories. But since most people really like sweet-tasting foods and beverages made with sugar, it’s easy to consume too much of them. That why using low calorie sweeteners, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, can be a big help. They let you enjoy the great sugar-like taste, but with few or no calories added.

In fact, numerous studies have found that the use of no-calorie sweeteners (like sucralose), can help people with diabetes in several ways. Some of the benefits of low calorie sweeteners are that they:

  • Can aid in weight loss and maintenance when used in place of sugar
  • Can help limit total carbohydrates in the diet to help regulate blood glucose levels and insulin requirements
  • Can help make reduced calorie and/or carbohydrate diets more palatable which may improve compliance
  • Can help satisfy sweet cravings without increasing hunger or appetite
  • Have no effect on gastric emptying or intestinal sweet receptors
  • Do not contribute to dental caries

Having counseled hundreds of people in my career who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I always felt it was a shame they didn’t know about the healthy diet and lifestyle I was recommending to them before they got the disease, because if they had it’s possible that they could have prevented it. So to commemorate American Diabetes Month, I’d like to recommend to everyone who does not have diabetes to adopt this way of life to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

References:

Polonsky KS. The Past 200 Years in Diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2012;367:1332-1340

Jophnson CA, Stevens B, Foreyt J. The Role of Low-calorie Sweeteners in Diabetes. US Endocr.2013;9(1):13-15

Anderson GH, Foreyt J, Sigman-Grant M, Allison DB. The use of low-calorie sweeteners by adults: impact on weight management. J Nutr.2012;142:1163S–1169S

Phelan S, Lang W, Jordan D, Wing RR. Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always-normal weight individuals, Int J Obes.(Lond).2009;33(10):1183–1190

Peters JC, Wyatt HR, Foster GD, Pan Z, Wojtanowski A, Vander Veur SS, Herring SJ, Brill C, Hill JO. The Effects of Water and Non-Nutritive Sweetened Beverages on Weight Loss During a 12-week Weight Loss Treatment Program. Obesity. June 2014;22(6):1415-1421

Piernas C, Tate DF, Wang X, Popkin BM. Does diet-beverage intake affect dietary consumption patterns? Results from the Choose Healthy Options Consciously Everyday (CHOICE) randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. March 2013;97(3):604-61

Konstantina Argyri, Alexios Sotiropoulos, Eirini Psarou, Athanasia Papazafiropoulou, Antonios Zampelas, Maria Kapsokefalou. Dessert Formulation Using Sucralose and Dextrin Affects Favorably Postprandial Response to Glucose, Insulin, and C-Peptide in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Rev Diabet Stud. 2013; 10(1):39-48

Wu T, Bound MJ, Standfield SD, Bellon M, Young RL, Jones KL, Horowitz M, Rayner CK. Artificial sweeteners have no effect on gastric emptying, glucagon-like peptide-1, or glycemia after oral glucose in healthy humans. Diab Care.2013;36:e202-e203

Espinosa I, Fogelfeld L. Tagatose: from a sweetener to a new diabetic medication?Expert Opin Investig Drugs.2010;19(2):285–294.

 

Use these checklists to see if you are developing diabetes

Are You Developing Diabetes?

This post was written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can read the original post here.

USE THESE CHECKLISTS TO SEE IF YOU ARE DEVELOPING DIABETES

One of the biggest threats of gaining 20 pounds is the increased risk of developing diabetes. Twenty pounds is all it takes to go from a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 21 to an unhealthy one of 25. That is the point on the BMI chart when you are considered overweight.

Being overweight is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes in both children and adults.

Why the Disconnect Between Overweight and Diabetes?

When I was in private practice, many of my new clients who had gained 20 pounds came in saying they didn’t like the way they looked or how their clothes fit — as if that was all that was at stake. When I was writing The Wedding Dress Diet, many of the brides-to-be I talked to admitted they would probably gain 20 pounds after they got married — as if it didn’t matter.

Obviously, the connection between being overweight and diabetes had not hit home because whenever I asked anyone how they felt about getting diabetes, they shuddered. Being a little pudgy was one thing, having diabetes was quite another.

Sadly, the message still has not sunk in. Nearly 26 million Americans now have diabetes and three times that many are pre-diabetic – people with elevated blood glucose levels that are not quite high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. That’s 75 million people who almost have diabetes!

If you or someone you know is concerned about developing diabetes, use the checklists below recognize the risks and warning signs, then get the help you need to prevent or treat it.

Who is At Risk of Developing Diabetes?

  • Overweight or obese with a BMI of 25 or higher
  • Waist circumference greater than 35 inches in men and 32 inches in women
  • Woman who had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighting more than 9 pounds
  • Low HLD cholesterol of 35 mg/dL or less
  • High triglyceride level of 250 mg/dL or more
  • High blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or greater
  • Family history of diabetes in parents or siblings
  • Low physical activity level of exercising less than 3 times a week

Early Warning Signs of Diabetes

  • Blurry, clouded vision – once blood sugar is lowered, vision returns to normal
  • Increased thirst and hunger – not satisfied after drinking or eating
  • Frequent urination – 20 or more times a day
  • Always tired, weak, fatigued – even after sleeping since cells can’t get the energy they need
  • Sudden, unexplained weight loss –the body is breaking down muscle and fat for energy

Tests Used to Diagnose Diabetes

  • Fasting blood glucose: 126 mg/dL or greater on 2 separate tests. Blood sample is taken after not eating or drinking anything for at least 8 hours, but not more than 16 hours
  • Casual blood glucose: 200 mg/dL or greater. Blood sample used is taken at any time regardless of last meal
  • Glucose tolerance test: 200 mg/dL at the 2-hour reading. Blood glucose is tested after fasting, then a sweet liquid containing a known amount of sugar is consumed and blood glucose is tested periodically for up to two hours.
  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C): 6.5% or greater. Used to tell blood glucose control over the previous 2-3 months.

Goals for Treating Diabetes

  • Maintain blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible with changes in diet and exercise and, if needed, medication
  • Lose at least 10% of body weight to improve symptoms, maintain a BMI of 25 or less to eliminate diabetes

Dietary Objectives for Diabetes

  • Eat meals and snack at the same times every day
  • Distribute total calories evenly among meals, don’t skip meals or eat just one or two big meals
  • Increase soluble fiber content in meals from oatmeal, oat bran, beans, lentils, barley, flax seed, nuts, apples, pears, oranges celery, and carrots.
  • Control the type of carbohydrates eaten by choosing “whole grain” breads and cereals over refined grains, raw and cooked vegetables and whole fruits instead of juice.
  • Limit the amount of carbohydrate to 45-60 grams per meal, including carbohydrates from added sugars
  • Pay attention to all of the ingredients in “sugar free” foods and those made with sugar substitutes
  • Use healthier fats and oils, such as olive and canola oil, and limit saturated fat and trans fat to reduce heart disease risk

See these related stories on diabetes.

  • Fast Eaters Have Greater Risk of Diabetes Than Slow Eaters
  • A Secret Weapon to Help Control Diabetes: Barley
  • Tired All the Time? 11 Reasons Why (Besides Lack of Sleep)
Eating too fast is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes

Fast Eaters Have Greater Risk of Diabetes Than Slow Eaters

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you read the blog here.

EATING TOO FAST WAS FOUND TO BE AN INDEPENDENT RISK FACTOR FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES

If you are among the fast eaters at the table you are at risk of becoming overweight. Part of the problem is you are first in line for seconds while everyone else is still nibbling on their first portion. Another is you miss the signal that tells you when you’ve had enough because your plate is empty before the food reaches your stomach and has a chance to send it to your brain.

Now research indicates fast eaters have 2.5-times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to slow eaters.

Eating Too Fast is an Independent Risk Factor

We already know being overweight or obese increases your odds of developing diabetes, but this study found eating too fast was an independent indicator of who might get diabetes.

The findings were presented at the joint International Congress of Endocrinology and European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy earlier this month. The researchers collected information about possible diabetes risk factors from 234 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and 468 people who did not have the disease. After adjusting the data for known risk factors, such as family history, body mass index, and waist circumference, the researchers found a more than two-fold increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes associated with those who reported faster eating habits.

The scientists could not explain why wolfing down your food was linked to type 2 diabetes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action while waiting for one. The importance of this study is that it identifies a risk factor that people can modify, while genetic predisposition to diabetes and some environmental factors that contribute to it are beyond our control.

Ways to Slow Down How Fast Your Eat

  • Eat with chop sticks (if not your usual utensil)
  • Use your non-dominant hand
  • Use a cocktail fork or other small cutlery
  • Wear a dental appliance (like a retainer)
  • Pace yourself with a slow eater
  • Put your fork or hand-held food down between bites
  • Count how long you chew each mouthful (shoot for at least 20 chews)
  • Swallow everything in your mouth before taking another bite
  • Don’t take seconds until everyone at the table has finished eating, or wait at least 10 minutes
  • Take a sip of water between each bite of food
  • Cut your food into very small pieces
  • Play background music with a slow tempo
  • Turn off any other distractions, like TV, so you can pay attention to your food

Engage in conversation, but never with food in your mouth

New research shows good results when diet drinks are part of overall healthy diet

Can Diet Drinks Be Part of Healthy Diet?

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you read the blog here.

NEW RESEARCH SHOWS GOOD RESULTS WHEN DIET DRINKS ARE PART OF OVERALL HEALTHY DIET

Links between the consumption of diet drinks and health problems have been reported in the past, but no smoking gun has ever been found. Now researchers have uncovered the secret weapon. Eating a healthy diet, with or without diet drinks, lowers the risk for chronic disease.

Does this come as a surprise to you? It certainly doesn’t to me. I have always professed that no single food or ingredient, including diet beverages, is responsible for obesity or the diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer that go with it.

Here’s what the latest study found.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at the dietary patterns of more than 4000 Americans who were between the ages of 18 and 30 when the study began in the mid-1980s. Subjects were classified as having a “Prudent” diet made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, milk, fish, nuts and seeds or a “Western” diet with higher intakes of fast food, processed food, meat, poultry, pizza, sugar, and snacks.

Over the course of 20 years, 827 participants in the study developed metabolic syndrome. After considering other risk factors, such as body weight and level of exercise, the researchers evaluated the relationship between the use of diet beverages and the two dietary patterns and the risk of metabolic syndrome. This is what they found.

Those who ate a:

  • Prudent diet with no diet drinks had the lowest risk of metabolic syndrome
  • Prudent diet with diet drinks had a slightly higher risk (2%) of metabolic syndrome
  • Western diet with diet soda had the highest risk of metabolic syndrome

The researchers concluded that their study was observational and does not prove diet drinks have a negative effect on health. But there’s another way to look at the results. Those eating a Prudent diet were more likely to consume diet drinks than those eating a Western diet, which suggests a strong link between diet drinks and healthier diets.

How would you rate your diet over the past 20 years?

Dried Fruit Can Help Meet Daily Fruit Requirements

Getting More Fruit in Your Diet is Easy With Dried Fruit

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

QUICK Q/A ON DRIED FRUIT SHOWS HOW EASY IT IS TO GET RECOMMENDED SERVINGS OF FRUIT ALL YEAR ROUND

Dried fruit is a nutritious, delicious and affordable way to meet the dietary guideline to consume 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit each day. It can also help expand the variety in the diet when fresh fruit is not available. And it may even provide more nutritional benefits than the fresh fruit in your market if that has traveled from other continents to provide varieties that are not in season anywhere close to your home.

To explain why dried fruit may be a good option to meeting your daily fruit requirement this winter here’s aQuick Q/A on Dried Fruit:

What happens when fruit is dried?

Drying, or dehydrating, involves removing 82%-97% of the water, depending on the type of fruit.

How is it done?

Dehydrating can be done naturally by the sun or by using dehydrators. It takes about 3 days in 100° F temperatures to dry fruit in the sun or 10-20 hours at 120-140° F in an electric dehydrator.

Is anything added to dried fruit?

Sulfur dioxide may be added to block browning reactions that darken the color of the fruit. Check the food label if you are allergic to this safe preservative.

Sugar is added to some fruits before or after drying to sweeten them, such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, mangoes and strawberries. Again, check the label.

Is dried fruit higher in calories?

Calories are not affected by drying a piece of fruit, but the calories are higher in an equal volume of dried fruit compared to fresh. A grape has 4 calories whether eaten fresh or as a raisin, however about 32 seedless grapes fit into a cup while 120 raisins can fit into that same cup.

Is dried fruit as nutritious as fresh?

  • Some heat-sensitive vitamins, such as Vitamin C, can be affected by the high temperatures used to dry fruit. Those losses are no more significant than what can occur when fresh fruit is harvested early to be transported long distances and stored for extended periods of time before consumption.
  • Dried fruits are an important source of antioxidants and other naturally occurring phytonutrients, such as flavanols and anthocyanins, which have many health benefits.
  • Fiber content of fruit is not affected by dehydrating.
  • Like fresh fruit, dried fruit contains no cholesterol and practically no fat and has very low sodiumcontent.

Why is dried fruit so sweet?

  • The sweeter taste of dried fruit is due to the concentration of the natural sugars in it once the moisture has been removed.
  • Fruit that is going to be dried is allowed to fully ripen before it’s harvested, which enhances the naturalsweetness.

Can people with diabetes eat dried fruit?

Any form of fruit can be used by people with diabetes, whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried or as juice. It’s the serving size and number of servings in your meal plan that matters.

What advantages are there to including dried fruits in my diet?

  • Dried fruits have a long shelf life since drying inhibits bacterial growth.
  • Long shelf life makes dried fruit price-stable and available year round.
  • It’s easy to use dried fruit since they don’t require peeling, seeding or other preparation.
  • Dried fruit is convenient to take with you when traveling away from home.