Question received from FOODPICKER.org

04/18/2010

“Since I live alone, I rarely cook (if ever).  I have type 2 diabetes and I’m wondering which is better… eating frozen dinners or restaurant food?  Thank you for your help.”

   It’s all about making healthy choices whether you are eating a frozen dinner at home or eating at a restaurant.  A frozen dinner will provide you with a nutrition label which will show you how many grams of carbohydrates in a serving or the whole frozen dinner.  Sometimes frozen dinners will be high in calories, fat, and sodium.  Compare the nutrition labels when purchasing frozen dinners.  When eating at a restaurant it may be a little more difficult to estimate how many grams of carbohydrates you meal contains.   I recommend purchasing a book called Calorie King.  This book provides calories, fat grams, and grams of carbohydrates for meal items at many popular restaurant chains and fast food chains.  The book is small and can be carried in a purse or a glove compartment of a car.  FOODPICKER.org has nutrient information for many restaurants also.  You could also search for your favorite restaurant on-line.  Many of  restaurant websites provide nutrition information for meals.    When eating out it is important to make healthy food choices, especially if you eat out on a regular basis.  Stick with baked or broiled lean meats and fish.  Try and limit fried foods.  Order water or unsweetened tea instead of soda or sweet tea.  Allow yourself to order dessert once a week instead of at every meal.  Have the server bring a to go box when you food arrives, take half the meal home with you.  Creamy soups and pasta dishes are high in fat.    Always include a vegetable or fruit with each meal. 

**Remember a serving of carbohydrate equals 15 grams of carbohydrates.  Women should consume 3-4 servings of carbohydrates per meal and men shoud consume 4-5 servings of carbohydrates at a meal.

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Question received from FOODPICKER.org

04/10/2010

“My 45 year-old husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few months ago.  Is it true that you can reverse diabetes?”

There is no cure for diabetes.  But there are ways to manage or prevent blood sugar levels from becoming to high.  It is important that your husband (and you) start eating a healthy diet and exercising.  Implementing these two very important factors into your lifestyle can help manage and control your husbands blood sugar levels.

Question I received from FOODPICKER.ORG

04/05/2010

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

Hmm, good question.  And honestly, the only answer I have for that question is this:  Always read the food label.  The food label will tell you how many grams of sugar that specific food item contains per serving.  It is important to be aware of the amount of sugar when trying to control blood sugars, but it is also important to know how many grams of carbohydrates are in the food item.  Just like sugar, carbohydrates raise blood sugar.

“Sugar free” products are really sugar free.  The sugar is replaced by artificial sweeteners are such as sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin.  Sugar alcohols are also used to sweeten food items and are really sugar free.  Sugar free products are usually low in carbohydrates and can be used as an alternative to sugar for someone living with diabetes.

Question received from FOODPICKER.org

03/28/2010

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

A fasting blood glucose of 126 mg/dl or a two-hour post plasma glucose of 200 mg/dl defines diabetes.  Do not self diagnose yourself, speak with you doctor regarding your blood glucose levels.  There are three ways to control blood glucose: medication, a carbohydrate controlled diet, and exercise.   There are many medications that will help control blood glucose.  Many medications that help control blood glucose levels are found in pill or injection form.  Carbohydrate controlled diets allow a specific amount of carbohydrates at each meal.  If you are interested in learning about a carbohydrate controlled diet, find a dietitian in your area.  A dietitian will help you understand what foods are considered carbohydrates and how many carbohydrates are allowed at each meal.  Exercise is a great way to help lower blood sugars.  They have a lowering effect that can last from 12-24 hours.  Try walking once a day for 20 minutes. 

      *Remember, it is very important to check your blood glucose levels two hours after eating a meal.

Question received from FOODPICKER.ORG

03/21/2010

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

 Pre-diabetes is a medical condition that can be treated.  By making changes in your diet and increasing physical activity, it is possible to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.  You are in the right direction already and with a strong mind and motivation you can lose weight and decrease your risk of developing diabetes.  Now lets address your question regarding the amount of fruits and vegetables you should be consuming each day.

  • Replacing fruits and vegetables with unhealthy snacks is a great way to help you lose weight.
  • You can eat as many fruits and non starchy vegetables as you would like.  Try to consume 2-3 servings of fruits and day and 2-3 servings of non-starchy vegetables.
  • Starchy vegetables will make your blood sugars rise.  These vegetables include sweet and baked potatoes, winter squash, mashed potatoes, peas, and beans.  You don’t have to eliminate these from your  diet, but consume them in moderation.
  • A serving of any raw fruit or vegetable is 1/2 cup and a serving of cooked fruits or vegetables is 1 cup.  A serving of fruit or vegetable juice is 6 ounces.
  • For more information on healthy eating habits visit these online resources:

www.foodpicker.org 

 www.diabetes.org

www.eatright.org

Question received from FOODPICKER.org

03/14/2010

“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?”

Your right, lots of foods contain carbohydrates and sugars.  They are not bad for your body.  They provide your body with energy.  Carbohydrates will make your blood sugars rise, but this does not mean that they must be avoided.    Understanding how many carbohydrates you are allowed to consume in one day will help manage blood sugar levels.  Learning about carbohydrates and how to eat the recommended amount will put you in charge of managing diabetes.  Start with these tips:

1.  It is critical that you learn how to read nutrition labels.  Nutrition labels are located on every food product that comes in a box.  The nutrition label includes the serving size, servings per container,  fat grams, calories, carbohydrate grams, protein grams and many more nutrient information.  It is important to remember that all of the information included on the different nutrients are based on the serving size. Learn how to locate the serving size and  total carbohydrate grams.  These two components are necessary to find and follow when trying to manage blood sugar levels.   Also, it is not important to pay too much attention to the sugar grams, they are already counted as part of the total carbohydrate.

2.  Foods such as fruits and vegetables do not come with a nutrition label.  You can find nutrient information on these foods online or in reference books.   FOODPICKER.org provides nutrient information for many different foods.  Calorieking.com is also another resource to try.

3.  Once you understand how to find the serving size and carbohydrate grams for a food item, the next step is to understand how many carbohydrates someone living with diabetes is allowed.  The general rule is that a male can consume 4-5 servings of carbohydrates per meal.  A female can consume 3-4 servings of carbohydrates per meal.  For snacks, 1 serving of carbohydrates is allowed.  What makes up a servings of carbohydrates? This is a very important component so remember this next part: ONE SERVING EQUALS 15 GRAMS OF CARBOHYDRATES.

For example: From the nutrition label you find that a serving of baked beans is 1/2 cup.  In that 1/2 cup, there are 29 grams of carbohydrates.  Divide the number of grams of total carbohydrates by 15 (because 1 carb serving = 15 grams of carbs). So the baked beans equal 2 carbohydrate servings.  

           * If the food item has 5 or more grams of fiber, subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbohydrates.

4. Examples of carbohydrate choices (these are the foods that will raise your blood sugar and the foods that you count the servings of carbohydrates for:

  • breads, cereals, grains, pasta and rice
  • starchy vegetables (corn, peas, Lima beans, mixed vegetables, sweet and bakes potatoes, squash, acorn, and mashed potatoes.
  • dried beans
  • fruit and fruit juice
  • milk
  • sweets and sweet drinks

Proteins such as meats, nuts, and eggs will not raise blood sugars.  Nuts are a great snack because they will not raise blood sugars.

Question receieved from FOODPICKER.org

03/07/2010

“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 is a 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 is diabetes without going hungry.  Where do we start?  Any suggestions would help us a lot.”

Being diagnosed with any disorder or disease may seem overwhelming and scary; you may even feel lost.  The first thing to do is accept the situation and learn as much as you can about the disease and disorder.  There are many resources online, at local health departments and hospitals that have trained professionals to help you on the journey of understanding and learning about Type 1 diabetes. 

So what is going on in the body when someone is diagnosed with Type 1.  The pancreas is an organ that produces insulin.  Insulin is like a key that unlocks a cell so the glucose or sugar can enter the cell.  In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas has lost the ability to make insulin, so the glucose or sugar can not get into the cell.  This causes the blood sugar to rise.  This is why someone with Type 1 diabetes has to receive insulin injections.

It is important that your grandson has a support system.  Family is a great support system.  It is important that the family learns how to manage diabetes just as your grandson does.  It is also important to have a primary doctor along with a registered dietitian on your team.  A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition professional that will guide and help you manage blood sugar levels through your diet.  Most hospitals and health departments have a registered dietitian on staff.  Since your grandson does not have health insurance, I would suggest contacting your local health department.  They offer health services at a low fee.  Ask if they have a registered dietitian on staff who would be willing to counsel your grandson and your family on Type 1 diabetes. Also, it is very important that your grandson sign up with a health insurance provider.  There are many tools and medications that are necessary when managing diabetes.  Here are some online resources to help you gather more information on diabetes.

www.eatright.org

www.diabetes.org

www.foodpicker.org

http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/

Question I recieved from Foodpicker.org

02/24/2010

Question I recieved from Foodpicker.org:

I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  During the day at work I eat very little, but in the evenings and weekends, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen.  Do you have any suggestions to control my snacking in the evenings and weekends?

For someone living with diabetes it is very important to eat meals throughout the day, rather than eating a large meal at night.   This large meal at night may have more than 4-5 servings of carbohydrates and may be making you feel more full in the morning so you don’t want to eat breakfast.  It is also important to eat meals throughout the day to decrease the risk of becoming hypoglycemic.  Do you recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia? Having a routine eating meal is going to help keep your blood sugar levels more consistant.  Try and break your habit of eating mostly at night.  I know it can be hard to break a routine, but it is very important that you take control of your eating habits to reduce the risk of diabetes associated complications.

Tips for Eating

  • A serving of carbohydrate is 15 grams.  For a male living with diabetes, 4-5 servings of carbohydrates are allowed per meal.  For a female living with diabetes, 3-4 servings of carbohydrates are allowed. 1-2 servings of carbohydrates are allowed for snacks, twice a day.
  • Read food labels.  Food labels show the serving size and the carbohydrate grams in the food item.  Knowing and following the correct serving size is critical in counting carbohydrates and maintaining blood sugar levels.  
  • If time is limited in the morning to prepare breakfast, prepare breakfast the night before. 
  • Bring your lunch and snacks to work.  Make sure to eat lunch and snacks before your work day is over.  You may feel that you are not as hungry when you get home.
  • Snack on healthy snacks such as apples and peanut butter, whole wheat crackers and cheddar cheese, popcorn, cut up vegetables with a low-fat dressing.
  • Try to limit sweet drinks such as tea or soda.  Remember, they are high in carbohydrates and will make blood sugar levels rise.
  • This may be a hard one, but do not keep unhealthy snacks in the house.  If they are not in the house, then there is not a temptation to eat them!
  • It is so important to check blood sugar levels 2 hours after consuming a meal.  This reading will show you if you are consuming to many carbohydrates.  This reading is also what determines your A1C.

Welcome

02/14/2010

Hello, my name is Ruhamah Nuccio. I am enrolled in a dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian. I am also a nutrition editor for http://FOODPICKER.ORG, a website designed to help people with diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease that when left uncontrolled may lead to renal, heart, vision, nerve, and foot damage. Currentlyy, I am interning at a health department that offers 10 hours of diabetes managment classes.

As a nutrition and dietetics professional, I want to share current, up to date knowledge that will benefit lives in a healthy and positive way. Please feel free to ask any questions relating to food and nutrition.