Question: I found out I have pre-diabetes.  I’m very confused and don’t know what I should do to treat it.  My friend told me to avoid all fruits.  Could you help me with how to treat my new diagnosis and if it’s ok to eat fruit?

Answer:

As with any diagnosis, you should first speak with your doctor about your unique personal goals and health concerns.  A registered dietitian may also be able to make detailed recommendations for you.  In the meantime, gradually making smaller steps to a healthier lifestyle may be the key to reversing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Increasing your physical activity to about 30 minutes of moderate intensity daily is currently recommended along with a healthy diet.  Choosing foods high in fiber and whole grains are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.  Also, choosing “healthy fats” rather than saturated fats (see previous blog entry) may improve insulin sensitivity in individuals with pre-diabetes.

You’ll be happy to hear you do not need to eliminate all fruits from your diet.  Fresh fruits are an excellent source of nutrients and fiber.  Keep in mind mostly all calories from fruits are from carbohydrates, so make sure to speak to your doctor or registered dietitian about how many servings are acceptable for you.  Dried fruits tend to be higher in sugar, so choose this type of fruit less often.  If you like the convenience of frozen or canned fruits, remember to choose options that do not add extra sugar from juice or syrup.  As with every food choice, remain mindful of your portion sizes.  For example, 1 small apple counts as 1 carbohydrate choice according to the American Diabetes Association.

Almonds and Diabetes

January 28, 2011

Question:  I have diabetes and love snacking on nuts (particularly smoked/flavored almonds).  Are nuts ok to snack on and if so, are there certain types I should look for?

Answer:

GOOOO nuts!  First of all, you are definitely treating your body well by already snacking on nuts.  Although you may notice this crunchy snack is high in fat, you’ll be glad to know they are rich in the “healthy” kind rather than the “bad”.  Not only are they rich in unsaturated fat, but they are also a good source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.  To top it all off, they have a low glycemic index (1oz. of dry-roasted almonds have a glycemic load of 0).  Also, compared to other nuts, almonds in particular have a higher amount of fiber (20-24 whole almonds contain about 3g fiber).  A recent study conducted by the University of Toronto proved that nuts may be an essential way to manage diabetes.  More specifically, they may improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Now, which types are good?  Choose nuts that are either raw or dry-roasted.  This indicates the nuts are not processed in oil.  Keep in mind the calorie content of nuts.  Moderation is key!  One ounce (20-24 whole almonds) provide about 160 calories, 14g fat, 6g carbohydrates, and 6g protein.  You may have noticed how filling they are!  Read the nutrition labels carefully on flavored nuts, as they may be adding significant amounts of sugar or salt.  Here are some healthier suggestions:

1 oz. Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds:  150 calories, 13g fat, 6g carb., 1g sugar, 3g fiber, 6g protein (great for when you’re craving chocolate!)

1 oz. Blue Diamond Oven-Roasted Almonds:  170 calories, 15g fat, 5g carb., 1g sugar, 6g protein.

1 oz. Planters NUT-rition Smoked Almonds:  160 calories, 14g fat, 6g carb., 1g sugar, 6g protein.

Blood Sugar Testing

January 23, 2011

Question: How often should I check my glucose if I have type 2 diabetes?

Answer: Regular self-monitoring of blood glucose is extremely important in order to identify your current glucose status as well as what may be the cause of your current glucose status. You may want to first speak with your physician to implement a blood glucose monitoring schedule along with a target blood glucose goal. Often individuals with type 2 diabetes should check their glucose one to four times per day during the following times:
-before breakfast
-before large meals
-2 hours after large meals
You may also wish to keep a record of your glucose levels throughout the day in order to manage what may be causing any abnormal results. Your health care provider can further evaluate your records to help you distinguish daily patterns in your blood glucose levels.

Diabetes & Smoothies

January 13, 2011

Question:  I have type 2 diabetes.  I am wondering if I could have fruit smoothies?  If I can, which ingredients I should include and avoid?

Answer:  Not only are smoothies an excellent way to include colorful fruits into your daily schedule, but they are also convenient and simple to whip up!  There are so many variations to smoothies, so the possibilities are endless.  Just remember to stay mindful of the portion sizes you throw into the blender, because adding too many ingredients into the mix can often go unnoticed.  This is where you can put your measuring cups to good use!  Here are some combinations to get you started:

–         Measure 1 cup of any of these as your smoothie base:

  • Low fat or fat-free milk
  • Low fat, low sugar yogurt
  • Low fat, low sugar Greek yogurt (makes an extra creamy smoothie!)
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Water

–         Measure 1 cup frozen or fresh fruit or simply choose any medium-sized fruit:

  • Mango
  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Pineapple
  • Cherries

–         Add a tablespoon of one of these for an optional add-in:

  • Cocoa nibs or powder
  • Flaxseeds
  • Granola
  • Nutmeg or cinnamon (just a pinch)
  • Vanilla extract (about a tsp.)

To adjust the flavor or texture, just add ice or water and blend!  For a decadent dessert, try topping with a dollop of sugar free cool-whip.  Enjoy!  And remember, moderation is key.

A:  According to The American Diabetes Association, A1C percentages between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate Pre-Diabetes.  Fasting blood sugar levels that fall between 100 and 125 also indicate Pre-Diabetes.  Considering each of your lab tests display numbers within these ranges, you may want to discuss with your doctor whether these results along with any other symptoms you may have indicate a diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes.

Recent studies have shown that people with Pre-Diabetes can prevent or slow the progression of Type 2 Diabetes by about 58% through simple lifestyle changes such as moderate weight loss and physical activity.  During your next visit with your doctor, he/she may discuss with you ways to reduce your elevated blood sugar levels.  The American Diabetes Association suggests including 30 minutes or more each day of moderate exercise.  This can include brisk walking, swimming, dancing, etc.  Also, replacing refined carbohydrate sources with whole grain alternatives that are high in fiber has been associated with prevention of Type 2 Diabetes.  Finally, talk to your doctor about having your fasting blood sugar levels checked again in about 3 to 6 months for re-evaluation.  Good luck! And remember, early prevention CAN rewind the clock and put you back on track to a healthier lifestyle.

Hello world!

December 29, 2010

I greatfully received the honor of volunteering as a Nutrition Editor at http://foodpicker.org – a website designed to help people with diabetes make healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices.  I recently graduated from the Dietetics program at Montclair State University.  Nutrition and wellness have always been an interest of mine!  It is amazing just how much of an impact nutrition plays in our individual lifestyles!  Who said living with diabetes means not enjoying delicious, wholesome foods?