Sunday, December 12, 2010

Diabetes and Weight Loss

Here is a question I recently received from

I have type 2 Diabetes but am not on meds yet. I am trying to control by diet and exercise. My problem is now that I am eating healthier I am losing weight, and I don’t need to. I am 5’5” and currently weigh 112 lbs. What can I eat that is still good for me but will put some weight back on?

Losing weight by eating healthier and participating in regular exercise is a great way to help control diabetes. However, you also want to make sure you are maintaining a healthy body weight.

First off, be sure you are consuming regular meals and not exercising excessively. 20-30 minutes of moderate physical activity is what is recommended for all Americans. Also be sure you are eat at least 3 meals per day containing all the food groups.

Here are some tips to improve your diet.

*Make good carb choices. This means choose more complex carbohydrates (whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low fat dairy products) as opposed to refined carbohydrates.

*Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated, especially if you work out. Many people mistake hunger for thirst, so if you feel hungry, drinka glass of water, wait 15-20 minutes, and reassess your hunger level. However, do not drink water right before meals, as you will fee full because you have filled up on water.

*Incorporate heart healthy fats into your diet, such as olive/canola oils and nuts. However, be careful, as a little bit of these foods go a long way.

*If you still feel you need to increase your caloric intake, increase your consumption of lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables, as these foods do not affect blood sugars much.

Good luck to you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Carbohydrate Choices

Here is a question I recently received from

I am very confused. I have been told to have 3-4 carbohydrate choices at each meal. Could you help me figure out what one of these carbohydrates equates to? Is it one gram of carbohydrate or one item containing carbohydrate? Please help!

Carbohydrate choices or carbohyrate servings are used as a guide to help diabetics choose proper portions of carbohydrates to monitor their glucose levels. 1 carbohydrate choice or serving is equivalent to 15 grams of carbohydrate. This equates to 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal.

As far a portion sizes go, use this list as a guide. Each of these items is equivalent to 1 cabohydrate serving or 15 grams of carbohydrate:

*Starch (1/2 cup cooked cereal/corn/ cooked pean or peas/grits, 3/4 cup dry unsweetened cereal, 1 slice bread, 1/2 small bagel of English muffin, (1) 4" square waffle, 1 small biscuit/muffin, (1) 6" tortilla, )1) 2" cube cornbread, 6 cracker squares,1/2 hamburger or hot dig bun, 1 cup winter squash, 1 cup soup, 3 cups popcorn, 3 graham cracker squares, 3 sugar-free cookies, 1/2" slice angel food cake, 3 gingersnaps)
*Fruit (1 small piece of freah fruit, 1 cup fresh berries or melon, 1/2 cup canned fruit, 1/4 cup dried fruit, 1/2 cup 100% unsweetened fruit juice)
*Milk (1 cup low fat milk or yogurt).

As always, be careful with portion sizes and choose more nutrient-dense foods (ex. eating whole fruit over fruit juice). Also remember to read food labels for pertinent nutrition information.

Good luch and happy holidays!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

My husband was diagnosed with diabetes as few months ago and has been working hard to lose weight and control his blood sugar. Each year we have a family gathering for thanksgiving that includes lots of food (large turkey dinner with all the trimmings and assorted pies & cakes for dessert). What are your suggestions to ensure my husband doesn’t overeat but also does not feel deprived this thanksgiving?

As the holidays roll around, it is very easy to over-indulge with the excess amounts of treats to go around (for diabetic patients and non-diabetic patients alike).

Here are some tips to stay on track.

*Eat a light meal prior to going to an event. You will be less likely to overindulge.
*Stay away from the serving table! If you are near all of the finger foods while socializing, it is a lot easier to mindlessly eat.
*Fill up on lean proteins (ex. white turkey) and non-starchy vegetables. Be very careful about portion sizes on starches (ex. rolls, casseroles, potatoes, corn, noodles, gravy).
*Drink water during the meal and right before eating.
*Desserts- don't deprive yourself or you'll end up wanting more! Allow yourself a small serving of your dessert of choice.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Soup is Super!

Here is a question I recently received from

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last spring. I enjoy eating hearty soups in the fall and winter months. Can I still eat soup? Are there any soups that are better for me to eat than others?

Soup can be a great meal or snack, as long as you do your research! Studies have shown that soup can actually increase your satiety if eaten prior to a meal. However, use these tips to help you select a healthy option.

*If you can, make your own soup! Canned or ready made soups are usually high in sodium, so be sure to investigate the nutrition facts prior to purchasing and consuming.
*Be careful with "Low sodium" or "Reduced sodium" soups. Read food labels before purchasing. These products often contain a significant amount of sodium and claims are based upon reductions from the original product.
*Choose broth-based soups over cream based soups.
*Add lean proteins to soup, such as beans, lentils, fish, ans chicken to make a complete meal. Beans and lentils will also boost fiber intake.
*Add plenty of non-starchy vegetables to soup to increase vegetable consumption and get those 5 daily servings in.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Type the query "SuperFoods" into your search engine of choice and you will most certainly find a myriad of lists from various authors on their picks for "SuperFoods".

These "SuperFoods", known more scientifically as neutraceuticals, provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. A wide variety of foods are included in these lists.

After attending a seminar on functional foods this week, I was inspired to choose my Top5 "SuperFoods" to share with the world. Perhaps this will inspire you to include some of these in your diet.

Top 5 SuperFoods

1. Eggs. Eggs get a bad reputation, but they are actually a very nutritious food. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods- think about how many ways eggs can be prepared (scrambled, boiled, fried, poached, etc). Additionally, eggs are an inexpensive source of protein. They also are high in lutein, a corotenoid which promotes eye and skin health. More specifically, a research study at Tufts has shown that luteincan protect against eye disease such as cataracts and macular degeneration and lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

2. Salmon It's delicious, but salmon also provides high amounts of DHA and omega-3 fatty acids to promote heart health and brain function. Your parents were right when they said fish is "brain food". Another plus is salmon is very easy to prepare- simply bake or broil with lemon juice, garlic, dill, and/or other spices. Not sold on salmon? Try tuna, which offers many of the same benefits as salmon.

3. Sweet Potatoes. This fantastic vegetable is high in vitamin A, a nutrient which is known for improving eyesight. The bright orange color is a clear indicator that this superfood is packed with nutrition.
sweet potatoes have a great flavor by themselves. While sweet potatoes are often served with sugar, butter, and other sweeteners, take the sweet potato challenge: consume a whole sweet potato without all the additives and be surprised at how good it naturally tastes. Added bonus: sweet potatoes are full of fiber, making you feel very full after consumption and less likely to indulge in extra calories during the day.

4. Spinach. Popeye's super-strength resulting from consuming a can of spinach is not all fiction. While you will probably not receive super-human strength instantaneously, spinach is very rich in antioxidants, calcium, and iron. By including spinach regularly in your diet, you, too, can be "strong the finish", with all of the nutritional benefits it has to offer.

5. Green Tea. Green tea is another very rich-antioxidant food. There have been links to green tea to manage and/or prevent a wide variety of health conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity. Tea is delicious and calorie-free. An added bonus: it soothes you on a cold day or when you are feeling ill.

These are my Top 5 SuperFoods. What are yours?

Diet and Weight Loss

Here is a question I recently received from

My doctor has diagnosed me with diabetes and has told me to lose weight. I have heard about high protein diets, low fat/high carb diets, and many others. I want a sound diet instead of a fad. What type of diet is best given my situation?

A sound diet instead of a fad diet is the way to go. In most instances, fad diets are only a quick fix, omitting key food groups and depleting necessary calories and nutrients and should be used on a long term basis.

To be successful, choose a balanced diet that contains all of the food groups (starch, fruit, vegetables, dairy, fat, and protein). It is imperative that none of these components are omitted.

Weight change is based on something called "energy expenditure". This is the balance of what goes in and what goes out. By cutting calories, weight loss is achieved. At the same time, consuming more calories than needed results in weight gain. Keep a food diary to get a good picture of your typical intake and analyze to find ways you can improve.

Along with diet, regular physical activity will also help you obtain your weight loss goals.

The key to weight loss is to make small, achieveable goals and to not get discouraged. Weight loss is a process; a good weight loss should be 1-2# per week on average. Also don't get discouraged when you hit a plateau area of weight loss.

As always, consult a registered dietitian to help you with diet planning and weight loss goals. Also, speak with your primary care provider before starting any exercise or weight loss plan.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Freaky Eaters

Earlier this week, I was introduced to a new television program entitled "Freaky Eaters" on the TLC network. This show documents people with some very unusual food addictions. As a registered dietitian (RD), this show naturally intrigued me. I saw a brief snippet of the show, in which the gentleman featured in the episode claimed that he lived off a diet of 4 cheeseburgers a day. Everyday. This lead me to question "What kind of nutrient intake would one receive from solely eating 4 cheeseburgers a day?".

To explore this more thoroughly, I did a brief nutrient analysis. USDA has a great resource for anyone to track their nutrient intake. Using this program, I yielded results for just what a 4 cheeseburger a day diet entails.

First, I analyzed how this diet measured up with MyPyramid recommendations based upon eat food group. Below are the results (Intake denotes what is provided by the cheeseburger diet. Recommendations denote what is recommended by MyPyramid):

Milk Intake 1.1 cup equivalent
Milk Recommendation 3 cup equivalent

Meat and Beans Intake 4.3 oz equivalent
Meat and Beans Recommendation 6 oz equivalent

Vegetables Intake 1 cup equivalent
Vegetables Recommendation 3 cup equivalent

Fruits Intake 0 cup equivalent
Fruits Recommendation 2 cup equivalent

Grains Intake 10.5 oz equivalent
Grains Recommendation 7 oz equivalent

Or, in percentages, for those who like numbers:
Pyramid Categories Percent Recommendation
Milk 37%
Meat and Beans 72%
Vegetables 33%
Fruits 0%
Grains 150%

I then explored the nutrient values for the diet. This chart denotes the actual intake based upon recommended intake.

Nutrient Your Intake Recommendation
Food Energy/Total Calories (kcals) 1402 2294
Protein (gm) 72 46
Carbohydrate (gm) 142 130
Total Fiber (gm) 7 25
Total Fat (gm) 59.3 31.2 - 54.5
Saturated Fat (gm) 24.9 < 15.6
Monounsaturated Fat (gm) 22 **
Polyunsaturated Fat (gm) 6 **
Linoleic (omega 6) (gm) 5.3 12
Alpha Linolenic (omega 3) (gm) 0.8 1.1
Cholesterol (mg) 183 < 300
Vitamin A (mcg RAE) 152.4 700
Vitamin C (mg) 20.3 75
Vitamin E (mg a-TE) 1.7 15
Thiamin (mg) 0.9 1.1
Riboflavin (mg) 1.5 1.1
Niacin (mg) 17.2 14
Folate (mcg, DFE) 269.2 400
Vitamin B6 (mg) 1.1 1.3
Vitamin B12 (mcg) 5.2 2.4
Calcium (mg) 762 1000
Phosphorus (mg) 756.9 700
Magnesium (mg) 121.9 310
Iron (mg) 11.9 18
Zinc (mg) 12.6 8
Selenium (mcg) 87.9 55
Potassium (mg) 1270 4700
Sodium (mg) 3144 1500 - 2300

What this chart demonstrates is that this diet insufficient, as it does not meet the recommended daily requirements for many necessary nutrients. This diet lacks in calories; fiber; monounsaturated fat; polyunsaturated fat; omega 3 and 6 fats; cholesterol; vitamins A, C, E, and B-6; thiamin, folate, magnesium, iron, and potassium. This diet meets and/or exceeds the requirements for protein, carbohydrate, total fat, saturated fat, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and sodium.

Also keep in mind that this analysis was based upon cheeseburgers alone. It did not contain the usual accompaniment of a large soda and fries. In this case, I would imagine the calories, fat, and sodium would be exceeded by a long shot.

In conclusion, 4 cheeseburgers per day is not an adequate diet for anyone. An in-depth look of the lack of key nutrients proves this. While a cheeseburger can fit into a healthy diet in moderation, the same adage goes for all foods- "There can be too much of a good thing". So please be sure that your diet includes a variety of different kinds of foods from each of the food groups.

Also, before going out, check to verify the nutrient intake of foods. Most restaurants have nutrition information available and the new food labeling laws will make this information more available at more restaurants and wherever food is purchased.

Has anyone else seen this show? Thoughts?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Healthy Fats

Here is a question I recently received from

I have pre-diabetes and am confused about fats. A friend was telling me there are “healthier fats” I should be including in my diet. I thought all fats were bad? Could you tell me which fats I should include in my diet (if any)?

"Fat" has a bad reputation, but in reality, fats are a necessary part of a balanced diet. The hard part is determining which types of fats you should eat. There are two main types of fats:

*Saturated fats and trans fats. These are considered to the the "bad fats". Saturated fats are found in butter and animal fats. Trans fats are commonly found in fried and processed foods. These should be limited in the diet.

*Unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fats. There are considered to be the "good fats". Unsaturated fats (found in olive and canola oils) and Omega 3 fats (found in salmon, tuna, and nuts) are a good part of a balanced diet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

Since I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I have been really watching my carb intake. I’m not sure about beverages though. What can I drink that will not affect my blood sugar besides water? Can I have my morning coffee?

Beverages can be tricky with diabetes. Beverages such as milk, drinkable yogurts, smoothies, fruit juices, and regular soft drinks contain carbohydrate and must be counted as part of your carb intake.

There are many drinks that contain very little or no amount of carbohydrate. For example, black coffee or tea, or coffee with non-dairy creamer and sugar substitute is a good choice. Sugar-free flavored or carbonated water, diet sodas, and sugar free flavorings such as sugar-free kool aid and Crystal Light are also very good options.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

I attend a monthly book club with friends that includes a dinner potluck in which everyone contributes a dish. I have type 2 diabetes and I struggle with what to eat at the potluck. Could you offer me some tips?

Potluck can be difficult and tempting, but here are some strategies to help you stay on track.

*Eat a snack prior to going out, so you'll be less hungry and less prone to overeating.
*Choose a small plate to help with portion control.
*Look around- see what everyone brought before serving yourself.
*Drink water as your beverage.
*Stay away from the serving line! Once you have served yourself, go into another room to chat.
*Since you must also contribute, bring a healthy alternative that fits into your diet plan.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weight Loss

Here is question I recently received from

I have pre-diabetes and my doctor has told me if I don't lose weight I will end up with type 2 diabetes. I have about 75 pounds to lose. Could you tell me the best way to do this?

Weight loss is a lifestyle change; it's something that, if done correctly, does not happen quickly. It is a process. Stay away from fad diets- anything done in drastic measures usually does not equal long term results.

There are two main principles for weight loss: diet and exercise. Yes, it's easier said than done. But the important part is to make small goals for yourself to make your success measureable and more attainable. For example, you say you want to lose 70 pounds- think of your mindset. You you like to accomplish this next month? In the next year? In the next five years?

You can also break this up into smaller goals. Example: I want to lose 4 pounds this month.

"Diet" and "exercise" are dreaded words. When we think of the word diet, most people think of restrictions- what you can't eat. Instead, don't give up your favorite foods, just cut back on the portions and eat them less often. Also think of adding new foods (more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) to substitute for less healthy foods. It is a good idea to keep a food diary to get a good look of your intake and where your downfalls are.

"Exercise" is the same way. Many people think of it as something you HAVE to do and, therefore, there is often less motivation to do it. It is recommended that all adult exercise 20-30 minutes 5 times per week. When you're spending that much time on an activity, you might as well do something you enjoy! Try different things and/or bring a friend for moral support! Walking, yoga, pilates, treadmill, the possibilities are endless- as long as you're moving and your heart rate is pumping. You can also consider breaking up workouts into smaller intervals if you feel you don't have the time or stamina for a long workout.

By being dedicated and not getting discouraged, you will see results in the long run.

Also, be sure to consult your doctor before starting any regimen. It may also benefit you speak to a registered dietitian (RD) regarding your weight loss goals.

More weight loss tips are provided by this article from WEBMD:

Monday, August 9, 2010

August is Cataracts Awareness Month!

Keep Your Eye on the Veggies during Cataract Awareness Month

An estimated 22 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that prevents the passage of light needed for vision. However, with regular eye check-ups, cataracts do not have to lead to vision loss for most Americans. What you eat can help protect your vision, too.

Look for foods that provide vitamins E and C, two eye-healthy antioxidants. Vitamin E is found in nuts, vegetable oils, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes; vitamin C is found in foods like oranges, grapefruit, spinach and broccoli.

And consider this: A preliminary study suggests caffeine also might have an anti-cataract effect. So, your next cup of coffee just might keep your eyes healthy and open.

Produced by ADA’s Public Relations Team

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Popeye: Nutritional Role Model

Studies show that Popeye encourages children to follow a healthy diet by eating spinach.

Dawn Phenomenon

Here is question I recently received from

I was just told I am type 2 diabetic. My doctor told me to try to control by numbers by diet. I have noticed my blood sugar is high in the morning before I have eaten. Could you explain why?

What you are describing is called the dawn phenomenon. The dawn phenomenon is defined as an abnormal rise in glucose levels, usually between the hours of 2-8 AM.

This is caused by overnight release of hormones, such as cortisone, glucagon, epinephine, and growth hormone, which cause insulin resistance, thus leading to elevated glucose levels.

However, the dawn phenomenon may be attributed to other causes, such as:
* Not eating a carbohydrate snack at bedtime
* Adjusting your dosage of medication or insulin
* Switching to a different medication
* Using an insulin pump to administer extra insulin during early-morning hours

Therefore, it is imperative that you keep a good record of your food intake, follow your medication schedule, and check your glucose levels regularly. As always, discuss these concerns with your doctor and/or speak with a certified diabetes educator.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dangerous Supplements

This is a good read for anyone taking or considering taking dietary supplements. Be an informed consumer...
Dangerous Supplements

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Restaurant Menus and Nutrition Facts

New FDA Notice on Menu Labeling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a Federal Register notice explaining how restaurants and retail food establishments not covered by the new federal menu labeling requirements can voluntarily register to become subject to the new federal requirements. Restaurant chains with fewer than 20 locations and vending machine operators with fewer than 20 machines are examples of establishments not covered by the legislation.



Here is question I recently received from

I have diabetes and a coworker was telling me I should be taking supplements such as cinnamon and chromium to help control blood sugar. Are these safe and effective?

Supplements are a tricky subject. First, it is important to communicate with your doctor and pharmacist regarding your medications for not only polypharmacy, medication to medication interactions, but also food-drug interactions and how supplements may interfere with your medications.

As far as taking supplements go, it is better to get as many nutrients as you can with food. Taking a single supplement tends to make the food less bioavailable in your body than if you were to eat a food containing a rich source of that vitamin (In layman's terms: you'll absorb more vitamin C by eating an orange than taking a vitamin C tablet).

If you feel as if your diet is deficient in one or more nutrients, a daily multivitamin may be a good idea.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ways To Give Back...

This charity is very near and dear to my heart. Consider a small donation. All proceeds go to help Haitians help Haitians. See the end of the article for more details...

Fabiola Hyppolite has lived the last six months in a tent with more than 40 people— along with her mother, her father, her twin, and two other sisters.
Her family lost the small cinderblock home they rented in Port-au-Prince on January 12th. Today, their belongings consist of a few clothes and a large mattress, wedged among dozens of others that cover nearly all the ground under their tent.
Life since the earthquake has turned a new kind of hard for this 9-year-old. Fabiola has asthma and allergies. In the crowded conditions under the large tent provided by US AID—among several others like it in this improvised tarp “city”—the still air stays dusty and the linens off-color. There is no running water, no toilets. People cook on make-shift grills in the narrow dirt alleys running between tents. When Fabiola speaks, her raspy voice is barely audible. Her small chest heaves with every breath. There is no doctor nearby.
This summer, Fabiola and her twin, Fabienne, have at least one treat: They get to go to school. By being in their fourth-grade class, they don’t have to while away the hours of the searing midday heat under the plastic of their home. Although their school was badly damaged in the earthquake, the temporary set-up for classes is not as oppressive.
Neither of the twins would be able to attend school if it were not for Haitian Ministries’ scholarship program. With donations from people in the United States, the Tierney-Tobin Memorial Scholarship program pays the school tuitions for more than 130 students. Fabiola and Fabienne have been in the program for two years; each girl has a sponsor who has pledged to pay for her education for at least five years. Without these sponsorships, the girls would have no schooling. Since the government provides very little public education, more than 90 percent of all students in Haiti are attending private institutions. Tuitions often run higher than what families make in a year.
Right after the earthquake, Fabiola’s father lost his job as a security guard at a private home. The family decided to leave the country. Today, he wanders the city looking for work, and Fabiola’s mother usually stays at the tent. She also has a 7-year-old and another daughter who is 11.
Although the Hyppolites have no income, they have become members of a special community, forged from destitution and formed to provide at least some of the basic necessities for all the families under the tent. People pitch in whatever coins or bills they can, and someone selected as the shopper buys as
Fabiola (left) and twin Fabienne Hyppolite, in the tent where they live. much water, rice, beans, and corn as possible. Cooking is usually communal.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” says Fabiola’s 44-year-old mother, Edith.
For now, though, school is in session. Classes will end in August, and a new academic year should begin in October. Fabiola is already looking forward to next year. She likes history, geography and mathematics. And, on one Saturday afternoon under her tent, Fabiola says that she would like to send a “thank-you” to the person who has made school so wonderfully possible in her life.
If you would like to learn about sponsoring a Haitian student in primary school, secondary school, technical school, or university, please contact Haitian Ministries at: 860.638.1018; or by e-mail at: Also, you can learn about the Tierney-Tobin program at our website: (Just click “Projects/Partnerships” on the left side of the home page, and you will see “Education.”)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Diabetes and High Cholesterol

Here is a question I recently received from

I just had an appointment with my doctor and she said my A1C was 6.7 and that my cholesterol was also high. I guess I have been eating too much cheese and eggs, which raised my cholesterol. What diabetic friendly foods can I eat to help me lower my cholesterol?

Cheese and eggs may be a contributing factor, but you can still enjoy these foods while trying to lower cholesterol. You may want to limit you cheese intake or choose a reduced fat cheese. For eggs, you can eat egg white or purchase egg substitute, which is essentially egg whites with yellow food coloring. The culprit of the eff is the yolk (the yellow center part), as that part of the egg contains cholesterol. However, the whites are in the clear- they contain NO cholesterol.

Here are some other tips to improving cholesterol:
*Exercise daily
*Try to lose weight, if needed
*Use heart healthy oils, such as olive oil or canola oil
*Eat less animal based products and incorporate more vegetable proteins
*as mentioned above replace whole eggs with egg whites or egg substitute
*Incorporate more fiber in your diet, such as whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas and fresh fruits and vegetables
*Take medication, if prescribed by your doctor. If you are concerned, your doctor will can discuss medications with you at your next appointment

HIV Nutrition

Like to read? Like HIV nutrition? Then this is for you...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blueberries Are Good for What Ails You | The Pilot

Interesting, yet appropriate article from the local news
Blueberries Are Good for What Ails You | The Pilot

Traveling with Diabetes

Here is a question I recently received from

I have type 2 diabetes and travel quite a bit. My eating & exercise are unpredictable at best when I travel and I’m having a difficult time managing my diabetes. What do you suggest?

When on the road, it is difficult to be healthful, with or without diabetes! Here are some tips to get you into a healthier routine when you're traveling:

1) Some hotels have refrigerators and kitchen facilities. If possible, try to prepare your own meas.
2) Some airlines have diabetic meal options.
3) Hotel chains usually have some sort of pool and/or fitness center. Use these facilities to get your daily exercise.
4) If possible, walk instead of drive or using other transportation.
5) When eating out, be careful of portion sizes. Also, ask for dressings and sauces on the side and opt for grilled items instead of fried items or dishes with heavy sauces.
6) Drink plenty of water. Carry a water bottle!
7) Research when you're planning your trip.

Uncontrolled Diabetes

Here is a question I recently received from

I have just been diagnosed with diabetes. Doctors say I have uncontrollable diabetes any tips on how I can get my sugar level down?

As a new diabetic, it is normal for your blood sugars to be out of control, due to the new diagnosis. However, this is the best time to take ownership of your condition and receive proper education and strategies to manage your condition.

The following hints may be helpful to you:
*Take medications regularly
*Check blood sugars as recommended
*Don't skip meals
*Exercise daily
*Keep a food diary to keep an accurate record of your daily food intake
*Meet with a registered dietitian (RD) and/or certified diabetes educator (CDE)
*Meet with your doctor regularly
*Check to see if there are diabetic education classes or support groups in your community. Many hospitals and/or local health centers offer these types of resources.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

I have type 2 diabetes and am confused about carbohydrates. Are all starches out completely?

No. Starches are an essential part of a balanced diet, like all other food groups. However, as a diabetic, you need to be more careful about the portions of starches and what is eaten with starches to best control diabetes.

Not all starches are created equal. Smarter choices are frsh fruits and whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas. These foods contain fiber, which helps with digestion. It also keeps you full longer, as it takes longer for the body to break down and digest.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

I have been diagnosed as pre-diabetic. The doctor has not put me on any medication, but would like me to lose weight and watch my diet. I’m not sure how much or how often I should be exercising. Could you give me some tips?

Exercise is great way to stay in shape, stay healthy, and help control blood sugar.

When exercising, it is best to find an activity you enjoy. Whether its walking, jogging, yoga, dance, or hitting the gym, by choosing something you enjoy, you're much more likely to see it as a chore and keep this habit for the long haul.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of exercise a week, or 30 minutes 5 times per week. This may seem overwhelming, but splitting your time up throughout the day is a key to success. If you don't feel like you can do 30 minutes per day, try 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a day. Persistence and dedication to exercise is they key to success. Good luck!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

I have type 2 diabetes. I’m kind of addicted to jawbreaker candy (especially fireballs). How harmful is it to eat these candies and what alternatives should I try… Is fruit a good alternative?

Fireball candies contain 11 grams of carbohydrate- almost 1 carbohydrate serving for 1! When feeding your "addiction", it is important to keep this in mind.

Eating a fireball may be a a good choice if you are choosing 1 piece of candy for one of your snacks. Is it the best choice? No. It is up to you to decide if indulging frequently is worth it.

Fruit is a better choice as it is a good source of fiber and will keep you satisfied longer. However, if you are craving sweet things often, it may be in your best interest to try some sugar-free treats, such as sugar-free jello or popsicles to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your health.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Diabetic Breakfast

Here is a question I recently received at

I have type 2 diabetes and am having trouble with breakfast. It seems so many breakfast foods are high in carbs. Could you give me some breakfast ideas that are diabetic friendly?

Portion control, portion control, portion control! Yes, many breakfast foods are high in carbs, but by carefully watching portion sizes and making smart choices, many of your favorite brekfast items will fit into your diabetic meal plan.

Let's take the classic milk and cereal. Milk and cereal are both carbohydrates. The idea is to eat 3/4 cup of cereal and 1 cup of milk to ensure adequate serving size. Also, by choosing a high fiber cereal, the breakfast will fill you up more than is you choose a sweetened cereal. Hot cereals are also high in fiber, but also remember to watch portion sizes. Additionally, make your own instead of buying the instant, flavored varieties.

Fruit is also a good choice, but remember to eat a small piece of fruit or cut it in half. Also be very careful about your fruit juice intake; a little goes a long way. Remember that a portion size of juice is 4 oz (1/2 cup). How big is your cup?

By making wise choices and wathcing portion sizes, you will be well on your way to eating a healthy and delicious breakfast.

PS Remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for diabetics! If you do not already eat breakfast, START. There is no written rule that breakfast food items need to be eaten fro breakfast.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Diabetes and OJ

Here is a question I recently received from

I am worried because I was just diagnosed with diabetes. I drink freshly squeezed orange juice three times a week. Does orange juice contain too much sugar and is it advisable for a diabetic to drink juice?

A little bit of fruit juice goes a long way, so diabetes need to be extremely careful with their fruit juice intake. One half cup (4 oz) of unsweetened juice equals on serving of carbohydrate. Orange juice also has the ability to spike blood sugars quickly, which is why it's commonly used to raise blood sugars in instances of hypoglycemia.

The best advice is to eat more whole fruits than fruit juices.

For more extensive education about how certain foods fit into your diet, meet with a registered dietitian (RD) and/or a certified diabetes educator (CDE).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Here is a question I recently received from

I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and a friend told me I should eat low carb and no sugar. What is considered to be low carb and low sugar in specific numbers?

With the diabetic diet, it is important to focus on a consistent amount of carbohydrate. These food groups are your starches, dairy, and fruit. By watching portion sizes and carbohydrate intake per meal, blood sugar control can be better acheived.

15 grams of carbohydrate is equal to one carbohydrate serving. Because we are talking about consistency, it is important that you don't skip meals or save carbohydrates for later. Generally, a diabetic should eat 3 meals per day and 2-3 snacks per day. If you are female, a good goal is 3-4 carb servings per meal and 1-2 carb servings for snacks. If you are male, a good goal is 4-5 carb servings per meal and 1-2 carb servings per snack.

From a numbers stand point, a good goal for carbohydrate intake for a female would between 11-18 carb servings (165-270 grams of carbs) daily; 14-21 carb servings (210-315 grams of carbs) daily.

However, please note that these numbers and ranges vary from person to person, due to gender, age, height, and weight. For a more individualized plan to fit your needs, contact a registered dietitian (RD).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Here is a question I recently received from

I am very new to the diabetes lifestyle. I have started working out and so far have dropped 8 pounds (I have about 100 pounds still to lose). I am excited about the weight loss so far, but I am scared that I won’t drop the weight and that I will slip somehow. Can you offer any advice in regards to cravings (I have a big sweet tooth and enjoy greasy foods such as burgers and fries)?

Congratulations on the weight loss and starting an exercise progrram! The most important thing is to stick with your program and not get discouraged when you start to plateau. By making these lifestyle change and having a positive attitude, you are sure to reach your goals in a moderate fashion.

Cravings are really hard to cut, but the key is moderation and substitution. You don't want to deprive yourself. The worst thing you can do is say to yourself, "I'm going to cut (insert favorite food item here) completely out of my diet". When this happens, you'll only crave the food more. So have a small piece instead of large piece and cut down on your intake of said food gradually.

For those who make a sweet tooth, the same principles apply; eat a smaller portion. For example, instead of eating the whole candy bar, eat one block of eat on of the miniatures. There are also a lot of sugar-free and/or fat free sweets available (but be mindful of portion size). Another suggestion would be to substitute fruit for other sweet foods.

Hamburgers themselves are not a bad choice. It comes down to preparation and portion size. Unfortunately, we live in a society with the motto "Bigger is better", which has lead to out of control portion sizes. A value meal at your local fast food place can easily be the equivalent to your total estimated caloric intake for the entire day. So, order the single patty hamburger without the mayo and special sauce. As far as french fries go, order the small child size fries, or better yet, substitute with a side salad and use 1/2 a pack of dressing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Here is a question I recently received at

I have pre-diabetes and am trying to learn about carbohydrate and sugar. Does the sugar in fruit count as sugar?

Sugar is carbohydrate. When someone has diabetes, they must carefully monitor their carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrate is found in the foods we eat and high amounts are found in the starch, dairy, and fruit food groups. When carbohydrate is digested in our body, it is broken down in our body as glucose (aka blood sugar); this is what our body uses as fuel. Due to insulin resitance, those with diabetes most monitor their carbohydrate intake carefully for optimal control of their glucose levels.

As mentioned above, fruit is a carbohydrate. Fruit contains natural sugars and while it is good to eat, diabetics still need to monitor their fruit intake.

Too much of anything is never a good thing. It is important to eat a balanced diet with foods from all the food groups as well as make smart choices. While carbohydrate intake needs to be monitored, there are better choices than others; fruit is loaded with nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, where as a candy bar is not nearly as nutritionally dense- even though both foods are considered high carbohydrate foods. Choosing nutritionally dense foods such as whole grain breads and pastas, whole fruits, and low fat dairy products should be moderately incorporated into a balanced diet to acheive optimal nutritional benefits and good glucose control.

So, in summary, yes- fruit is considered carbohydrate, but should still be included in your diet. Variety is key- eat the rainbow!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Diabetic Bars and Shakes

Here is a question I recently received from

I was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago. I’m wondering about those bars and shakes I see advertised for people with diabetes. Are they good to use? Sometimes I’m out and need a snack or quick lunch.

Kudos you for being mindful of not skipping meals and snacks to help control your diabetes! These bars and shakes can be helpful to help keep you on track. By being designed for folks eith diabetes, they often contain less carbohydrate than the "original". However, it is still important to read the labels to ensure that you are consuming the proper amount of carbohydrate for a meal or snack. These are often intended to be used as a meal replacer- so be sure to count your carbs and calories before purchasing and consuming.

Another con is that these specialty items tend to be on the pricy side. With a little planning, there are more cost-effective solutions for a quick meal or snack- perhaps a piece of fruit, a sandwich, or peanut butter and crackers. With a little researc, planning, and thought, a wide variety of easy to prepare foods can help you balance your diet when you're on the run.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gluten Intolerance

Here is a question I recently received from

I have type 2 diabetes and just found out I have gluten intolerance. I haven’t been able to figure out what I can eat. I have been leaving grains out of my diet. What should I do?

With gluten intolerance, gluten products should be eliminated from the diet. This condition, also known as Celiac disease, requires avoidance of foods containing wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats, as the consumption of these foods cause damage to the small intestine, leading to GI symptoms and malabsorption. Keep in mind that the treatment for this condition is solely to follow a gluten-free diet.

While wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oat products and derivatives must be eliminated from the diet, grains and plant foods that do not contain gluten include rice, corn, beans, soy, and potatoes. Note that these foods still contain carbohydrate, so be aware of your portion sizes and intake. Also be sure to read food labels for ingredients and processing information to make careful purchases.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

To Eat or Not To Eat?

Here is a question I recently received from

Is it ok to eat peas & carrots if you have diabetes? I heard to avoid those two veggies.

Vegetables are something that you definitely do not want to avoid. However, with starchy vegetables, you need to monitor the portion sizes and what you eat them with.

Non-starchy vegetables are vegetables that you don not have to monitor your intake as carefully, as they do not affect your blood sugars. These include carrots, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, among many others. A reminder that portion sizes are 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked serving.

The starchy vegetables are those you have to monitor, due to their carbohydrate content. Remember that these vegetables contain enough carbohydrate as blood sugars. Starchy vegetables include peas, corn, and potatoes. Again, portion sizes are 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked serving.

Remember to "eat the rainbow"- eat a wide variety of starchy and non-starchy vegetables to obtain the maximum benefits friom your diet.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Here is a question I recently received from

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.

Unfortunately, both frozen foods and restaurant foods tend to be high in fat, sodium, and calories.

From a portion control standpoint, frozen foods are better, as you have more control of the amount that you eat. Also, by reading the nutrition facts before purchasing, you have the opportunity to choose the more healthy varieties.

Restaurant foods, on the other hand, serve very large portions. Consider doing your research prior to dining out; many restaurant chains provide nutrition information on their website. Many also usually indicate more healthy options. Look for leaner proteins such as chicken and fish. choose baked or broiled over fried, and limit or avoid heavy sauces. Even something as innocent as salad can be a disaster- be sure to ask for sauces or dressings on the side.

The most important thing is to do your research and order smart:
*Investigate food labels and compare frozen entrees prior to buying. Remember, just because it's on sale doesn't mean it's good for you.
*Do your research! Investigate and compare nutrition facts of food items prior to buying.
*Opt for broiled or grilled entrees.
*Avoid sauces or dressing or ask for them on on the side.
*Split an entree with a friend or bag it for another meal.
*Be mindful for portion sizes- eat as you normally would at home.
*Choose lean proteins such as skinless turkey, chicken, or fish.
Here is a question I recently received from

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

Unfortunately, once diagnosed with diabetes, you have it for life. It is not reversible. However, the important thing is to take ownership of the disease and live a healthy lifestyle to manage diabetes and prevent further health complications.

Some tips include:
*Checking blood sugars regularly
*Not skipping meals
*Taking medications
*Exercising regularly
*Maintain a healthy weight, or strive for moderate weight loss if overweight
*Regularly visit your doctor

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sugar-Free Foods

Below is a question I received from

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

A lot of confusion brought on by the diabetic diet relays back to what is considered "sugar". People often use the words "sugar" and carbohydrate interchangabily without knowing the difference. Sugar is a substance that makes food sweet (think table sugar). Carbohydrates are found in foods (including sugar) that breask down into our body into glucose (blood sugar) to provide needed energy for our cells.

So, yes, while you need to watch your sugar and sweet foods for diabetes, it is more important that you watch your carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrate foods fall into 3 categories: starches (cereal, bread, pasta, starchy vegetables); dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese); and fruit/fruit juices.

Back to your question: while sugar-free candy may not have sugar in it, it may contain carbohydrate. Be sure to check the food label to make a wise choice.

However, candy doesn't have a lot of substance to it. When choosing carbohydrates, try to choose as many whole grains as you can (think fiber), to help you feel full longer.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Diabetes Lab Values

Below is a question I recently received from

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 sugar of 126 or greater is indicative of diabetes. However, be sure to get a second test from your PCP to confirm this diagnosis.

On a more interesting note, it is now accepted to use another lab value, hemoglobin A1c, to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes. Hemoglobin A1c (also known as glycosolated hemoglobin) is lab value that measures how well blood sugars were managed over a period of 3 months; it is also used by medical professionals to gauge how well diabetic patients have controlled their blood sugars. A hemoglobin A1c reading of 5.7-6.4% is indicative of pre-diabetes and a reading of 6.5% or higher confirms a diabetes diagnosis.

Whether you are in the pre-diabetes or diabetes stage, it is highly recommended that you meet with a certified diabetes educated and/or registered dietitian to help plan lifestyle interventions to keep you on the track to good health!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friuts And Veggies

Here is a question I recently received from

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

Losing weight is a great strategy to prolong diabetes and also for overall health. Excellent start!

It is recommended that people eat 5 servings for fruit and vegetables daily. To clarify, that is 5 servings total of combination of fruits and vegetables (not 5 of each). Sadly, most Americans do not eat the recommended amounts, so trying to increase fruit and vegetable consumption is an effective and tasty way to help with weight loss.

For diabetes purposes, it is important to try and focus on non-starchy vegetables versus starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, and peas).

Also, remember to eat the rainbow. Fruits and vegetables come in a variety of different colors- the reasoning for that is they all contain different nutrients. For example, tomatoes contain lycopene, which gives it its reddish tint is is also linked to prevent certain types of cancer. The orange tint from sweet potatoes and carrots is beta-caroetene, which helps with eyesight.

Check back soon!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Here is a question I recently received from

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?

Good question! For new diabetics, sources of carbohydrate and carbohydrate counting tend ti be confusing. However, with some rules of thumb, you'll be on your success.

Portion control is the main theme here. A diabetic diet is a carbohydrate controlled diet. In other words, do not eat too many carbohydrates in one sitting. Do not "save" carbohydrates for later in the day; your body will thank you for this!

Carbohydrates are found in starches (breads, cereals, pastas, potatoes, corn), milk and dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), fruit and fruit juices, and, of course, sweets. It is important to read the food label that indicates PORTION SIZE and TOTAL CARBOHYDRATE. Carbohydrate is the main focus and, by examining the food label, you will see that the total amount of sugar is part of the total carbohydrate count.

Now, time for a math lesson: As a woman aim or 3-4 carbohydrate servings per meal and 1-2 carbohydrate servings per snack. (Remember that 15 grams of carbohydrate equals 1 carbohydrate serving.) This means that you should aim for about 45-60 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 15-30 grams of carbohydrate per snack.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Diabetic Classes

Here is a question I recently received from

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.

The answer to this question depends on what is available in your area and/or how far you are willing to travel.

Your best bet would be to contact his physician's office, or your local hospital or health clinic. They will be able to refer you to resources in your area. Some hospitals offer diabetes education classes and/or have specialized diabetes clinics.

Also, some communities have local diabetic support groups. This may be beneficial to help him cope and manage diabetes with the help of fellow diabetics.

Another option is to meet with a certified diabetes educator. These are certified health care professionals who have completed extensive training to assist patients with diabetes. To locate one in your areas, visit

Be sure to refer to the American Diabetes Association website for additional information on diabetes.

And, of course, be sure to check back with!

Best of luck!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Late Night Snacking

Here is a question I recently received from

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?

Increased appetite during later parts of the day can be a direct cause of skipping meals or not eating sufficient breakfast, lunch, and/or snacks. As a diabetic, it is EXTREMELY important not to skip meals.

Think of your body as a car. Your car needs fuel (gas) in order to function. If you deprive your car of gas, it won't run. Your body works in the same way.

Carbohydrate, specifically, is needed as fuel for the body. While carbohydrate intake needs to be monitored with diabetes, the body needs it in order to function. Carbohydrates break down in your body into glucose (or blood sugar). A chemical in your body known as insulin normally joins with glucose, and regulates your blood sugar by entering your cells to be used as energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or insulin doesn't work correctly. Therefore, as a diabetic, you no longer have the liberty to skip meals.

Besides ensuring you eat at least 3 meals daily, here are some other tips to help suppress late-night hunger:
-Drink something! Often, we confuse hunger for thirst. Choosing water or low calorie drinks such as diet sodas, coffee, tea, and Crystal Light may help.
-Distract yourself! People often eat out of boredom. Mindless eating in front of the television is a surefire way to overindulge. Try to do something active or find a new hobby.
-Portion control! If you feel like you must eat something, portion out a sensible size and leave the kitchen. Do not take the bag with you! Or, choose one snack pack.
-Choose foods wisely! Many junk foods are tasty, but not filling. Picking a starch (preferably whole grain!) with a protein, such as a half of a sandwich or peanut butter and graham crackers, will not only satisfy your tastebuds, but fill you up on much less calories!

Best of luck!

Check back soon for my next post!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sugar Substitutes

Here is a question I recently received from

What is the best sugar substitute to use for baking and daily use for diabetics?

Sugar substitutes come in different varieties and go by many a name- Sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin (Sweet and Low), Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), and Acesulfame K (Sunett). Each of these sweeteners are FDA-approved and are considered safe to consume. While much debate exists between which are better choices, the bottom line is to choose the one that best agrees with your tastebuds!

Note that many "diet" and "sugar-free" foods to allow diabetics to be able to enjoy their favorite foods more often, while following diet guidelines.

A word of caution on baking- since artificial sweeteners do not share the same properties of sugar, be wary when making recipe modifications. An improper substitution may affect the quality of the product. Official websites of brand name artificial sweeteners contain a variety of recipes in which sweeteners can be used in baked goods- be sure to check them out.

Also, remember sugar is not the only source of carbohydrate in baked goods- fruits, starch (flour, grains), and dairy must also be taken into carbohydrate count.

Happy baking!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I am a Registered Dietitian and a Nutrition Editor at - a website designed to help people with diabetes.

Please check back soon for updates and credible nutrition information.