Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Question of the week: Not All Starches Are Created Equal

A reader sent the following question for discussion on this blog: "I have type 2 diabetes and am confused about carbohydrates. Are all starches out completely? "

Starches are complex carbohydrates - although starches are easy to digest, however your body doesn't digest cellulose which is a major component of dietary fiber. Starches do not need to be eliminated from your diet as long as you watch your portion sizes and stick to foods that are nutrient dense: meaning high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The higher the fiber content of the food, the longer you will feel satisfied.

Good starch sources include, but are not limited to, brown rice, beans and legumes, multi or whole-grain bread, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables. To learn more about the benefits of dietary fiber visit the Mayo Clinic's website:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Question of the week: Exercise?

The latest question submitted by one of my readers is: "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?

Implementing exercise into your daily lifestyle is a wonderful thing whether you were diagnosed as "pre-diabetic" or not. You will look and feel better in no time! Not only will you find that daily exercise is helpful with losing weight, but you also will feel better physically and mentally as well!

Some of the possible health benefits from daily exercise include:
* lower your blood glucose, blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels
* raise your good cholesterol (HDL)
* improve your body’s ability to use insulin
* lower your risk for heart disease and stroke
* keep your heart and bones strong and joints flexible
* lower your risk of falling and breaking bones
* help you lose weight and reduce body fat percentage
* give you more energy and reduce stress levels

Physical activity also plays an important part in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. A major Government study called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), demonstrated that even losing a small amount of weight (i.e. 5 to 7 percent, 10 to 15 pounds for a 200 lb. person) can delay and/or possibly prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The participants in this study used both diet and exercise to lose weight.

My suggestion is to set a goal of 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. Brisk walking is a great way to achieve this.

If you can get a "walking partner" it can make it a fun event. If you don't currently exercise, start small - try walking every other day until you are able to build up to your goal.

Other suggestions would be to get a pedometer, and strive for a minimum of 10,000 steps daily and/or keep an exercise journal (or mark the calendar that you use daily) with your exercise achievements. It can be a motivational factor.

Sources: National Institutes Of Health

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Question of the week: Candies and Diabetes

The following question was posed by a reader, "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?"

Fruit is definitely a good alternative - in addition to the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it contains (as compared to candy), you will be allotted a larger serving for the same amount of calories and carbohydrate grams.

If you really have a craving for candy, look for sugar-free varieties. A piece of sugar-free gum, or sugar-free puddings or gelatins may also satisfy your sweet tooth. Sugar alcohols (which are sometimes found in sugar-free candies) may cause gastro-intestinal distress if consumed in large quantities so be aware.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Question of the week: Healthy Breakfast Ideas?

The following question was submitted by a reader, "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?"

I'm sure you have heard that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" and it is true. It can set the mood for an entire day so it is important not to skip it. Skipping it may lead to blood sugar fluctuations as well as binging later in the day.

Many of these breakfast ideas are quick or even can be prepared in advance:

*Hardboiled egg
*Egg Salad made with low fat mayo and mustard
*Plain Yogurt with sliced almonds
*Cottage Cheese on Whole Wheat/Multi-Grain Toast
*Cottage Cheese with Tomatoes or Fresh Fruit
*Whole Wheat or Multi-Grain Toast with All-Natural Peanut Butter
*Multi Grain Waffle with Peanut Butter or Cottage Cheese.

When you have a little extra time....

*Veggie Egg White Omelet (tomatoes, peppers, onions) with Salsa
*Scrambled Eggs with either turkey sausage or turkey bacon (or veggie sausage/bacon)
*Cooked eggs with avocado and black beans
*Steel Cut Oatmeal Sprinkled with Sliced Almonds (or other nut meats)
*Multi-Grain or Low Carb Tortilla filled with Low/NonFat Cheese and Veggies
*Turkey Sausage with Sauteed Veggies

With any choices that you make - be mindful of your portion sizes and choose whole wheat or multi-grain options when possible.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Question of the week: Fruit Juices vs whole fruit?

The following question was submitted by one of my readers, "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?"

First, since you were just diagnosed with diabetes, I would suggest that you make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian or a C.D.E. (contact your local hospital)to help you develop a meal plan as well as answer any questions and concern you have regarding your new diagnosis.

To answer your question, just a 4 oz glass of juice contains approximately 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrate. It is easy to consume more than 4 oz in a sitting. Fruit juices will raise your blood sugar at a rapid pace as well. Juice is best used only to help with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

I advise that you eat a fresh orange instead of the orange juice. It contains more fiber and takes longer to eat. For these reasons, the whole fruit will leave you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time. Portion control is easier as well.

If you are really missing the orange flavor in a liquid form, I would suggest taking a cool glass of water and adding some orange slices to it. This will flavor your water without all the added calories and sugar.