Peas and Carrots

The question this week is from Mr. Larry T and it reads: Is it ok to eat peas & carrots if you have diabetes?  I heard to avoid those two veggies.

As the guys from “Wedding Crashers” would say this information that you heard is, “ERRONEOUS!”

Peas and carrots are just fine for the diet of someone with diabetes. And i do believe Forrest Gump would agree that even the mixing of peas and carrots in one dish would be supurb.

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Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

The question this week comes from a Ms. Tammy S: My 45 year-old husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few months ago.  Is it true that you can reverse diabetes?

Yes.

Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes can be reversed. And it would be in your heart and cardiovascular system’s best interest to do so. The stress of high amounts of glucose running through your blood stream takes a toll on the body.

This calls for a lifestyle change. Meaning diet, exercise, and less stress. Hopefully with those factors added to your life you will reverse the diabetes and have an overall better way of life.

Keep in mind that type 1 cannot be reversed, but doing those things will make managing it easier.

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Artificial Sweeteners-Good or Bad?

The question this week comes from a Mr. Jeff W. and it reads:

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

Yes it is possible to make sugary sweets without the sugar. The magic trick is to use artificial sweeteners. Dun dun dun now the question is: to add artificial sweeteners to your diet or not?

There are many options for many different kinds of artificial sweeteners. There is sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame K, neotame, and the stevia plant. Each is made differently and each has a different amount of sweet.

Positives:

Less Calories-so good news if you’re trying to lose weight.

They are super sweet so it takes a small amount to get the intended taste.

Negatives:

They are fake, kind of like the hormones they put in mass produced beef or pesticides on apples. (That might have been a little bit of a biased comparison, but I can’t hide my apprehension about using these substances).

Strange aftertastes in some.

There is a possibility that there will still be carbohydrates in the sugarless food and those have to be taken into account when figuring out your blood sugars. You’ll probably have to worry about this more with baked goods, not so much a sugarless peppermint candy.

And basically there simply hasn’t been enough sound research done to completely support or reject the absolute safety of these products. I’m guessing we’ll find out in a few years exactly what affect these substances have on human bodies.

I bet that if you just try to cut out sweet from your diet, you’ll find that you eventually get use to not having that flavor on your taste buds. If you are a soda (yes that is what I call what some people call “pop”) drinker I challenge you to give it up for 3 months. After your 3 months have been complete drink one. I bet you’ll find that your taste buds are super shocked, almost to the point of dislike.

But don’t take my word for it (Anybody use to watch Reading Rainbow?),

Meagan

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Numbers

Susan D. asks FOODPICKER.org: My fasting glucose number was 127.  Does this sound like pre-diabetes or diabetes?  What should I do to control my blood sugar?

A person who’s pancreas is doing what it should would have a fasting glucose number around 100.

It is when the fasting glucose number gets to be around 125 that a person’s attention should be called.

Now what if you are right on the bubble, just like Ms. Susan D? This does sound like pre-diabetes. There is another test that can be taken. But first a little back ground information about the tests:

The fasting glucose number Ms. D spoke of is taken from a test technically called the Fasting Plasma Glucose test and that is simply where a person fasts over night and then their blood glucose level is checked first thing in the morning, before breakfast or even your daily cup of joe.

Next there is the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test which also requires the patient to fast over night and have their glucose level checked right away. The patient is then given a sugary beverage (still no food or coffee) and their blood glucose levels are checked again after 2 hours. This test is looking at how fast a body can react to the sugar it is loaded with. What the physician will tell the patient depends on what the glucose number is at after those 2 hours. If the body’s glucose number is 200 or above after the 2 hours this is a sign of straight up diabetes. If the body gives the result of 140-199 this may be a sign of pre-diabetes. A regular functioning body will read 140 or below. (All of these numbers are according to the American Diabetes Association website)

If you’re a bubble person it might be a wise decision to get the second test done or if you are set with your around-125 number the next step is adding some diet and exercise to your life.

Try to avoid sugar, which is a huge ominous statement in this day and age with all the tons of sugar being poured into everything from breakfast cereals to “fruit juices.” But it is very possible! and your food can still taste great!

Learning to read labels is key. Looking at the carbohydrate number will be the most helpful because this not only counts the sugar, but also the other carbohydrates (which will mess with your glucose levels), and fiber.

Simply put: avoiding sugars will create less of a stress on your pancreas to create more insulin. If it’s having a hard time already then slamming it with more glucose will only do the body harm.

The human tongue can get used to not eating sweet. In fact if you quit the sugary stuff for a while you might find that you don’t really like it, you were just used to it. I believe that maturing the taste buds out of tons of sweet is better than trying to fill the empty sweet void with artificial sweeteners. First of all they don’t even taste that great and secondly (and most importantly) they are FAKE and PROCESSED. Exactly what they do to a body is not yet clear because they are so new. I think it is just better to go au naturale.

The next very important thing you can do to help regulate your blood glucose levels is MOVE. Groove, do, play, get out and bust a move, whatever those billboards are always telling you to do. Do something that makes you breathe a little hard for about 30 minutes a day. Add other stuff to that. Lift weights, get the bod you used to have 20 years ago. Do yoga and add some calm to your life (stress can also prevent the body from reacting to glucose in the correct way). Excersize is pivotal in having a healthy body.

The most exciting part of this whole thing is that pre-diabetes is reversible! But if it is pre-diabetes that you have you should act quick because the toll is already being taken on your heart and cardiovascular system.

This is a perfect excuse to look up great new recipes (low in carbs) and get a new pair of tennis shoes! Life is all in how you make it. Good luck!

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Fruit Facts

A question posed from Mr. Bob R. to http://www.FOODPICKER.org: I have pre-diabetes and am trying to lose weight.  How many servings of fruit and veggies should I have each day?

If you’re trying to lose weight adding fruits and vegetables to your diet is a great step. According to the latest Food Guide Pyramid sent out by the USDA the amounts of fruits and vegetables you are supposed to consume depends on your age, gender, and level of physical activity. If you are male on average you should be eating 2 cups of fruit a day and about 3 cups of vetetables a day (till you are 51, then they tell you to eat about 2 1/2 cups). If you are female then the recommendation is 2 cups of fruit (but this drops to 1 1/2 cups after the age of 30) and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables (until you are 51 when it drops to 2 cups).

In order to keep those taste buds satisfied and interested in the fruits and vegetables try to eat as many colors as possible. This will ensure a diverse consumption of different vitamins and nutrients. For example: red apples are great, but only eating red apples will leave out the benefits of eating something yellow like bananas.

Having pre-diabetes adds some challenge to the effort of getting in as many fruits and vegetables to aid in weight loss. You have to consider getting the weight down while keeping the glucose levels down as well. Unfortunately fruits and vegetables contain many carbohydrates and sugars.

Try eating fruits and vegetables with low Glycemic Index numbers. The lower the GI number, the slower the glucose will enter your blood stream. Having glucose enter the blood stream slowly helps the body to manage insulin better. Low GI foods might keep your body from feeling like this guy from a load of glucose.

Good luck with the many colors and don’t forget that exercise is another good addition in your journey to losing weight and reversing the pre-diabetes!

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The Balancing Act: Carbohydrates and Diabetes

A diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes can be looked upon as a gentle or giant push towards a healthier life style. First and foremost get in touch with people around you that can help such as your doctor, a registered dietitian, and a diabetes educator. Maybe there is a group in your community where people just like you have questions and ideas for managing their Type 2 Diabetes.

As with everything in life, it’s easiest to take it one step at a time.

You don’t need to cut out carbohydrates and sugars completely. Knowing how many you are consuming will be helpful.

You don’t need crazy meals or incredibly bland food. A more regular meal pattern will be helpful.

There isn’t a magic number of carbohydrates for every person to consume at each meal. Getting acquainted with your blood glucose meter will direct you to the types of meals that will work with your own body.

Learn to read labels and get on the web to look up the contents of different foods. This will be where you want to look for the amount of carbohydrates and sugars in your food. You want to find foods that are most nutrient rich and low in carbohydrates. It is all a balancing act. You need to fill yourself without going hyperglycemic. You need to learn how your own body reacts to certain amounts of carbohydrates.

The carbohydrate number is key when reading a food label. It includes the sugar and fiber as well as the amount of carbs. Carbs are not the enemy, just what you want to keep a close eye on.

Look at it as a challenge to get the most goodness from food as possible. You’ll want lots of whole wheat, vitamins, good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), and fiber while staying away from needless sugars, excess calories, anything partially hydrogenated, MSG, and cholesterol.

Exercise is a great natural counter balance to carbohydrates. It naturally lowers your blood sugar level while helping you feel great, among it’s many other benefits. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for as many days possibly throughout the week is recommended. Walking, running, biking, hiking, or swimming are wonderful. It is also great to add weight training and other activities to that. Lifting weights, yoga, stretching, calisthenics, and Russian kettle bell exercises are good supplemental activities. (If you’ve never heard of it here’s a little preview to Russian kettle bells, it may look pretty silly but I’ve heard good things about it).

Stop to smell the flowers or just take a minute to relax. Stress can keep those blood sugar levels high.

Read the labels. See how the amount of carbohydrates reacts with your body. Write down what works for you. Keep a fairly regular eating schedule. You should be golden.

Peace, love, and happy carb counting!

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Hello world of nutrition!

My name is Meagan McConnell and I live in Mankato, MN where I am getting my undergraduate at the Minnesota State University, Mankato. I am a Nutrition Apprentice at the website http://FOODPICKER.org . This is a site that strives to give helpful and accurate information about diabetes.

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