Archive | January, 2011

Checking Glucose Levels

24 Jan

Here is a question I recently received from Foodpicker.org

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

Answer:  Taking charge of your health is of the utmost importance when you have diabetes. Each individual is different when it comes to checking their own glucose.  Checking with your doctor is your best bet to get the right answer. What I can say is that if you are managing your diabetes with insulin, you probably need to check your glucose more often, than if you are managing your diabetes with exercise and diet.

An important fact about checking your glucose is that if you become sick, you need to definitely check your glucose more often than usual.  The reason being is that when the body becomes sick, it releases extra hormones to fight infection.  Every so often these hormones have the potential to decrease insulin effectiveness in the body and may increase blood sugar levels. This is important to note if you have diabetes because you don’t want your body to become dehydrated due to insulin deficiency.  So, please check with your doctor to plan for diabetes. Stay hydrated, eat healthy, and exercise daily to keep your levels stable.

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Blood Sugar Levels & Prediabetes

10 Jan


Here is a question I recently received from Foodpicker.org

My A1c test result is 6.4% and my fasting blood sugar level is 113.  Do these numbers sound like diabetes and if so what do I do now?

Answer:   According to the American Diabetic Association, individuals that test in the range in which you did are usually prediabetic.  I recommend talking to your doctor about your results and consulting a registered dietitian. Physical activity is a central feature of managing blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor about what kind of exercise regimen will work for you and make sure to get screened for problems that may be worsened by certain activities.

There are dietary strategies that you will need to understand, such as carbohydrate counting and exchange lists for meal planning.  These are dietary strategies that individuals with diabetes use to keep their blood sugar levels stabilized.  Understanding these ways of eating are also a good way to lose weight for individuals that are prediabetic.  A registered dietitian can educate you on how to lower your blood glucose levels and if need be, help you lose weight.   Remember to consult your physician before beginning any strenuous exercise regimen and see a registered dietitian to help you get back to normal blood glucose levels.

Sweet Potatoes & Diabetes

3 Jan

Here is a question that I received from Foodpicker.org

I was recently diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes and I’m trying to follow a low fat diet.  I have a question I hope that you can answer.  Are sweet potatoes considered a vegetable and are they ok to eat in my diet?

Sweet potatoes are considered starchy vegetables. According to the Mayo Clinic, 4 ounces or ½ of a sweet potato is approximately one starchy vegetable on the exchange list.  Sweet potatoes are definitely okay to include in your diet.

Reasons to Eat Sweet Potatoes:

  • Fat free, which will make following a low fat diet easier
  • Great source of fiber, which will help keep you fully satisfied and may also help lower your blood cholesterol
  • Great source of potassium, and vitamin B6, which helps with improvement of  energy metabolism to  improving cognitive performance
  • Great source of beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A and helps the immune system’s response to sickness and disease
  • Great source of vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant that protects tissues from oxidative stress

Sweet potatoes are definitely my favorite complex carbohydrate.  You can include them as your pre-workout snack, a side dish to your favorite protein and veggies, or as a dessert.  Desserts tend to be the hardest thing for me to avoid when I start a low-fat diet.  I have found that trading in cheesecake for sweet potatoes is a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth with much fewer calories.

A slice of cheesecake can be filled with 500-600 calories and up to 40 grams of fat.  One half of a sweet potato is filled with approximately 125 calories and is non-fat.  A great dessert idea for sweet potatoes is to peel them, dice them up, throw them in a Ziploc steamer bag or boil them, and then mash them up.  Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon, because it will help stabilize your blood sugar levels.  Mix in 1-2 tablespoons of crushed walnuts or pecans, because they are filled with just enough healthy fats. Top it off with one tablespoon of Fat-Free or Sugar-Free Cool Whip, because it’s a delicious topping.  Voila, you have a guilt-free delicious sweet dessert that fills you up and helps you lose weight!