Wednesday, November 2, 2016

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There is no magic cure for diabetes despite all the progress that science has made. Diabetes is progressive, silent disease which can be affected by the choices you make throughout the day. Healthy food choices optimize glucose control for healthier outcomes. Here are some ideas to help prevent diabetes and make living with diabetes more manageable:

Follow a low carb diet:  Include healthy carbohydrates, and reduce or avoid sweets and refined grains. Choose whole grains for at least 3 servings daily. Strive for five servings of fruits and vegetables, including some raw and others cooked. Include protein with each meal and snack. Beware of fad diets encouraging excessive intake of meats and fats which could lead to heart and kidney problems. Be sure to include carbohydrate counting in your meal plan.

Artificial sweeteners:  Even foods billed as sugar-free may affect your blood sugar as they may contain artificial sweeteners, or even fruit juices along with other carbohydrate containing ingredients. There continues to be disagreement regarding the use of sweeteners. Some studies indicate sweeteners, when used in moderation, are safe. Other studies show that your body reacts to artificial sweeteners in the same way as real sugar. However, without real sugar present, it can really confuse your body.  Either way, the best advice is to limit your intake of artificial sweeteners.

Processed foods:  Foods are processed to make them safe, preserve them, or make them more convenient.  Roasting meat or breading and deep frying can be considered processing. Without meal planning, you may end up eating more processed foods than you realize. While some processed foods are healthy; consuming others regularly may increase your intake of added salt, sugar, and fat. Choose to prepare foods from scratch or select minimally processed foods more often.

Use of supplements: Supplements to help control blood sugar levels are frequently in the news.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have quick and easy treatments for the things that ail us? Supplements, used in moderation, may have no ill effects, but studies showing improved blood sugar level are inconclusive. If you have diabetes, follow meal planning advice from a dietitian, and medication recommendations from a primary care provider.

Exercise:  Exercising burns energy and can help to burn extra glucose in your bloodstream.  If you blood sugar is high, try taking a walk or hiking up a flight of stairs.  Regular exercise can help moderate blood sugar and improve A1C results. 

Healthy lifestyle habits can improve your blood glucose levels, perhaps preventing the onset of diabetes, and leading to better diabetes control.  If you are diagnosed with diabetes, keep your appointments with your doctor, take medicines as prescribed, and ask for a referral to a dietitian for help in creating your diabetic meal plan. You make multiple choices every day, commit to improving one habit at a time, and start today!  

The CHC Diabetes Support Group meets Monday, November 14, 2016 in conference rooms 1 & 2 from 6 – 7 p.m. If you would like more information about the Diabetes Support Group call 517-279-5346.

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