Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prediabetes and sugar

Question:  I was recently diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes and was wondering how strict my diet really needs to be?  Does every meal and snack need to be completely sugar and carb free?

Answer:  The best thing to do if you have pre-diabetes is to eat small, frequent meals, make mostly healthy food choices, and step up your daily activity.

 I actually encourage all of my patients with prediabetes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes to make sure they are having some carb everytime they eat.  I have patients focus on total carbohydrate content at meals and snacks.  Sugar is part of the total carb so it does not need to be taken into separate consideration - JUST FOCUS ON TOTAL CARBS.   General guidelines for carbs are 45-60g per meal and 15-30g carb per snack.  Individual needs may vary - it is recommended that you meet with a dietitian to figure out what amounts are best for you.

Is is nearly impossible to have a "sugar-free" diet as even many healthy foods contain natural sugars.  Just try to stick with more healthy food choices like whole grains, fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein choices.  Save the unhealthy carbs like chips, snack foods, and sweets for special occasions.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Eating out

Question:  On my lunch breaks I go to a sandwich shop.  I usually get a large deluxe sandwich with a side of potato salad or coleslaw.  Now that I have diabetes, I'm trying to modify my lunch order.  Can you make some suggestions of what to order?

Many of the whole sandwiches at sandwich shops these days are 800-1,000 calories by themselves.  The best bet is to order a smaller size sandwich or eat 1/2 of the large deluxe sandwich.  If the portion of potato salad or coleslaw is small it's probably ok to have with the smaller sandwich.  Healthier alternatives might be to have a small side of fruit or a side salad with lowfat dressing.

Try not to eat out too often as healthy choices are often limited and it's easy to overeat.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Diabetes and juice

Question:  I have heard I should avoid fruit juice since I have diabetes.  What about vegetable juices?  Can I have tomato juice and other vegetable juices?

Answer:  Both fruit and vegetable juices are okay to have if you have diabetes.  You need to be more careful with the portion and frequency of fruit juice because it has more carbs than the vegetable juice.  4 oz of fruit juice has ~15g carb and 8 oz. vegetable juice has ~10-15g carb.  Many vegetable juices are higher in sodium, so still be careful of the portion and frequency.  Try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to get all the phytochemicals, antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber they provide.

If you are going to drink fruit juice try to stick with unsweetened juices, 100% juice, or consider trying light juices which have sweeteners added to them in place of sugar to lower the carb content some.

 Always check the food label for carb content!