Diabetes & Baking

September 8, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I have type 2 diabetes and love to bake.  When cooking or baking, if I substitute Splenda or Stevia for regular sugar does this make the recipe sugar free?

Answer:  Generally, you will want to look at the total carbohydrate in a food or a recipe instead of sugar.   In the past, when someone was diagnosed with diabetes, they were told they should not eat sugar.  The thinking was that sugar affected blood sugar more than complex carbohydrates (table sugar compared to a slice of bread). That thinking has shifted.  Sugar has no greater effect on blood sugar than complex carbohydrates.  All carbohydrates are considered fairly equal as far as affecting blood sugar.

Using Splenda or Stevia or other non-nutritive sweeteners when baking would replace the sugar content in the regular sugar BUT it would not necessarily make the recipe sugar free or carbohydrate free.  Other ingredients such as flour, fruits, or oats contain carbohydrate and would add to the total carbohydrate of the recipe.

When baking try to use more nutrient dense foods that will offer fiber, vitamins, and minerals.  Experiment with the following tips:

  • Opt for whole grain flour when possible.
  • Use unsweetened fruits.
  • Use egg whites instead of whole eggs to limit fat.
  • Choose canola oil or olive oil for healthier monounsaturated fat.

Be sure to limit portion sizes of treats as well.


Household Healthy Eating

August 1, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I have pre-diabetes and am struggling to eat healthy.  My brother and his family live with me and there are tons of junk food temptations in my kitchen.  I want the entire household to start eating healthy with me, they can all benefit, but they are resistant.  Any suggestions?

Answer:  It can definitely be helpful if the entire family is choosing to eat healthier.  Here are a few suggestions that may be of help:

  • Sit down with your family and discuss your goals.  Explain why it is important for you to eat healthier and describe what you mean when you say “eat healthy”.  This will help them understand your point of view as well as give them a clear picture of how their eating would change.
  • Get creative with your recipes and make them over into healthier options by reducing fat, choosing leaner protein sources, opting for whole grains, etc.
  • Involve your family in preparing meals.  This can be a great opportunity for everyone to contribute to healthier eating.


Salad Bar Suggestions

July 6, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

We have a large salad bar at the work cafeteria that I would like to take advantage of for lunch (especially during the summer).  I’m trying to lose weight and control blood sugar.  Could you give me some tips on what to choose and what to steer clear on at the salad bar?

Answer:  A salad bar can be a great opportunity to load up on fresh vegetables and lean proteins.  You will want to use caution however since the salad bar can offer high calorie and fat salads, dressings, and proteins.  Here are some tips to help guide you:

  • Start with lots of salad greens (romaine, mixed greens, spinach, etc.).
  • Add a variety of non-starchy vegetables such as peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli.
  • Look for garbonzo or kidney beans for additional fiber and protein.
  • Opt for sliced turkey or chicken breast over bacon bits.
  • Try vinaigrette salad dressing on the side so you can control your portion.

Fruit & Pre-Diabetes

June 8, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I was diagnosed as having pre-diabetes earlier this year.  Since then I have completely changed my eating habits and become a vegetarian.  I’ve lost weight but want to lose more.  Can you tell me which fruits have a high sugar content?  I am wondering about apples, raisins, bananas, and strawberries.  I already know I need to avoid orange juice. Thanks for your help!

Answer:  It sounds like your off to a good start making lifestyle changes and losing weight.  Fruit can be a great addition to your weight loss plan.  Here are some tips to help you with selecting fruit:

  • choose whole fresh fruits when possible since these will contain fiber
  • watch portion sizes on dried fruits since these are more dense (2 Tablespoons of raisins OR 1 small apple will contain the same 15 grams of carbohydrate)
  • opt for a variety of fruits for vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical benefits,
  • eat what is in season for the most fresh fruits.


Pre-Diabetes versus Type 2 Diabetes?

May 30, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

What is the difference between Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?  Could you tell me the diagnostic criteria for both as well as the treatment?

Answer:  Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes are similar.  Someone with Pre-Diabetes has elevated blood sugar (fasting blood sugar of 100-125 mg/dl).  A fasting blood sugar for someone with Type 2 diabetes is 126 mg/dl or above.

Eating right, exercising, and weight loss (if needed) are very helpful with both Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.   Medication to help control blood sugar can also be a part of treatment.  Pre-Diabetes is different in that you can actually reverse your elevated blood sugar.  With Type 2 Diabetes, you cannot reverse the diagnosis but you can take good care of yourself and limit complications by controlling blood sugar.

New Nutrition Labeling Laws – Restaurants

May 25, 2011

The recently passed health care laws will require restaurants with 20 or more locations to list calorie content on restaurant menus and have other nutrient information (including fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, sugars, fiber, and protein) available in writing upon request.

You can learn more by reading the FDA Proposed New Labeling Requirements

Pre-Diabetes & Weight Loss

May 25, 2011

Here is a questions I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and was prescribed medication.  I have been following a diet to lose weight but unfortunately in the past few weeks, I have actually gained a few pounds.  When I was eating whatever I wanted without the medication, I stayed the same weight.  In the past, I have exercised at least 3 days a week but after a year of doing this I only lost about 10 pounds.  Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:  Probably the first best thing to do is to discuss your concerns with your doctor.  He or she can ensure that nothing medically is going on and may have some suggestions.  Here are a few other things to consider:

  • Exercise can be very helpful in losing weight.  Specifically, cardio or aerobic exercise can help you to burn calories and rev up your metabolism.  Try walking, biking, aerobic classes, etc.  Shoot for 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week to see if this makes a difference.
  • Portion sizes are also very important.  You will want to ensure that you eating the right portion sizes and to do this you might want to pull out some measuring cups to size up what a standard portion is.
  • Load up on vegetables.  If you find that you are hungry during the day, try munching on non-starchy vegetables.  These are very low in calorie but also very filling.

Blood Sugar & BBQ?

May 18, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

Every year in late May our friends & family has a large BBQ.  Since I’m watching my weight and blood sugar, what types of foods should I eat more of and what foods should I avoid at my BBQ?

Answer:  BBQs can be a great opportunity to take advantage of enjoying the outdoors and socializing with family & friends.  There are many BBQ options that can be healthy and tasty!  Consider these options for your upcoming BBQ:

  • Grilling can be a very low-fat cooking method since fat does not have to be added to the food in preparation.
  • Opt for skinless chicken or turkey breast and seafood (such as salmon or shrimp) on the grill.
  • You can also grill vegetables such as summer squash, peppers, onions, and mushrooms.
  • Go for a green leafy salad instead of heavier salads such a potato salad.
  • Try fresh fruit for dessert instead of pies, cakes, or cookies.

Diabetes & Hungry Munchies

May 10, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org

I have diabetes and have grown tired of munching on carrots when the crazy hungry munchies hit.  I’m replacing chocolate bars with almonds in an attempt to lower my weight.  What exactly can I snack on when these munchies hit?

Answer:  Everyone experiences the challenge of overeating when they get very hungry.

  • The first key is to try to avoid the “crazy hungry munchies” by ensuring that you are not skipping meals.  Your meals should contain some protein, healthy fat along with carbohydrate to help you stay full longer.
  • All non-starchy vegetables (not just carrots) can be a great snack to help you fill up without going overboard with calories.  Consider having a variety of vegetables cut up and ready to go in the refrigerator to snack on.
  • Almonds are a healthy food to include in your diet but they are also high in calories and fat.  You might consider portioning out 2 tablespoons or so to ensure you do not end up overeating.  Also, try sprinkling a few chopped walnuts over nonfat yogurt as an easy snack that will fill you up.

Diabetes & Big Breakfast

May 4, 2011

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

On special occasions, my family usually gets together for a big breakfast.  Now that I have diabetes, I’m not sure what I can eat.  Waffles, pastries, omelets, bacon, or what?  What are the best items I should choose?

Answer:  Big breakfast gatherings can be filled with temptation from high calorie and carbohydrate pastries and muffins.  This can be especially difficult if you are not sure how some things are prepared.

Breakfast can also be a great opportunity to include whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lowfat dairy products and lean proteins in your diet.  It’s really just about making a better choice and watching portion sizes.  Consider these tips to help you at your next breakfast:

  • opt for whole grain toast or toasted wheat English muffin over pastries,
  • if cereal is offered, look for whole grain varieties and top with lowfat or skim milk,
  • try a veggie omelet made with egg whites or egg substitute to decrease fat and add vegetables to your meal.