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10 Diabetes Diet Myths

Myth 7: You Have to Give Up Desserts if You Have Diabetes.

False! Here are some ways that you can have your cake and eat it, too:

  • Use artificial sweeteners.
  • Practice portion control. Instead of two scoops of ice cream, have one. Or share a dessert with a friend.
  • Use desserts as an occasional reward for following your meal plan.
  • Make desserts more nutritious. Use whole grains, fresh fruit, and vegetable oil when preparing desserts. Many times, you can use less sugar than a recipe calls for without sacrificing taste or consistency.
  • Expand your horizons. Instead of ice cream, pie, or cake, try fruit, a whole wheat oatmeal-raisin cookie, or yogurt.

Myth 8: Artificial Sweeteners Are Dangerous for People With Diabetes.

Artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than the equivalent amount of sugar, so it takes less of them to get the same sweetness found in sugar. This can result in eating fewer calories than when you use sugar.

Artificial sweeteners have received much attention from the media and researchers. Opinions about them are conflicting. The American Diabetes Association approves the use of several artificial sweeteners in diabetes diets, including:

  • Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
  • Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Stevia/Rebaudioside ( A Sweet Leaf, Sun Crystals, Steviva, truvia, PureVia)

A dietitian can help you determine which sweeteners are best for which uses, whether in coffee, baking, or cooking.

Myth 9: You Need to Eat Special Diabetic Meals.

The truth is that the foods that are healthy for people with diabetes are also good choices for the rest of your family -- so there’s usually no need to prepare special diabetic meals.

The difference between a diabetes diet and your family's typical diet is that with diabetes, you need to monitor what you eat a little more closely. This includes the total amount of calories and the amounts and types of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you eat. A diabetes educator or dietitian can help you learn how to do this.

Myth 10: Diet Foods Are the Best Choices for Diabetes.

Just because something is labeled a "diet" food doesn’t mean it’s a better choice for people with diabetes. In fact, "diet" foods can be more expensive and no healthier than foods found in the regular sections of the grocery store, or foods you prepare yourself.

Read the labels carefully to find out if the ingredients and number of calories are good choices for you. When in doubt, ask your diabetes educator or a dietitian for advice.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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