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Diabetes Health Center

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Diabetes and Food: 5 Myths and Facts

4. Myth: People with diabetes shouldn't eat potatoes.

Truth: They're high in carbs, but you can still enjoy them in moderation. You can also eat other carb-rich foods, such as pasta, bread, and rice -- just don't go overboard.

"A serving of potatoes should be the size of your fist," Brown says. Since many spuds are large, plan to eat half at a time. Baked potatoes are healthy, but sweet potatoes are even better: "They have more nutrients, including beta-carotene, which gives them their color," she says.

Eat the skin, which is a great source of fiber. When it comes to grains, choose whole ones (such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta), and remember that they shouldn't take up more than one-quarter of your dinner plate.

5. Myth: Alcohol is off-limits.

Truth: Moderate drinking -- meaning no more than one drink a day for women and two for men -- is safe for most people with diabetes. But it's a good idea to talk it over with your doctor first.

Some medications, like insulin or those that help increase insulin levels, can make you prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Alcohol may make that worse.

Also, your body digests alcohol differently from sugar, and the effects aren't always felt right away. "A drink you had at night could make your blood sugar drop the next morning," Brown says.

Don't drink on an empty stomach, and remember that calories count. As Brown says, "You're drinking your dessert."

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Reviewed on May 16, 2014

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