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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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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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