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Food Labels and Diabetes: Expert Q&A

Are there other limitations to the usefulness of food labels?

Probably the most important thing to point out is that many foods -- and many of the healthiest foods -- don’t carry labels. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans sold in bulk, poultry and fish, for instance, don’t come with a nutrition facts panel. Food labels help you evaluate a particular food. But they don’t give you complete information about your total diet. For that, you have to pay attention to the balance of foods you eat during the day.

Any final advice on a good diet?

There is no diet without exercise. For people to lose weight and keep it off, they need to exercise for 30 minutes a day for at least 150 minutes a week. I usually tell my patients you need a mix of exercise. Try to do 10 minutes of stretching and aerobics when you get up in the morning. Then do 10 minutes of walking after you eat your lunch. Finally, do 10 minutes of strength exercise in the evening using a stretch band or light weights while seeing the evening TV. Always remember that type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease and the key to prevention is weight loss through healthy diet and regular exercise.

Reviewed on July 14, 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.

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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.

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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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