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Overcoming Diabetes Diet Mistakes

WebMD Feature

It happens. You stepped off the diet that's helping you manage your diabetes. Now it's time to get back on track.

The sooner you do that, the better -- for your health and your peace of mind. These simple strategies can help you get right back on track with healthy eating.

1. Stop the slide.

So you had some chocolate cake or pizza. Move on. "Everyone falls off," says Michael Dansinger, MD, director of the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. "Persistence and getting back on track is crucial."

The fix: Take a minute to think about what happened right before you ate whatever it was that you regret. Did you go too long without eating and were too hungry to say no? To avoid hunger pangs, plan out your meals and always carry smart snacks like almonds and carrots. That way, the next time you're at a bakery or pizzeria, you can make good choices for your meal plan.

2. Pare down your portions.

It can be tricky to tell whether you're eating too much just by looking at your plate. Servings are notoriously big when you're eating out.

The fix: Shrink the size of your plate. Instead of using a dinner plate, use a salad plate. You'll put less on it. If you're at home, you can use a measuring cup to portion out exactly the right amount, says Marjorie Cypress, PhD, president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association.

3. Beware "sugar-free" baked goodies.

When you're craving something sweet, sugar-free cookies or pie might sound like just the thing. Not so fast. "You have to be very careful, because they usually have refined starches in them," Dansinger says. The high carb content of these sugarless treats can have the same effect on your blood sugar as real sweets.

The fix: Read labels carefully, counting the total carbs, not just the sugar. When you want something sweet, eat foods that won't spike your blood sugar -- like berries (they're high in fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar surge) or sugar-free gelatin.

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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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