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Sweet Holiday News for People With Diabetes

Sugar Rush

Holiday Survival Kit

The goal during the holidays is to budget your sweets. That requires:

  • Advance planning
  • An emphasis on healthful recipes
  • Daily exercise

Here are some ways to put those guidelines into action:

  • Decide ahead of time what and how much you will eat ("I'll only have a small piece of apple pie with no ice cream") and how you will handle social pressure ("No thank you, I'm too full"). Then stick to your plan.
  • Develop personal "rules" for sweet indulgences -- such as sharing one dessert with a friend, limiting serving size, scraping off the high-fat whipped-cream topping, or rationing desserts to three per week (in which case you're only postponing, not denying, yourself a treat). Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!
  • Volunteer to bring a favorite low-sugar dessert, such as plain cookies, baked apples, or sugar-free puddings, to social functions. That way there will be something appropriate for you to eat.
  • Make sure you don't take a holiday from daily exercise. Continue your routine workouts in addition to extra activities, such as parking far from and walking to the mall, or power-walking while shopping.

Revising Recipes

Almost any holiday dessert recipe can be revised to be healthier without sacrificing taste. Cut the sugar by one-third to one-half in a recipe and increase the use of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and other sweet-tasting spices and flavorings. Many sweet desserts are also high in fat, so replace fat with pureed fruit, such as applesauce or baby-food prunes, in recipes for chocolate brownies, cakes, or cookies. You'll also find you don't need as much sugar, since fruit supplies sweet taste. (You still must keep the portion small, since replacing fat with fruit increases the carbohydrate content, which must be monitored closely.) Sugar substitutes are another alternative for just about everyone, including diabetics.

Happy Holidays

People with diabetes can look forward to the holidays, with their seasonal traditions and social celebrations, as long as they remember that the game plan doesn't start at the dining table; it includes the entire day's food intake as well as exercise.

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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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