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Truth About Diabetic Diets

09/11/2011

  • Narrator:

    In classroom discussions, grocery store field trips, and cafeterias across the country, diabetes educators are constantly being asked: What is a diabetic diet?

  • Mary Ransbotham, RN, CDE:

    Really there isn't a diabetic diet, and that’s something that we’ve heard for years and years and years, "can’t you just send me a diabetic diet" or "put them on a diabetic diet. I need a diabetic diet, what’s a diabetic diet," there just really isn't any such thing.

  • Narrator:

    Then just what do you eat when you have diabetes? 

  • Ransbotham:

    It’s going to vary from one individual to another. We will be looking all the nutrients and coming up with a healthy, balanced diet that’s appropriate to that person based on their age, their activity level, what type of diabetes they have, so it really does vary widely.

  • Sally Brozek, MS, RD, LD, CDE:

    In type 1 diabetes it’s more about matching the carbohydrate to their medication, and in this case it’s an insulin dose. We need to figure out their miles per gallon, how much insulin do they need for a known amount of carbohydrate.

  • Sally Brozek, MS, RD, LD, CDE:

    In type 1 diabetes it’s more about matching the carbohydrate to their medication, and in this case it’s an insulin dose. We need to figure out their miles per gallon, how much insulin do they need for a known amount of carbohydrate. In type 2 diabetes there may be the ability to manage the disease with no medication, whether just managing it with lifestyle, exercising, eating healthy. So it’s more of an emphasis on lifestyle and let’s get the weight off so that we are more sensitive to the insulin our body is manufacturing.

  • Narrator:

    Here are tips that can help anyone with diabetes eat a healthy, well-balanced diet:

  • Brozek:

    When people hear they have a diagnosis of diabetes, they think, "I have sugar in my blood, I shouldn’t eat sugar," and that’s really not the way to look at it. It’s carbohydrate that converts to glucose in our blood and sugar just happens to be one type of carbohydrate.

  • Ransbotham:

    One of the little tips that you hear quite a bit nowadays is to eat your colors. If you have a colorful plate, you are probably getting nutrients from a wide variety of nutrient sources that’s going to be healthy for you.

  • Brozek:

    Folks need to really zero in on the information that’s on every label, which is what a portion should be, and in this case it’s a quarter of a cup, so I’d say, Hey! Get out your quarter of a cup, take out that portion, put the container away. Remembering guides like the size of your palm when you are having a meat serving. And thinking about fruits the size of a tennis ball. Just those simple tools can help you keep portions in check.

  • Narrator:

    Because diabetes affects each person differently and can change dramatically over the course of a lifetime, it’s important to work closely with your diabetes educator to keep your  meal plan up to date.  For WebMD, I’m Sandee LaMotte.