November is American Diabetes Month. Nearly 24 million American children and adults are living with diabetes right now. An estimated 57 million additional Americans are at risk of developing diabetes. The seriousness of this disease cannot be understated. With so many affected, it is likely you know someone who has diabetes – it might even be you.
I am a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator because I wanted to help those that are affected by this disease. When I was in college my grandpa died from a stroke – a common complication of poorly controlled diabetes. Achieving good blood glucose control for people with diabetes has never been easier. With recent advancements in continuous blood glucose monitoring, insulin, oral medications, nutrition, and exercise, many people with diabetes are able to treat and control their blood glucose levels much more effectively. Many people that are at increased risk of developing diabetes are able to employ prevention strategies that lower their risk of developing this lifelong disease.
The first two paths for prevention and treatment are diet and exercise. I tell all of my clients that there is no such thing as a “diabetic diet”. The diet a person with diabetes eats, is one that is healthy and recommended for all to prevent developing diabetes. It includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and heart healthy fats. In many cases, carbohydrate counting is warranted. Depending on a person’s weight loss goals, carbohydrate counts will range from 30-60 grams per meal and about 15 grams per snack. If you are wondering how many grams of carbohydrates you need each day and each meal, you may want to meet with a Registered Dietitian.
Do you count carbohydrates? What are some of the tricks you use to count them? For instance, many people know that one serving of fruit is approximately 15 grams of carbohydrate. But, do you know what a serving of fruit looks like? It is a 4-inch banana, a small apple (4 ounces in weight), one-fourth of a cup of dried fruit, and one-half of a cup of cut or canned fruit.
What advice would you offer to someone that was newly diagnosed with diabetes?