Archive | December 2010

Diabetes and New Year’s Celebrations

Here is a question I recently received from

I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and my wife has pre-diabetes. New Year’s Eve we always have a large celebration with cocktails and lots of food. We are growing weary of the party this year given my new diagnosis. Any tips on how we can still enjoy the party?

Answer: Here are some tips to help you enjoy the party without over indulging:

  • Focus on family and friends instead of food; it’s the best time to catch up with what is going on in their lives.
  • Eat moderately and slowly: enjoy the food and make sure your portions are reasonable
  • Don’t skip meals if you do so it will be harder to control your blood sugar and you intend to eat more.
  • Choose sparkling water, unsweetened tea, coffee or diet soda
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation: alcohol drinks add significant amounts of calories to your intake, so keep it to no more than 1 or fewer drink for women and 2 drinks for men.  (1 alcoholic drink equals a 12 oz beer, 5 oz glass of wine, or 1 ½ oz distilled spirits (vodka, whiskey, gin, etc.)).

  • Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, so if you are on medications that lower blood glucose check your blood glucose before you drink to help you decide if you should drink.  Eat something before or while you drink to prevent low blood glucose later.  Also, check blood glucose before you go to bed to make sure the blood glucose is within safe range (100 – 140mg/dL) because hypoglycemia can be caused shortly after drinking and for 8-12 hours after drinking.
  • Sip a drink slowly to make it last longer.
  • Try wine spritzers to decrease the amount of wine in the drink.

  • Some good snack ideas while you drink are: pretzels, popcorn, crackers, fat-free or baked chips, raw vegetables and a low-fat yogurt dip.

  • Be active and plan time for exercise.  After eating you can play games, help clean up after a meal or bundle up and go for a walk.


Carrots and Peas

Here is the newest question from

Is it ok to eat peas & carrots if you have diabetes? I heard to avoid those two veggies.

Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. There are two main types of vegetables: starchy and non-starchy. Starchy vegetables include: potatoes, corn and peas and contain more carbohydrate.   Consider this when counting your carbohydrates.

Non-starchy vegetables include: green beans, carrots, broccoli, artichoke, asparagus, bean sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cucumber, egg plants, mushrooms, leeks, okra, onions, peppers, radishes, squash and tomatoes.  Generally non-starchy vegetables contain 5 grams of carbohydrate in one serving.  Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and have very little impact on your blood glucose.

Try to eat at least 3-5 servings of vegetables a day. A serving of vegetable is:

  • 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or vegetable juice
  • 1 cup of raw vegetables

Enjoy the colorful variety of vegetables!

Diabetes and Holiday Sweets?

Here is a question I recently received from

I have diabetes and this time of year is the toughest for me. It seems holiday treats/sweets are everywhere tempting me! Is it ok to indulge a little? If not, how can I build up enough will power to avoid holiday sweets?

Answer: Managing diabetes can be a challenge during the holiday season with tempting treats everywhere.
Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Eat moderately and plan ahead what and how much you will eat.
  • Before a holiday event eat a snack or a light meal.  Foods high in protein, such as, chicken or cottage cheese help you eat less later.  Fasting before an event may lead you to overeat.
  • Eat smaller portions to keep yourself from indulging too much.
  • When eating high-sugar foods, such as, cookies, cakes, candies and pies, do not just add them to your diet, but substitute small portions of these sweets for other carbohydrates in your meal (e.g a dinner roll)

  • You can modify dessert recipes by replacing up to half of the sugar in a recipe with a sugar substitute.  You can also cut down the sugar and increase the use of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and other sweet-tasting spices and flavorings.  You can replace half of the fat in the recipe with applesauce.  You should still eat a small portion and keep in mind that replacing fat with fruit ingredients increase the carbohydrate content.
  • Eat slowly and enjoy the taste of food.  This will give your stomach enough time to register that you are full.
  • Exercise – you can go for a walk to avoid the temptation of sweets and if you over-indulge you can exercise, which helps decrease the blood sugar.