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No Forbidden Foods

There’s a myth out there that people with diabetes can’t have any sugar at all. The truth is that there are no forbidden foods in a healthy diabetes diet. The key is keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates you consume. Many people with diabetes learn what’s often called “carb counting,” which provides a nice level of flexibility in their food plans.

Grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and sweets—foods that contain the most carbohydrates—can affect blood sugar levels quickly. Diabetes educators teach people how to keep track of and limit the amount of carbohydrate in each meal. The amount can vary from person to person.

Even if you don’t have diabetes, chances are you know people who do. They’ll appreciate your understanding a little bit about the way they eat.

Source: L. Holzmeister, P. Geil. Diabetes Nutrition A to Z. The American Diabetes Association, 2001.

What’s Hypoglycemia?

Have you ever noticed that if you go for a long time without eating, you begin to feel a little shaky, weak, tired or irritable? These are signs of hypoglycemia, which means that your blood sugar is low.

Hypoglycemia is a common complication of diabetes. It can also happen to people who don’t have any other health condition. Going too long between meals, exercising for a prolonged period of time and drinking too much alcohol are some of the things that can cause blood sugar to get too low.

If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia, be sure to see your doctor so you can find out the cause. If it turns out that your hypoglycemia is not related to another medical condition, your doctor or a dietitian may recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals, exercising regularly and perhaps limiting the amount of carbohydrate in your diet.

Source: The National Association of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders

Indigestion or GERD?

Having heartburn now and then is not usually something to worry about. But if you have heartburn two or more times per week, you may actually have a more serious condition called GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The most common symptoms of GERD include having chronic heartburn and/or acid regurgitation (acid that comes up into your throat after you eat) two or more times per week.

Other symptoms include belching more than usual, chest pain, sore throat, bad breath, hoarse voice and decay of tooth enamel.

GERD can lead to disease of the esophagus and in some cases, even cancer.

Don’t try to medicate yourself if you have frequent heartburn. See your doctor. There’s a good chance that even if you have GERD, medication and lifestyle changes can help you lead your life with little to no symptoms.

Source: American College of Gastroenterology; International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Inc.

Thanksgiving, Diabetes, Your Dinner
People with diabetes can have a little bit of everything during the Thanksgiving meal. The problem is the amount of food that everyone, diabetic or not, consumes. Eating smaller meals throughout the day keeps blood sugar more stable than eating one heavy meal.

If you’re preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for someone who’s diabetic, it’s helpful to have high fiber foods, like broccoli, sweet potatoes, green peas, whole grain breads and dried beans on your menu. These soluble fibers can help control increases in blood sugar levels.

Source: The National Association of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders

Caffeine and Parkinson’s Disease
While there are no general dietary restrictions for people with people with Parkinson’s disease, it’s a good idea to limit caffeine. Caffeine can make you feel jittery, and that’s the last thing a person with Parkinson’s needs. Caffeine is in tea and soft drinks as well as coffee. Try to have only one caffeinated drink per day. If this is difficult for you, taper off gradually, substituting with decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas and caffeine-free sodas.

Source: D. Cram. Understanding Parkinson’s Disease. Addicus Books, Inc. 1999.

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