By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.
With November designated as American Diabetes Month and today as World Diabetes Day (WDD), we wanted to share with you some Dietary Tips for Diabetics. They come from a presentation by Registered Dietitian Brian Carroll on Healthy Eating and Maintaining a Proper Diabetic Diet that was conducted at Prairie Living at Chautauqua, an affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Carbondale, Illinois.
One of the primary objectives of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) during November and throughout the year is to raise awareness of the seriousness of the disease and the importance of management and prevention. The association notes that the risk for Type 2 Diabetes increases as you get older. In the US, about one in four individuals age 60 and older has diabetes.
Also as you age, the risk for complications from diabetes increases.
Nov. 14 was chosen as the date for World Diabetes Day because it marks the birthday of Frederick G. Banting, a Canadian medical scientist. Banting, along with medical scientist Charles H. Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin.
World Diabetes Day activities are led by the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF). The focus is on education and prevention.
Here are the Five Tips from Brian’s presentation that most caught my attention:
1) Maintaining a proper diabetic diet involves much more than “watching your sugars.” Those who are newly diagnosed with diabetes should sit down and talk with a registered dietician one-on-one to really go over information about a healthy diabetic diet in detail. Your physician can recommend a registered dietician. All kinds of information is also available from the American Diabetes Association.
2) You need to eat some carbohydrates, especially if you are on insulin.
For meals, you need 30 to 45 grams per meal and possibly more depending on how active you are. A ½ cup is about 15 grams. You also do not want to go from eating dinner at 5 or 6 p.m. until breakfast without eating anything. You should eat at least 15 grams of carbs before you go to bed. Ideally, you should eat carbs with protein. Older adults, especially women, do not eat enough protein. He suggested crackers with a little peanut butter, dry cereal or a protein bar.
There are three types of carbohydrates – starches, sugars and fiber.
Foods that are high in starch include noodles, corn, potatoes, peas, beans, and grains. Whole grains are much better for you because you get all of the nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals that the grain has to offer.
Sugar is a carbohydrate that breaks down and gets absorbed into your blood very fast. Natural sugars can be found in foods such as fruits and milk. For food products such as fruits canned in heavy syrup and cookies, sugar is added during processing.
Fiber comes from plants and is good for you. It is another carbohydrate but it does not break down and become sugar. Eating fiber contributes to good digestive health, can help make you feel full and satisfied after eating, and can help reduce cholesterol levels.
3) Artificial sweeteners increase a person’s appetite, which can contribute to obesity. Most artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter than sugar.
4) The best thing to drink is water. He also suggested drinking unsweetened teas and coffee and avoiding soda, whether regular or diet. He recommended eating fruit rather than drinking fruit juice. Juice often contains added sugar and is absorbed very quickly into your blood. You usually do not get the benefit of the fibers that are in fruit when you drink juice rather than eating the fruit. Fat-free milk is a good source of Vitamin D.
5) The American Diabetes Association has designated ten foods as Diabetes Superfoods.
They are high in fiber and a good source of magnesium and potassium. A ½-cup of beans provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, collards and kale are on the list because they are so low in calories and carbohydrates.
They are a good source of soluble fiber and vitamin C.
You have to count them as a carbohydrate but they are packed full of Vitamin A and fiber and are much better than regular potatoes.
They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber and a good source of potassium. The American Diabetes Associations suggests mixing berries with light, non-fat yogurt for a delicious dessert.
They are a good source of iron and vitamins C and E.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that weekly you eat six to nine ounces of fish such a salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Whole grain breads and oatmeal are among the recommendations.
Nuts can be a good afternoon and evening snack, Brian said. He also suggested Flax Seed.
Fat-Free Milk & Yogurt
A common problem among older adults is getting enough vitamin D, especially during winter months. Dairy products are a good source of vitamin D and a good source of calcium. Fat-free or low-fat is recommended.
For more information, Brian recommends visiting www.diabetes.org
Diabetes Guide for Adults 55+
To help older adults delay or avoid complications from diabetes and live a long and happy life, the American Diabetes Association makes available a guide specifically for adults 55 and older. You can access the Living Healthy with Diabetes Guide by clicking here.
All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.