Live Your Health
In 2010, after completing a rigorous application and site review process by Meals On Wheels America, we were awarded “Exemplary Status” Magnet Accreditation for our outstanding senior nutrition program.
Chances are, you, a friend or a loved one has diabetes. The statistics are alarming. According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans had diabetes in 2012, with 11.2 million being seniors. If you or someone you know is among these statistics, knowing how dietary choices impact a person with diabetes is important.
While it is important to note that diabetes management includes more than just controlling blood sugars, blood sugar control is a top priority for someone with diabetes. All carbohydrates impact your blood sugar, not just “sweets” or foods that are high in sugar. Carbohydrate-containing foods include grains, fruits, dairy, starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, peas, corn, and lima beans) and sugary foods. With diabetes, you can still enjoy foods with carbohydrates; you just need to limit or control the amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal and snack.
There are three main types of carbohydrates: complex carbohydrates, sugars and fiber. Complex carbohydrates are whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes such as lentils and beans. Sugars, meanwhile, are either naturally occurring or added. Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruit and milk, while added sugars are in processed foods, sweets and many commercially made food products.
Fiber comes from plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. When it comes to your diet, complex carbohydrates, naturally occurring sugars and fiber are your best and healthiest carbohydrate choices, whether you or not you have diabetes.
Many food companies use some additional lingo when talking about the types of carbohydrates in their product. Food packaging may contain terms such as natural sugar, sugar alcohol, no added sugar, low-calorie sweetener, enriched grains and whole grains. The bottom line is that all carbohydrates are included on the food label, listed as “total carbohydrates.” This figure is most important for a person with diabetes who is “counting carbs.”
How many carbohydrates you should eat at each meal and snack time is unique to you; it depends on your age, gender, weight, physical activity and medication. It is extremely important to consult your physician, diabetes educator or registered dietitian for nutrition advice tailored to your specific needs.
Meals On Wheels of Northampton County can help you or a loved one maintain blood sugar control. Meals On Wheels helps to take the guesswork out of diabetic meal planning, as every freshly prepared meal is limited in carbohydrates and are rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fiber to help our clients maintain blood sugar control. Added sugars and processed carbohydrates are used minimally.
Hayley Daubert is a registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist who consults with Meals On Wheels of Northampton County and other organizations. For more information, please e-mail email@example.com.