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Posts Tagged ‘Eating healthy foods’

The American Diabetes Association designated this November as the month to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of proper diabetes control and treatment to those diagnosed with the disease and their families.  Throughout the month, the American Diabetes Association will hold special events and programs on topics related to diabetes care and treatment.  For information click the link to go to the website,  American Diabetes Association or call (800) DIABETES.

 

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Diabetes Myths and Facts

 

Read the myths and facts below from the American Diabetes Association to see how well you know your diabetes facts.

 

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

Fact:  Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

Fact: No, it does not.  Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.  Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain.  If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit.  Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive, and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.

Myth: If you have diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

Fact: Starchy foods are part of a healthy meal plan.  What is important is the portion size.  Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks.  The key is portions.  For most people with diabetes, having 3-4 servings of carbohydrate-containing foods is about right.  Whole grain starchy foods are also a good source of fiber, which helps keep your gut healthy.

Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.

Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes.  They are no more “off limits” to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes.

Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else.

Fact: No.  Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious.  It can’t be caught like a cold or flu.  There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.  Lifestyle factors also play a part.

Myth:  People with diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have diabetes.  However, people with diabetes are advised to get flu shots. This is because any illness can make diabetes more difficult to control, and people with diabetes who do get the flu are more likely than others to go on to develop serious complications.

Myth: If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your diabetes properly.

Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications.  But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal.  Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.

Myth:  Fruit is a healthy food.  Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.

Fact: Fruit is a healthy food.  It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals.  Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan.  Talk to your dietitian about the amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.

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From the Nutrition Data Website,a diet that makes sense…and can actually be maintained over time. It’s not a fad, it’s a framework. Read about the Better Choices Concept:

The Better Choices Diet revolves around one very simple key concept:

For every food that you eat, there are likely to be other equally nutritious foods that will satisfy your hunger with fewer Calories.

The Better Choices Diet starts with a simple nutritional analysis of your current diet. It evaluates each food that you now eat, and recommends alternative foods that may provide more nutritional value and help you feel full on fewer Calories. Instead of shocking your body with an abrupt change in foods, the Better Choices Diet focuses on evolving your diet one food at a time.

Other benefits of the Better Choices Diet
Unlike many other diet plans, the Better Choices Diet:

• Has no banned foods. Instead of rigid lists of “approved” and “unapproved” foods, the Better Choices Diet allows you to eat anything, but encourages you to make smarter food choices.

• Requires no special foods or other investments. Everything you need to understand and use the Better Choices Diet is contained within the Nutrition Data website.

• Can be used with other diet plans. The tools and methods of the Better Choices Diet can also be used to improve the effectiveness of most other diet plans.

• Can also be used for weight gaining diets. The Better Choices Diet is not just for weight loss; it’s about controlling your weight (up or down) through proper food selection and hunger control.

How the Better Choices Diet Evaluates Foods

The Better Choices Diet determines potential food substitutions with the help of ND’s Nutritional Target Map, which maps food in relation to their predicted satiating effect (Fullness Factor) and nutrient density (ND Rating). Foods closer to the upper right corner of the Nutritional Target Map are Better Choices for healthy weight loss, and foods closer to the lower right corner are Better Choices for healthy weight gain.

Better Choices Nutritional Target Map

The 4 Steps of the Better Choices Diet:

1. Make a daily record of everything you eat. Making a record of your diet is a very tedious task if you’re using paper and pencil, but it’s very easy to do with the My Tracking feature of My ND. Please read the My Tracking Help page to learn how to track and analyze your intake.

2. Determine which foods contribute the most Calories to your diet. The primary focus of the Better Choices Diet is to gradually replace some of the foods that you now eat with other foods that are more supportive of your goals. It makes sense to start with those foods that are contributing the most calories to your diet, since this is most likely to have the greatest positive impact on your progress. This step is automated with My Tracking. The tracking report that it generates includes a listing of all foods that you consumed, along with the percentage of calories that each supplied to your diet.

3. Make Better Choice substitutions for those foods. For each item on your tracking report, you’ll also find links to Better Choice substitutions. Select your goal (weight loss, optimum health, or weight gain), and click on the link to explore the resulting list of foods. It’s not important to choose foods that appear highest on the list—simply choose any of these foods that you would enjoy eating.

4. Repeat. Your goal is to gradually evolve your diet to include more nutritious and filling foods and less unhealthy and unsatisfying foods. Over time, as you incorporate more of these foods into your diet, the total calories that you consume will drop, and the overall nutrient density of your meals will increase.

Warning: The Better Choices Diet is a self-directed program.

Despite its potential benefits, the Better Choices Diet is not recommended for those with eating disorders or diet-related medical conditions. It is best suited for individuals who are only moderately overweight and reasonably self-disciplined. All diet analyses and food recommendations are provided interactively via the Nutrition Data website. Although these services are free, no other specific dietary advice is provided. The Better Choices Diet also relies heavily on ND’s Ratings and Fullness Factors. While these calculated values provide a reasonable scientific prediction of a food’s benefit with relation to diet, they can not take into account every aspect of a food’s value. For this reason, no guarantee can be made on the accuracy or suitability of this diet with respect to your individual needs. If in doubt, please consult a nutritionist or healthcare professional for more specific dietary recommendations.

For more on the Better Choices Diet and Nutrition Data tools for tracking and evaluating your food choices, click here.

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