FATS

fats    Reduce heart attack risk by eating fewer harmful fats and moderate amounts of healthful ones.  Here’s what to look for on packages.

ON THE LABEL

Total Fat sums all types of fat in one serving.  People with diabetes (PWDs) should aim for 2-35 percent of daily calories from fat.  For example, that’s 36-62 grams of fat for someone eating 1,600 calories a day.  Although you can tally daily fat intake, watching the types of fat you consume is more important for heart health.

Saturated Fat should be no more than 7 percent of PWDs’ daily calories, which is 12 grams for someone on a 1,600 calorie meal plan (mutitply calories by 0.07, then divide by 9).  Most types of saturated fat raise harmful LDL cholesterol, although they also raise helpful HDL cholesterol.

Trans Fat

listed on labels is manufactured.  This harmful fat raises LDL and lowers HDL cholesterol levels.  Due to government rounding rules, amounts of trans fat (and other fats) less than 0.5 gram per serving appear as 0 gram on labels-but these small amounts add up.  If you see “partially hydrogenated oil, in the ingredient list, trans fat is present-leave it at the store.

Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats are good fats because they help lower LDL cholesterol and heart disease risk when swapped for trans and saturated fats.  Studies with PWDs suggest consuming omega-3 polyunsaturated fats (high in oily fish) could ;help lower artery-clogging triglycerides.

TOP SOURCES OF SATURATED FAT:  Bacon, Cheese, Desserts, Hot Dogs, Pizza, Ribs, Sausage, and Ice Cream.

Typical Sources of Trans Fat:  Biscuits, Boxed mixes and dinner helpers, fried foods, Piecrusts, including graham cracker crusts, Purchased baked goods, Ready-made frosting, Snack foods, and Stick margarine.

References:   Diabetes Living Magazine/ Summer 2013, by Marsha McCulloch, RD, LD

FIVE SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR

Diabetes seem complicated and overwhelming, full of charts and devices, and concerned-looking medical professionals.  There’s talk of hormones and endocrine systems, of obscure organizations, and dietary plans.

It all comes down to this: What it’s really about-is lowering that sky-high blood sugar number.

That’s it.  Everything follows from getting that blood sugar number down.  It doesn’t matter how you got there, and it doesn’t matter what you did before.  what’s important, what’s critical for you right here, right now, is to lower that number.

Here are five simple ways you can lower your blood sugar.  The list doesn’t include the most obvious choices (medication) because you know them already.  These are methods you might not have thought about.

1.  Stay on your feet  The simple answer that doctors give people with diabetes (especially type 2s) who want lower to lower their blood sugars is to exercise.  And it works!  But what if you’re not the exercising type?  What if the sight of a treadmill or exercise bike or running shoes gives you the fits?  That’s okay. too, actually.  You might want to consider simply spending a chunk of each day on your feet.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, simple activities like sweeping the floor, or dusting the shelves, or taking the dog out for a walk are all healthy ways to stay active.  You will burn calories, and you will move that blood sugar number down.

2.  Drink Water  Believe it or not, evidence suggest that staying hydrated can have an effect on blood sugars and whether or not people develop type 2 diabetes.  Is the effect it has a big one?  We’re not sure yet.  But a 3,000o-person study cited in the NEW YORK TIMES showed that people who drank the most water 17 to 34 ounces a day-were 30 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank less water.

Further research cited by the TIMES shows when your body is dehydrated, your kidneys go into panic mode. They retain water and release a hormone that raises blood sugar.  So make sure to keep that water glass filled up.  You’re reducing your chance of developing high blood sugars and possibly cutting long-term health risks!

3.  Reduce Stress    Anybody with type 1 diabetes will tell you that if you have a spike in your stress level, your blood sugar level will likely spike, too.  But this advice works for type 2s and non-diabetics as well.  As the American Diabetes Association puts it, stress causes your body to react aggressively.  Glucose is dumped into your blood, giving you a source of quick energy.

But this doesn’t work for people with diabetes.  Without the insulin to convert that sugar into form your body can use, it simply piles up.  And it causes-you guessed it-high blood sugars.  Before you freak out, then step back.  Take a few seconds to settle down.  Perhaps you could try some breathing exercises or meditation.  Whatever you do, keeping yourself tranquil will help keep those blood sugar levels level.

4.  Watch Your Weight  People with diabetes hear certain bits of advice all the time.  We’ve already covered the exercise one.  Well, her comes another; Watch your weight.  The bigger you are, the more challenges you’re likely to have with your blood sugars.  For type 2’s, weight is one of the main risk factors for developing the disease.  Your body struggles to keep up with the bigger (and heavier) demands placed on it.

But no one says you have to lose hundreds of pounds at once.  Yo-yo dieting can cause problems of its own.  But you should know your weight, if you’re too heavy, you should work to lose some of those pounds.  And according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute weight loss is good for a bunch of other things, too.  It can lower your blood pressure (another major problem for many people with diabetes) and decrease your bad cholesterol.

5.  Snack Smarter  You already know that certain snacks will not  help your blood sugar levels.  Candy Bars and other sugary treats can send your blood glucose levels spiraling out of control  But that doesn’t mean you can’t snack at all.

Many kinds of vegetables-celery and broccoli for instance-have few carbohydrates and won’t raise your blood sugar very much.  Certain kinds of fruits, mainly berries, have few carbs and a low glycemic index, which means that whatever king of sugar they contain is absorbed into your body slowly.

And that’s just a start.  There are a multitude of diabetic-friendly ways to snack.  Eggs, olives, and string cheese all have small amounts of carbohydrates.  Plentiful information a such snacks is available on the DIABETES HEALTH website (diabeteshealth.com), and the sites of organizations like the ADA and the Mayo Clinic have valuable information and tips as well.  Whatever kind of snack you pick, make sure it’s something the contributes to your health goals.

Final Note  Let’s close with a word of warning.  These suggestions should not replace insulin or any other diabetic drugs prescribed by your doctor.  People with diabetes need a team of health-care professional and an overall treatment plan.  Type 1s will need to take medication for the rest of their lives (or until the arrival of a cure).  Many type 2s will need medication as well.

While there are many practical, simple ways for you to keep your blood sugar down, or keep it from going higher, never turn your back on solid, scientifically proven treatments.  You deserve the best care possible.

Reference:  Clay Wirestone/ DiabetesHealth Magazine June-July 2013 pg. 26&27