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Riverside Leads Patients In Summer Diabetes Education

Tappahannock, Va. (PRWEB) July 20, 2014

Cruising down the aisles of a grocery store, especially when hungry, can fuel very real temptations to snag everything that’s chocolate-covered, frozen or freshly baked. For the majority of people, that’s ok. They can give in to those temptations with very few consequences.

But for those living with diabetes, that’s not always the case.

“Five to seven percent weight loss can significantly improve Type II Diabetes,” said Jacqueline R. Ambrose, RD, CDE, a registered dietitian with Riverside Tappahannock Hospital. “A few simple diet changes can have a big impact of your weight.”

While November is officially National Diabetes Month, diabetes educators and physicians across the Riverside Health System are encouraging patients and the community to focus on it each day.

“We have to eat every day in order to live,” said Ambrose. “We are trying to help patients see the impossible is possible, you can eat food that tastes good and keep your blood sugars within your target range.”

People often think about the winter holidays as being hard on diets, especially for diabetics. But the summers, with picnics and vacations, can be equally challenging.

But they don’t have to be. Riverside’s diabetic educators across the health system offer these tips for effective grocery shopping for healthy foods that also taste good.

Rely on labels, not the front of the box, for nutrition information. Labels detail calories, saturated fats, trans fats and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are complex sugars and, given that diabetics need to control their blood sugar, understanding how many to eat each day is important. Women shouldn’t eat more than 45 carbohydrates per meal, and men, no more than 60 per meal. A 15-carb snack and a 30-carb snack each day can also be part of a healthy diet.

Vegetables. Eat them. They’re so healthy that health educators advise eating as many as possible, within reason. Beans, peas, corn and potatoes need to be eaten in moderation given their high starch and carbohydrate content. Choose fresh and frozen vegetables over canned vegetables.

Fruits. Watch them. Yes, fruits are healthy. But consumers, especially diabetics, should watch the carbohydrate levels of fruits. Eat fruits with other foods, like an apple with a peanut butter, to make the snack or meal more well rounded.

Taste the rainbow. The more color on a plate, the better. More color usually equals a variety of different vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy meal.

Sugar free does not mean healthy or low-calorie. Regular cookies (vs. sugar free diet cookies) can often have fewer carbohydrates. Sugar-free does not mean carbohydrate free, it usually has less carbs than the regular.

Clear vs. creamy. As a rule of thumb, clear salad dressing is generally better than creamy and “light” dressings are better than full fat. Avoid fat free dressings, though, because they replace fat with sugar to maintain flavor.

Tub vs. stick. Stick butter has more fat in it to make it firm so choose tub margarine where possible.

Picking pasta. Always choose whole grain pasta. The whole grains work like a sponge and soaks up cholesterol. The Diabetic Association recommends the “Dream Fields” brand.

Sugar Free Jell-O. No carbohydrates. No sugar. Consider this a freebie food and while everything should be consumed in moderation, feel free to eat lots of sugar free Jell-O to satisfy a sweet tooth.

A breakfast for champions. Whole grains are a diabetics’ friend. Cheerios or bran flakes are good choices for breakfast cereals given the number of carbohydrates in each serving. Oatmeal is also a healthy breakfast option, especially when made with water. Try to buy the cereal that are the least processed.

Dairy. Consume three dairies each day. Try drinking milk with the least amount of fat to help with cholesterol. Soymilk and almond milk are good alternatives for diabetics because, while they have less protein and calcium, they also have fewer carbohydrates.

Less is more. Choose lean meat with this easy trick – the more feet an animal has, the more fat their meat contains. For example, cows have more feet than chickens, which have more feet than fish, making fish the leanest of all the proteins.

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