April 3, 2011

What’s New with Diabetes?

By Nikki Putnam R.D., L.D.N.
Hy-Vee Registered Dietician
(309) 292-7494

Information about diabetes and its treatment has changed drastically in the past decade. Keeping up-to-date with the ever-changing information can be
challenging. The dietary management of diabetes can be confusing, but reading food labels and selecting diabetic-friendly food does not have to be!

Where do carbohydrates come from?

Typically, carbohydrates are thought to come solely from bread and grain sources. Additional sources of carbohydrates are beans, starchy vegetables, fruit, fruit juice, milk and yogurt.

What is the first thing you look at on a nutrition label?

For many, this may be sugar, but that is not always the leading factor when choosing a diabetes-friendly food. A key focus should be on the “Total Carbohydrates” which includes both sugar and fiber in the total carbohydrate amount.

Do sugar-free foods still have carbohydrates?

Sugar-free foods are commonly marketed to individuals with diabetes; however, it is important to understand that these foods may contain carbohydrates. While sugar-free foods are typically lower in total carbohydrates, they may be higher in other nutrients, such as fat and calories. Look to the nutrition label for carbohydrate and other nutrient content.

Can diabetics eat foods that contain sugar?

Absolutely! In the past, people with diabetes have been told to limit sweet foods like fruits and desserts; however, these foods can be consumed in moderation. As previously stated, diabetics need to monitor the total carbohydrate number from the food label; sugar is included in this count.

Bottom Line: Look at the “Total Carbohydrate” count on the food label when selecting a food item. Diabetes management continues to change and grow with time. For more information, contact a Registered Dietitian.

Nikki Putnam is a registered dietician at Hy-Vee. She can be reached at (309) 292-7494 or nputnam@hy-vee.com.