November 3, 2011

Diabetes: Are You at Risk?

By Molly Hammer-Shattuck, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietician

Diabetes is not going away. Approximately 26 million adults and children in America live with diabetes, and another 79 million are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless proper preventative steps are taken.

The American Diabetes Association has deemed November “American Diabetes Month” to help promote
diabetes awareness. It is important for those with diabetes to keep blood sugar levels near normal in order to avoid
additional health problems like heart or kidney diseases. Here are some basic eating guidelines that can be followed by those with or without diabetes to help maintain normal blood sugar levels.

1. Be consistent. Try to eat the same amount of carbohydrates for meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day.

2. Carbohydrates are key. Carbohydrates in food will raise blood sugar. Know the amount of carbohydrates in the foods you eat by looking at the food label for total grams of carbohydrates for the serving size of food. Most adults need around 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. If you do not know how many grams of carbohydrates you should be eating, contact your health care provider or ask your local Hy-Vee dietitian.

3. Watching how much you eat is one of the keys to good blood sugar control is. Refer to serving size on the Nutrition Facts panel and measure or weigh food to become familiar with the amount in one serving.

4. Focus on fiber. Eating high-fiber foods can help keep blood sugar from rising too high and fast after you eat. Good sources of fiber include whole-grain cereals and breads, flax and chia seeds, fruits and vegetables and beans.

5. People with diabetes have an increased risk for heart disease. Watch the amount of saturated fat and trans-fat you consume. Choose low-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat, limiting meat portions to three ounces twice daily. Use monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and nuts in place of saturated fats.

6. Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even losing just 5-10 percent of your weight can make a big difference in helping bring down blood sugar levels.

7. Use NuVal as your guide. NuVal is a nutrition scoring system used at Hy-Vee that rates foods on a scale of 1 to 100; the higher the score, the better the nutrition. When choosing foods at Hy-Vee remember to compare NuVal scores of your favorite products and try to “trade up” to better nutrition by choosing higher-scored products.

Your Hy-Vee registered dietitian can talk with you more about blood sugar control, NuVal and the foods recommended for those with diabetes. Ask your Hy-Vee dietitian about in-store blood sugar screening.