The CDC estimates that nearly 24 million people in this country have diabetes. 18 million have been diagnosed, but 7 million haven't. That's a real problem because your chances of dying from heart disease and stroke are 2 to 4 times greater when you have diabetes. Here's more on diabetes, heart disease and diet modification with an expert at the Avera Heart Hospital.
A lot of patients at the Avera Heart Hospital have diabetes which makes sense since it's a big risk factor for heart disease. Surprisingly a lot of those patients had no idea. Dietitian and Diabetes Educator at the Heart Hospital Mary Beth Russell helps teach those patients how to modify their diets and learn what foods affect their blood sugar like carbohydrates.
Mary Beth Russell says, "Lots and lots of foods have carbohydrates in them. They need a clear understanding of those foods and how that affects their blood sugar. It's the worst at raising blood sugar levels."
Mary Beth says diabetics, and those of us trying to get a well balanced meal, should have between 45 and 60 grams of carbs per meal. 15 grams per serving.
She says, "We should eat 3 meals a day, not overeat and get something from all 5 food groups. That means every meal should include a fruit, vegetable, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grain. I don't like to say bad carb choice or good carb choice, some just have a better affect on blood sugars. Chose whole grain foods rather than white processed foods. Chose whole wheat pasta, 12 grain bread or 100 % stone ground wheat breads or cereal with extra fiber."
Look for at least 5 grams of fiber per serving in your cereals and make sure the first ingredient listed is whole wheat . If you eat a fruit, which has naturally occurring carbs for a snack, pair it with a serving of protein like a hard boiled egg, string cheese or peanut butter to slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates. All helpful tips we can all apply to make our lives a little healthier diabetic or not.
Mary Beth Russell also warns diabetics to watch their "sugar free" treat consumption because a lot of those products still have a lot of carbohydrates in them.