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American Diabetes Month: Let's Talk Nutrition

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) spends each November focused on sharing helpful information about diabetes. Starting with the facts, the CDC reported that almost 11% of Americans have diabetes - that's 34 million people. There is a new diagnosis every 17 seconds. In honor of American Diabetes Month, we're sharing nutritional information from the ADA for those who have been diagnosed.

Let's talk nutrition. While there isn't a specific "diet" those battling diabetes should stick to, the ADA provides a great recommendation called the Diabetes Plate Method.

plate methodStart off with a 9" dinner plate. Next, fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. Then fill one quarter with protein-rich foods, and the other quarter with carbohydrate foods. Choose water or a low-calorie drink option and you're good to go! An example of a completed meal could be asparagus and mushrooms for your vegetable, chicken for your protein, and brown rice for your carbohydrate. Following this method can help ensure you get a balanced diet while managing your blood sugar effectively.

Before we can make our plates, we need to consider the nutritional information and labels of our food choices. The ADA advises us to start by analyzing our serving size. If we eat above or below the serving size, then we aren't getting the right about of calories and carbohydrates that we need. Once you know the serving size of an item, you can start reviewing the rest of the label. That's where you will find the calories, carbohydrates, sugar, fiber, fats, sodium level, as well as the ingredients. Talking with a registered dietician is the best way to figure out what works best for your lifestyle.

Try to incorporate foods that have heart-healthy fats into your diet. Examples of these goods include avocados, nuts and seeds, and fish like salmon or tuna. Healthy facts have a range of benefits for us:

  • Lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels, while increasing good HDL
  • Preventing abnormal heart rhythms
  • Lowering triglycerides associated with heart disease and fight inflammation
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Preventing atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries)

Using the Diabetes Plate Method is a great way to maintain a balanced diet and help manage your blood sugar. Remember to check your nutrition labels to make sure you're getting the right about of nutrients for your specific diet. Lastly, make sure to include heart-healthy fats in your meal plan. Together we can work on spreading helpful information for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes!