Thursday, November 29, 2007

Foods Don't Contribute to Your Blood Sugar

Fat, such as oil, butter, margarine, or mayonnaise (or any fat exchange) will not goose your blood sugar. Yet, many people suspect that the butter on a buttered bagel raises their glucose when one slice of toast with jelly doesn't. Logic leads you to the conclusion that the toast and bagel are bread so what's the difference? The bagel weighs in at the equivalent of 4 to 5 slices of bread. This is significantly more carbohydrate than one slice of bread, even with a bit of jelly. Similarly, people sometimes think that the fat of fried plantain or potato must have been the culprit and raised their glucose, because the boiled version behaved itself. Look again. Fried stuff tastes better so we usually eat more of it! There is potato in both meals, but the larger portion of fried potato results in more carbohydrate in that meal. The underlying message to this is that portions count - larger portions mean more carbohydrate and higher blood sugar.

Hidden sugars
Watch out for "hidden" sugar in foods. In cooking, sugar helps with browning. Added sugar also enhances flavors, especially in fast foods. And when a muffin or goodie shouts "fat free" on the label, it's usually loaded with sugar. These are all examples of where sugar can hide in food. Watch out and steer clear.

The right fats
You don't need to aim for a very low-fat diet. You can keep your calories under control and still enjoy dressings and spreads. Just remember to select fats that are low in saturated fat, low in hydrogenated oils, and rich in mono-unsaturated fat. Olive and canola oils are the champions, here. Select soft margarines in the tub, not the stick. These choices will help you to keep your "bad" blood cholesterol down and your "good" blood cholesterol up. Check the "Nutrition Facts" labels for fat content.

Artificial sweeteners
Sugar-free soft drinks will not raise your blood sugar. However, some research has shown that when carbohydrate cravings are not satisfied with a real carbohydrate, artificial sweeteners may increase the desire for starchy or sweet foods leading a person to overindulge on carbohydrate-rich foods. My advice is to be sure to include some real carbohydrates that you can indulge in: popcorn, flavored rice cakes, or cubed fresh fruit!
). Start with a call to your doc or CDE for the "OK" and make your walk 5 to 7 days a week for 15 minutes the first week. Add 5 minutes every week until you meet yourself coming and going.

Sweet Without Sweeteners

Our sweet taste buds can be fooled ... some of the time. Cinnamon and nutmeg always seem to "sweeten" foods and beverages without adding carbohydrate. Some work at the US Department of Agriculture even suggests that about ½ tsp of cinnamon may help to lower blood sugars.

To get the best blood sugar control whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, start with a convenient blood glucose meter to measure your blood sugars, and a daily carbohydrate goal from your doctor. Once you have developed a routine amount of carbohydrate at each meal, you will soon see how to take the mystery out of controlling blood sugar.