Diabetes and Diet: August 23, 2011

When George Pickel learned he had diabetes, he got a crash course in healthy eating.

“If you can avoid things like a lot of meat and that kind of protein which isn’t good for diabetes, that’s what you have to do.”

Diet is key in managing diabetes and avoiding serious complications. Diabetics are either unable to make or properly use insulin, which leads to high blood glucose or sugar levels in the body. Sharon Tilbe mentors diabetics at Lee Health Solutions.

“We teach a little bit of carbohydrate counting and make sure that people get adequate whole grains, adequate fruit and dairy in their diet . . . but not too much to raise their blood sugar.”

Rather than a restrictive diet, diabetics should focus on a healthy eating plan: for example, using a 9-inch plate for portion control.

“Dividing that plate in half, that’s a start. Half of the plate should be vegetable, we’re usually talking about the watery crispy vegetables that carry a lot of nutritional impact. With a smaller portion of starch and a small portion, maybe about the size of palm of hand of meat fish or poultry,” says Tilbe.

Full guidelines include: limiting sugar, eating small portions, watching carbs, eating whole grain, fruits and vegetables, cutting fat, and limiting alcohol and salts. Following these can shrink complications and waistlines.

“I lost 20 pounds in about a month. I’m only taking one pill versus two or three pills, and I’ve been able to manage my disease with minimum intervention,” says George.

His diabetes in check, George can enjoy his good health.