The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that currently one in four Canadians have diabetes or pre-diabetes and that this number may rise to one in three by 2020.
I am fortunate to work with registered dietitian Deb Lounsbury, who is a certified diabetes educator, and over the past 25 years, has worked in areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular health and obesity management. She helped me clarify some of the most common myths about nutrition and diabetes.
Myth No. 1: Diabetes is about avoiding sweets and sugar.
FACT: Diabetes is about managing carbohydrate intake.
“There is nothing you need to avoid; all foods can fit even if you have diabetes,” says Lounsbury. The key in diabetes management is spreading out food throughout the day so your body can handle a reasonable amount of carbohydrates at one time.
If you have just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Lounsbury suggests limiting obvious sugary foods such as pop, fruit juice, candy and sweets to get your blood sugars under control. Once blood sugars are better managed, she works to help people understand how to occasionally incorporate foods such as desserts.
Lounsbury also emphasizes that carbohydrates can still be enjoyed by diabetics. “Diabetes is about managing carbohydrate intake, not simply about limiting sweets, potatoes, pasta and bread.” Many of her clients are surprised that carbohydrates are found not just in sweets and grains, but in milk, yogurt, fruit, juice and corn.
Andrea Holwegner, known as the Chocoholic DietitianTM, is founder and president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc., a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and a media expert for the Dietitians of Canada. For nutrition counselling information and to sign up for a free monthly newsletter loaded with nutrition tips, recipes and more visit www.healthstandnutrition.com. Twitter @chocoholicRD.
Type 2 Diabetes: 6 Nutrition Myths
by Andrea Holwegner, RD