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Diabetes And Holiday Food Temptations

Timeless Fitness Tip

Rich, sugary holiday foods offer a special challenge for people with diabetes. Holiday celebrations offer temptation for partygoers to abandon healthy nutritional habits, but calorie-laden festivities pose a special challenge to the 16 million (and growing) Americans who have diabetes.

Diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the Untied States, is a metabolic disorder in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin (a hormone needed to convert sugar into energy).

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holidays can have a positive influence on your blood sugar and health. Dr. Perfetti, Director of the Endocrine Training Program and the Outpatient Diabetes and Weight Management programs for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recommends that the following tips will help people with diabetes enjoy a healthy holiday season:

Holiday foods

  • Follow a regular exercise routine to help regulate metabolism. If time is tight, try taking 10 or 15 minute brisk walks at intervals throughout the day. Remember, after a holiday meal, to wait 60 to 90 minutes before taking your walk.
  • Keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible and take your diabetes medicine regularly. Watch for symptoms of low and high blood sugar.
  • "Know when enough is enough." Practice portion control. If you control the portion sizes of the food you eat, you will be able to eat a wider variety of foods including your favorites. A small portion is less likely to upset blood sugar levels.
  • Do a "trade-off." Eating more during the holidays can be - in part - offset by a moderate and daily increase in physical exercise.
  • Choose nonfat or low fat foods. A healthy diet includes less than 30% of Calories: from fat, with less than 10% of those from saturated fat. Monounsaturated fats found in almonds, walnuts, canola and olive oil are the healthiest for your body.
  • At parties and other social events, gravitate toward the veggies and fresh fruit.
  • Take extra care to be certain that your meals are nutritious, varied and balanced. If you do have a treat, make sure you substitute it for an equivalent item in your regular menu.
  • Be positive. Remember that you control your diabetes; it doesn't control you.

The preceding information has been provided with the kind permission of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California.

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