What We Eat May Be The Key

By Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N

For years, experts have urged people with a family history of type 2 diabetes to maintain a healthy weight and activity level. Being overweight and inactive were thought to be the main reasons why people developed this type of diabetes. But we now see that some people will still develop type 2 diabetes even if they are not overweight.

The question is: Why does this happen? Some experts believe it happens because of the foods we choose. A recent study in Diabetes Care looked at the ways different groups respond to diet changes. The researchers focused on two ethnic groups that are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes—Native Hawaiians and Japanese Americans. Those in the Native Hawaiian group are often obese, but experts suspect their weight is not the only reason they get diabetes. Japanese Americans tend to stay slimmer, so why is their diabetes risk higher? What is the missing piece of the puzzle for both of these groups?

The researchers who did the study found that people in these two groups who ate a lot of fats, meats, eggs and refined grains, had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also showed that vegetables help protect some people from getting type 2 diabetes. Diets rich in fruit, milk and yogurt also were found to be very helpful, especially in women.

» Fats

The lesson of this research is moderation. It is true that there are healthy fats, such as olive and grape seed oils, but too much fat, of any type, is not a good thing. Before you prepare any food item, see if there is a way you can cook it with less fat. Bake, broil or lightly stir fry your meats and vegetables rather than deep frying. If you enjoy the flavor of cheeses that are high in fat, try a sprinkle of shredded cheese on your foods in place of sliced cheeses. You will get the flavor and cut back on the total amount of fat you consume.

» Eggs

If you enjoy eggs each morning, try something else such as hot cereal or yogurt as your breakfast choice a few days each week.

» Meats

Members of these two groups ate a lot of red and processed meats. Choose poultry in place of some of the red meat you enjoy. Ground turkey can be mixed into ground beef to make healthier meatballs or a meat loaf. Limit your intake of processed meats such as salami and bologna.

» Fruits and vegetables

As children, we often develop strong feelings about certain vegetables. Perhaps you still cringe when you think of Brussels sprouts or broccoli. As we age, our taste buds and feelings about different foods often mature. If you ate overcooked vegetables when you were small, you probably disliked the bitter taste. No foods taste good if they are not prepared well. Try different vegetables made in new ways. You may find that you like stir-fried veggies or raw carrots; many people do.

» Grains

Refined grains have had their fiber portion removed.  White flour and some white rices are two examples of refined grain products. In place of these items, choose brown rice and products that are made from whole wheat flour.

 

We still have a great deal to learn about diabetes and its causes, but cutting down on your intake of fat, red and processed meats, cheese, eggs and refined grains are steps that can take you in a healthier direction.  Add regular physical activity to your day and you are well on your way to enjoying a healthier life.

 


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About Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N (15 Articles)
<p>Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N is the 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year (AADE). She is also a Marriage and Family Therapist, Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, former radio show host, and award-winning medical media producer. Janis is the author and co-author of APPROACHES TO BEHAVIOR: CHANGING THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN PATIENTS AND PROFESSIONALS IN DIABETES EDUCATION (ADA, 2014), DIABETES ON YOUR OWN TERMS (Marlowe & Co, 2007), SEX AND DIABETES (ADA, 2007), and THE SECRETS OF LIVING AND LOVING WITH DIABETES (Surrey Books, 2004).</p>
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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

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Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

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Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

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OmnichannelHealth Media, publisher of DiabetesDigest.com, does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.