Diet Hardest For Those with Diabetes

Research from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) reported in 1993 that diet was the most difficult aspect of diabetes self-care. With new food products, the internet, diet books (some good, some not so good), and well intentioned family members or neighbors it is even more challenging to understand the important role food plays in managing diabetes.

These challenges include a list so long that it can make your head spin. Here are some of the many issues to consider: adhering to a diet to maintain or lose weight, counting carbohydrates, understanding glycemic index of foods, interpreting blood sugars and how they relate to what you ate, treating low blood sugars without over-treating, controlling snacking behavior, and managing high blood sugars. Other topics include: travel eating, eating out, food for sport, and the list goes on and on.

Patients in the (DCCT) were followed extensively by a registered dietitian throughout this study that focused on maintaining strict diabetes control. The results of the study made it clear that those who followed the diet over 90% of the time had HbA1C levels .9 mg lower than those who followed the diet less than 45% of the time.

So now that we know that diet is such a vital part of strict diabetes control and can reduce diabetes complications, how can we make this difficult aspect of care easier to handle within the demands of daily life?

Jacqueline King, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND and Monica Joyce, MS, RDN, CDE, two well-known and award winning Chicago dietitian/nutritionists decided to write a book that would help the general public with eating healthier in today’s busy world. At first, they concentrated on pharmaceutical representatives because they repeatedly asked for advice when visiting their offices. But when they started to talk to their patients and other individuals about their book, everyone stated that they felt they could use a book like this. Whether a working mother with children, a physician juggling between offices, an executive traveling across the country, or the senior involved in many activities, they all had similar challenges: too little time to eat healthy.

Jackie and Monica knew that their patients with diabetes have to juggle the same busy life styles along with the burden of managing diabetes. They also knew many patients have weight concerns so they planned a book that would support weight loss efforts.

Jackie King, a dietitian who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 47 years agrees that diet is the most difficult aspect of diabetes care. When she was first diagnosed with diabetes, she found herself intrigued by the nutritional aspects of the treatment. There was little else other than taking insulin with huge needles and measuring sugar in the urine. She quickly found that dietary indiscretions resulted in poor urine results, increased trips to the washroom with thirst, and generally feeling lousy. She found, as a child growing up with diabetes that adhering to the diet would demand pre-planning, discipline, and dedication. During high school, she found that bringing a school lunch and snacks made it easier to follow her meal plan. Although she had worried that the other teens would mock her lunches, she found an interest in the healthy foods she was eating as well as the treatment of diabetes. When she decided to become a dietitian and diabetes educator, it was a natural progression from what she had been doing for years. She had become an advocate for healthy eating, exercise, and prevention of diabetes. She often tells patients who discover they have pre-diabetes that is it a blessing. And this is because they can now work to eliminate the possibility of developing diabetes with healthy eating and exercise. The diagnosis is like a WARNING Red Light that is telling you to STOP! It is time to redirect your behavior so you can feel better and live a healthier, productive life.

Here is our Wish List (taken from our book) to help you eat healthier and manage your diabetes.

  1. Cook healthy meals more often. Try a new recipe each week.
  2. Eat more meals at home and sit down with the family.
  3. Plan meals and snacks and shop for healthy foods at least once a week.
  4. Discover simple, healthy recipes that you can make in less than 30 minutes.
  5. Eat some of your favorite foods, some of the time.
  6. Plant a garden or a pot with some favorite vegetables and herbs.
  7. Don’t spend money unnecessarily on supplements or trendy foods.
  8. Avoid “junk nutrition”; look for reliable sources, e.g. registered dietitian.
  9. Move more; take the stairs, walk around the office or home.
  10. Exercise daily at least 30 minutes.
  11. Weigh yourself regularly…

Busy with work, school, or family make it a challenge to incorporate healthy eating with daily tasks. Meal times have become displaced with work, causing many to dine-out and select food that do not disclose dietary information, minimizing our control over when, where, and what we eat. King and Joyce’s book, Too Busy to Diet covers short and concise topics from nutrition to super foods, from alcohol to sushi, and even tips on how to eat healthy when on the road, whether in an airport ,gas station or picking up a quick fast food meal. In an easy to navigate format you can maintain your current daily demands without risking your future health. For more information about the book go to: The book is available in both paperback and Kindle formats.

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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.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

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

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

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