A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes calls for a change in the way a person eats. Type 2 diabetes, unlike Type 1 (or juvenile diabetes), has the possibility of being controlled with diet and exercise. For many, this requires learning a new way to eat.
The idea to “just cut out sugar” isn’t the answer. A healthful diet for a Type 2 diabetic involves looking at when and how many carbohydrates a person eats, as well as fiber and protein consumption.
Diane Whitten, a nutrition educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County who teaches “Dining with Diabetes” classes, stresses that it’s not about eliminating carbohydrates all together or thinking that carbs are bad.
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy, including the brain. The body converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is essential for healthy brain function.
’Dining with Diabetes’
WHERE: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County, 50 W. High St., Ballston Spa
WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 23 and May 30
HOW MUCH: $30 for one person and $10 for additional family members
MORE INFO: www.ccesaratoga.org; to sign up, call 885-8995
So, cutting all carbs is not the healthy thing to do, but monitoring how many a person eats, and when, is the key. “I realized that the vast majority of people have no idea how many carbs they should have at a meal,” Whitten said.
A certified diabetes educator can help a person determine how many carbs he can eat at a meal, depending on age, activity level and blood sugar levels. Limiting the number of carbohydrates and making sure to include fiber-rich foods is key. Lynn Sutton, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the Endocrine Group in Albany explains why.
“Fiber doesn’t raise your blood sugar. The higher the fiber, the slower it takes to digest,” she said.
Protein does not raise blood sugar levels, either, and it takes about 5 hours for the body to digest it. In this way, blood sugar level go up slower and come down slower.
Understanding the sources of carbohydrates is a critical part of counting them, and Whitten emphasizes that in her classes. There are the obvious ones — bread, potatoes and rice. But others, such as fruit and dairy products, aren’t always recognized. “The one people think of least is milk. Milk and yogurt are significant forms of carbohydrates in the diet,” Whitten said.
Both Sutton and Whitten teach The Plate Method. This is dividing up the dinner plate, half filled with nonstarchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, onions, salad vegetables and the like. One-quarter of the plate is for carbohydrates and the remaining quarter for meat or meat substitutes for protein.
It’s an easy way to balance and limit carbohydrate intake. Sutton also notes that limiting fat to 30 percent or less is important for diabetics and nondiabetics alike.
Sutton has worked with people who have, through diet and exercise, reversed their Type 2 diabetes diagnoses.
Whitten will be teaching the three-week class “Dining With Diabetes” beginning Thursday.
The following recipes are courtesy of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County and together, represent a carbohydrate-balanced meal.
Chicken Breasts with Apricot-Ginger Glaze
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Splenda Granular
1⁄2 cup sugar-free apricot jam or preserves
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (eight 4-ounce pieces)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Coat a small saucepan with nonstick spray. Heat the pan to medium, add the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Turn heat to medium-high, add the vinegar and Splenda, and bring to a boil. Stir until the Splenda dissolves. Add the apricot jam, soy sauce, and pepper, Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Place chicken on baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, basting with glaze two or three times during the cooking process. Spoon remaining glaze over chicken just before serving. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional information: 140 calories, 2 grams fat, 100 milligrams sodium, 8 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 27 grams protein.
1 teaspoon tub margarine
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon bottled, minced garlic)
23⁄4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1⁄8 teaspoon black pepper
11⁄3 cups brown rice
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, cook onion and garlic in margarine for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Ad chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon rind, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add rice. Cover and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional information: 90 calories, 1 gram fat, 160 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams protein.
Seasoned Green Beans with Red Pepper Strips
11⁄2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame or olive oil
1⁄8 teaspoon pepper
In a medium saucepan, bring 11⁄2 cups water to boil. Add green beans and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and rinse beans in cold water to stop the cooking process.
In a large bowl, toss green beans, pepper strips, and remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 8 servings.
Nutritional information: 50 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 130 milligrams sodium, 8 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams protein.
Fresh Fruit Tarts
12 won ton wrappers
1⁄4 cup sugar-free jelly or fruit spread
3 cups diced fresh fruit
3⁄4 cup fat-free yogurt, any flavor
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tins with nonstick spray. Press won ton wrappers into muffin tins, allowing the corners to stand up over the edges. Bake won tons until lightly browned. Watch carefully, as they brown very quickly. Remove from oven, let cool and carefully remove each won ton shell from muffin pan.
Warm jelly or fruit spread in microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. Lightly coat insides of each won ton shell with melted jelly. Fill each shell with 1⁄4 cup fruit and top with 1 tablespoon of yogurt. Makes 12 servings.
Nutritional information: 60 calories, 0 grams fat, 55 milligrams sodium, 14 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams protein.