Courtney of AskWell of The New York Times

Reader Question • 

What can I eat if I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes?
I’ve just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I’m flabbergasted to say the least. Now what? Do I ever get to eat a decent meal again? I’m in deep despair.

Michael Short for The New York Times - Diabetes

Michael Short for The New York Times

When people receive a diabetes diagnosis, they’re often told to eliminate sugar-sweetened soda and desserts from their diet. But people can work with a diabetes educator to develop an eating plan that includes these and other favorite foods, albeit in limited amounts, said Maggie Powers president-elect of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association.

“It’s a matter of give-and-take,” Dr. Powers said. “If somebody wants [sugar-sweetened] soda, we don’t encourage that, because a little bit gives you a lot of carbohydrates.” But, she said, “If you say that you have to have a brownie every Sunday before you go to bed, I’d say, ‘You typically have a snack of 30 grams of carbohydrates, such as a large apple or banana; you can have a brownie instead.’ ”

The concern is that too many carbohydrate-laden snacks will displace nutritious carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, cereals and whole grains, and dried beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils. A can of Mountain Dew, which has 46 grams of carbohydrates, would displace two pieces of bread (26 grams) and a small apple (21 grams).

Dr. Powers, a clinician and scientist with the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet in Minneapolis, teaches a carbohydrate management method that distributes carbs throughout the day, taking food intake, exercise, diabetes medications and insulin production into account. The food plan is adjusted based on glucose test results.

Carbohydrate goals will vary, but many women aim for 35 to 40 grams of carbohydrates per meal, whereas men may aim for 45 to 60 grams per meal. “What we’re trying to do is manage the amount of sugar in your blood throughout the day,” Dr. Powers said.

If you need help creating a food plan that works for you, she suggested, ask your physician for a referral to a diabetes education program.

Original article by Roni Caryn Rabin found here 

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By Adrien Paczosa

Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties. Adrien is also a Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian(CEDRD). Adrien began her path towards nutrition through her falling down. She has been a dancing since age 2 and in college was a Kilgore College Rangerette. During a practice, she took a fall and broke her foot, and that sparked the ideas of needing a new direction in her life. After graduating in 2003 from the University of Illinois – Chicago with a bachelor of science degree in Human Nutrition, Adrien began her career as a staff dietitian at the hospital in downtown Chicago. She was promoted to the hospital’s Director of Food Service and Nutrition and was responsible for all food preparation as well as patient nutritional care. While working at her clinical job, Adrien maintained her passion for movement by working as a personal trainer and nutrition coach in downtown Chicago. In 2006, Adrien returned to Texas to be close to family, friends, and warmer weather! She opened her private practice, I Live Well Nutritional Therapy in 2007 and has only continued to grown. To date, iLiveWell Nutrition Therapy has multiple locations, contracts with numerous corporations and treatment centers, and currently, five dietitians are employed under iLiveWell. “Creating better access to dietitians!” has been one of the driving forces of Adrien’s company.

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