“Those Who Think they have no time for Healthy Eating Will Sonner or Later have to find
time for Illness.”
February always brings the saddened memory of losing a very special close relative
much too early in life. More than 630,000 deaths each year are contributed to heart
disease which is only second to cancer. Few Americans are aware of the increased
risk of developing heart disease with a diagnosis of diabetes. Heart disease is a major
macrovascular complication of diabetes which places you at a two-time to a four-time
risk of dying from heart disease or stroke. Diabetes puts you at the same chance of
having a heart attack as someone who does not have diabetes but already had a heart
American Diabetes Association evidence-based data reports proper management of
Diabetes will indirectly improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Proper
management is dependent on our daily choices such as: what we eat, level of physical
activity, control of our weight and stress levels, in addition to the level of engagement in
various habits (smoking/alcohol). Individual lifestyle patterns have a direct effect on
health and diseases. Lifestyle modification are often warranted to achieve healthy
Eating a Healthy Diet is fundamental-you are what you eat. Research studies continue
to support the benefits of the eating patterns of the Mediterranean population for the
primary prevention of CVD and Diabetes management. Consider incorporating these
Healthy Eating Patterns into your daily activities:
1. First, work with your Diabetic Team/RD to learn to master Carbohydrate (CHO)
Counting. Your team will equip you with information as to how many CHO you require
to reach your target meal glucose levels.
2. Fruit: 3-4 servings per day. Choose fruits when possible that has the brightest color
due to their high content of Phyto-chemicals (anti-oxidants). A Fruit serving=15 grams of
3. Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings per day. Choose the plants with the brightest color, i.e.
carrots, and squash, indulge the cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, brussels sprouts,
cauliflower, cabbage, all dark greens, i.e. collards, spinach, mustards, kale. (1)
Vegetable serving = 5 grams of CHO.
4. Grains/Starches 6 to 8 servings per day: Concentrate on whole grains due to the
increased fiber and nutrients vs. the refined/enriched grains. For example, brown rice
vs. white rice, whole-wheat pasta vs. regular pasta, 100% whole wheat bread vs. white
enriched, sweet potato vs. white, and include legumes-lentils, peas, beans. (1) Starch
serving = 15 grams of CHO,
5. Dairy: 2 servings per day try to consume the skim or low fat, avoiding the whole milk
and 2% due to the saturated fat content. If you are intolerant to dairy, try the alternate
forms. 1 Milk serving = 12 gm CHO
6. Meat: (meat does not contain CHO). Choose fish at least two times a week in the
form of cold-water fish, salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines due to their high Omega-3
content. Choose poultry, and lean uncured cuts of red meat, avoiding fatty beef and
7. Fats: (fats do not contain CHO). Choose monounsaturated, olive, avocados and the
polyunsaturated fats: canola corn, peanut, sunflower, and soy. Nuts and seeds-
almonds and walnuts are heart healthy. Avoid all saturated and trans-fat, i.e. lard,
butter, stick margarine, shortening, partially hydrogenated oils, coconut, palm and palm
kernel oils. Fats, however, are very high in calories.
8. Wine: limit to AHA recommendation of (2) drinks for men and (1) for women per day.
A drink equals 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. Wine, 1.5 oz 80 proof, 1 oz 100 proof. Alcohol is very
high in calories.
9. Sodium: limit sodium amount to 2,300 mg per day (1 teaspoon). However, if you
have high blood pressure limit your intake to 1,500 mg per day. Read your labels in that
sodium is not salt. Salt is a compound containing 40% sodium and 60% chloride.
Sodium is a natural mineral found in everything we eat. i.e., 3 oz of meat contains 48
mg sodium, (1) apple contain 2mg sodium and (1) slice Bread 150 mg sodium.
10. Limit or avoid concentrated sweets/sugars and beverages containing sugars.
Let’s all find time for healthy eating because there is no time for illness.