Hi Amy, I was curious what are symptoms of diabetes, or if there is any way to know of the onset without visiting your doctor? Also, are there certain foods that should really be avoided when trying to avoid becoming diabetic?

Your question is a good one. There are several signs and symptoms that may indicate that one has diabetes. These include: excessive hunger, urinating often, blurry vision, numbness or tingling in your hands or feet, fatigue, excessive thirst, and weight loss. I recommend contacting your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, as it may mean that you have developed diabetes. This disease affects approximately 1.9 million Americans each year! That figure is astounding. What is worse is that nearly 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes in 2050 if the current trend continues. So, if you are at all concerned that you may have diabetes, I recommend first seeing your doctor and then seeing a registered dietitian. She can work with you to help you make healthy diet and lifestyle changes. She can offer information regarding which foods have the greatest impact on blood sugar levels and help formulate a healthy eating plan for you.

I generally tell patients that there are no foods that they need to absolutely “avoid” to prevent various diseases (including diabetes). However, limiting simple carbohydrates can help one better control blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates include table sugar, candy, cookies, soda, syrup, white bread, etc. I find that Americans tend to overindulge on simple carbohydrates and this can greatly increase blood glucose levels and lead to obesity, which is also a risk factor for diabetes. I recommend that people decrease simple carbs and increase complex carbohydrates. These include: beans, whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, lentils, fruit and vegetables. If you find that your diet contains a lot of simple carbs I would first encourage that you start by limiting the amount of sugar-filled beverages that you consume. That means skipping the soda and Starbucks and switching your fruit punch to 100% fruit juice. Old Orchard has a great line of 100% juice; they also produce juice products that are very low in sugar and calories, which can be good for your blood sugar and your waistline. The product is called Healthy Balance. It tastes great and will be a healthy addition to your diet. Now I recommend switching some of the white or enriched products to whole grain. Begin checking labels and choose bread, rice, pasta that contains ~4+ grams of dietary fiber. Those products are much better for your blood sugar. Limit the amount of sugary desserts in your diet and try to opt for fresh fruit or low fat yogurt instead. Good luck!

Login to Favorite