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Understanding Diabetes Once You’ve Left Your Doctor’s Office (Part 2)

In the last post, I discussed some of the basics of diabetes, and what having it means. The thought of having diabetes can be scary and we can feel powerless to take control. But we can take control. Here are some suggestions to get started. How can I control my glucose levels?

Learn about carbohydrates

  Some are faster burning than others, and some contain necessary fiber for health and digestion. One portion of carbohydrate is 15 grams – this is usually one slice of bread, half of a small apple, a ½ cup of orange juice, etc. You can buy a food scale and flash cards for learning about carbohydrate exchanges, or you can ask your doctor for a referral to a Registered Dietitian or a Certified Diabetes Educator.

Keep a log of what you eat, and your glucose levels

Purchase a glucose meter and testing strips, either privately or through insurance. Learn how foods affect your glucose levels by keeping a journal of your total carbohydrate consumption, and glucose response. Test before eating, and 75 minutes to 2 hours after eating, to see how much your blood glucose levels rise. If the rise is larger than 50 points, it might be time to consider cutting back your carbohydrate servings.

Strive to eat balanced meals

Make your plate be 50% non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens. These types of veggies are rich in fiber and help mop up excess glucose. Limit your consumption of starches, grains, pastas, and breads. While these foods may provide some healthy fiber, too many of them can lead to unhealthy blood glucose levels. Choose lean meats, poultry and fish, healthy omega 3 oils and nuts, and low carbohydrate fruits such as berries and avocadoes, in moderation.

Avoid low fat food

Low fat foods are foods which have had their fat content reduced (in an effort to reduce fat consumption), but which have had their sugar content increased in order to improve their flavor. It is better to consume the regular items in moderation – allowing your body the benefits of better vitamin absorption.

Avoid Most Sugar-Free Items

Many sugar free foods are still very high in total carbohydrate content and may be sweetened with sugar alcohols which may cause painful gastric unpleasantness. Sugar alcohols do not have as high a glucose response as regular sugar, but they still have a response. Instead, enjoy the real treats in moderation – but save them for special occasions.

Schedule in some exercise

A little exercise, like walking after a meal, can help reduce glucose levels. Find the best exercise routine for you – and there are many out there, some even tailored for persons with mobility issues. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist, for more information.

Take your medications regularly

Take your medications as directed, and take them regularly. Do not stop taking them without consulting with your doctor. Some medications need to build up in the system before they will work properly, and show results.

Diabetes can seem like the end of the world. Learning its basics can take time, and discipline, but with a little dedication and patience, we can find knowledge, and the supportive circles to help guide us through our baby steps.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.