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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Diabetes Month

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November is American Diabetes Month, so I thought it was a good time to talk about the disease.

Stats
  • 7.8% of the population (23.6 million) people have diabetes
  • Hispanic/Latino Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes than whites
  • African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than whites
  • If current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans and 1 in 2 minorities born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime

What is Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association says the following:
"Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles."


Complications
Diabetes can increase risk of the following diseases:
  • Heart disease and stroke: risk is 2-4 times higher in people with diabetes.
  • Kidney disease: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure
  • Amputations: More than 60% of nontraumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes
  • Blindness: Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 20-74.

Prevention

  • Get your fasting blood glucose tested every year during your annual physical.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. People who are overweight are at much higher risk of diabetes.
  • Eat light and eat often. Eat very small meals and have healthy snacks between meals
  • Eat low glycemic foods. Avoid foods high in sugar, and look for foods that have fiber and/or protein.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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