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The Basics of Diabetes from a Nutritionist

November 27, 2018

The Basics of Diabetes from a Nutritionist

During National Diabetes Month, communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, 30.3 million Americans have diabetes and 1 in 4 don’t know they have it.
 
So, what do you need to know about diabetes?
 
Knowing how sugar enters your blood and how it gets into your cells is one of the most important things to understand about diabetes and how to manage the disease. Everything that you eat is digested and converted into a usable form of energy called glucose, a simple sugar, that’s absorbed through the intestines and into your blood. Once it enters the blood, blood glucose levels rise. For most, the pancreas will release the right amount of insulin, a hormone that removes glucose from the blood and moves it into your cells. With diabetes, the pancreas either does not make enough insulin to take the right amount of glucose out of the blood or it makes plenty of insulin, but the cells resist, resulting in high glucose levels.
 
How does sugar get into your blood?
 
Sugar or glucose can get into your blood from what you eat and drink, or from your liver. The liver has many important jobs and one is to release glucose into your blood when it’s needed. However, with diabetes, the liver may overreact and put too much sugar into the blood when one hasn’t eaten, is under stress, is sick, or has not had at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep.
 
How do AdvantageCare Physicians’ nutritionists work with diabetic patients?
 
Our Dietitian and Nutritionist, Katherine Farrell Harris, who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator says, “We begin with three important areas that can have a direct impact on blood glucose control: timing, portions, and food quality. The liver’s output of glucose cannot be controlled without medication, but we can control when, how much, and what we eat each day.”
 
What is an example of a controlled eating plan?
 
Our bodies need nourishment every three to four hours from the time we wake up. By eating about the same time each day, and spacing out meals and snacks at regular intervals, blood sugar levels and appetite are better regulated. The key to developing an effective eating plan is to consider your daily schedule and routine, and plan the best times to eat. Going more than five hours without eating may lead to over-eating at the next meal, and/or impulsively choosing unhealthy foods. We tend to eat faster and larger amounts when we’re extremely hungry at mealtime.
 
More Information
 
If you still have questions about how to treat diabetes or if you would like to talk to a doctor, you can schedule an appointment by logging into myACPNY or calling 1-646-680-4227.

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