Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

About Diabetes
Food & Diabetes
Medications & Diabetes
Current Issue
En Español
Recommended Websites
Your Guide to Diet and Diabetes
Recipes for Diabetes
Fiesta of Flavors: Traditional Hispanic Recipes for People with Diabetes


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April / May 2007

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

You know that controlling your blood glucose can help protect against health complications like heart disease, stroke and kidney problems, but did you know that diabetes can cause skin disorders as well?  As many as 30% of people with diabetes will develop a skin disorder. Good skin care is important to prevent dry skin and infections.

There are some important steps you can take to protect your skin:

  • Keep your blood glucose within your target range. When your blood glucose levels are too high, your body gets dehydrated and your skin dries out, especially on your feet, legs, and elbows. This makes you more susceptible to bacterial infections. If you have diabetes, it may take more time to heal from these infections as well.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry. To prevent skin irritation, use body powder in places where your skin rubs skin, like under your arms.
  • Very hot baths or showers can dry out your skin. Use a moisturizing lotion after bathing.  However, don’t put lotion between your toes.  Extra moisture between toes can be a breeding ground for fungi.
  • Drink plenty of fluids—try for about eight 8-oz. glasses of water (not coffee or pop) each day.

If you are concerned about your skin, develop rashes or blisters, or think you may be having a reaction to insulin injections or diabetic pills, talk to your health care team.

Diabetes and Food

It was once believed that people with diabetes should avoid eating sweets because they were thought to raise blood glucose levels too high and too quickly.  It is now known that sweets do not raise blood glucose levels any more than other foods that are mostly carbohydrate.

Sweets can fit into a diabetic meal plan occasionally.  Here are some points to remember when a sweet treat is desired.

  • Eat your occasional sweet with a meal rather than by itself.  Eating carbohydrate with some protein, fat, and fiber helps to ensure that your blood glucose level will not rise too high or too quickly after eating.
  • Avoid substituting sweets for nutritious foods such as whole grains, fruits, or dairy.  Though sweets in general pack a lot of calories, they are not good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, or protein.   
  • Remember sweets are not “freebies” or “extras”.  Count their total grams of carbohydrates as part of your allowance for the day and the meal. 
  • Eating smaller servings and choosing sweets made with artificial sweeteners will lower  calories and total grams of carbohydrate which will allow you to fit additional and more nutritious carbohydrates into your meal.

Exercise as a Part of Living

Exercise is important for controlling your blood glucose level, losing or maintaining body weight, increasing your energy level, reducing your risk for chronic disease, and just making you feel better.  There are three types of exercise that you should include in your weekly routine.

  • Aerobic exercise increases your heart and breathing rates and works your muscles.
  • Strength exercises help to build strong bones and muscles, which makes every day tasks easier and increases the number of calories you burn even when you are resting.
  • Flexibility or stretching exercises help to keep your joints flexible and reduce your chances of injury during aerobic exercise. 
Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Recipes To Try

Italian Turkey Casserole
10  1-cup servings

1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 package frozen broccoli, cauliflower
1 can Italian tomato sauce and carrots mix
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese
2 cups dry macaroni

  1. Heat oven to 450º.
  2. Brown ground turkey in a skillet.
  3. Rinse frozen vegetables under warm water to thaw.
  4. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  5. Combine turkey, vegetables, macaroni, minced garlic, and tomato sauce; pour  mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.
  6. Top with cheese.
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Per serving:
Fat: 6 grams
Protein: 13 grams
Calories from fat: 27%
Carbohydrate: 24 grams                          
Cholesterol: 39 grams
Fiber: 3 gram
Sodium: 407 mg

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
8  1-cup servings

1 lemon cake mix
1/2 cup oil 1 package fat-free sugar-free lemon pudding
1 cup water
4 eggs                   
1/4 cup poppy seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Mix all ingredients together with a mixer at medium speed for 4 minutes.
  3. Pour into 2 loaf pans, either non-stick or sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until done.

Per serving:
Fat: 5 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Calories from fat: 44%
Carbohydrate: 14 grams                        
Cholesterol: 27 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Sodium: 110 mg

Medication Update

Galvus is a new type 2 diabetes medication showing promise in helping to achieve and maintain target blood glucose levels.  It is the first of a new class of oral anti-diabetic drugs known as dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV) inhibitors that improves cell responsiveness to glucose.

Recent research compared Galvus to a currently prescribed drug known as Avandia in nearly 800 patients with previously untreated diabetes.  The research found that Galvus is just as effective in reducing blood glucose levels as Avandia.  Avandia caused an average weight gain of 3.5 pounds in those patients who took it.  Unlike Avandia patients, Galvus patients did not gain weight and experienced a significant decrease in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Galvus is designed for patients with previously untreated diabetes.  It is currently awaiting FDA approval in the U.S.

News & Resources

Mr. Food's Diabetic Dinners in a Dash (Paperback, 2006) by the American Diabetes Association and Art Ginsburg.  More than 150 recipes.

Dr. Buynak's 1-2-3 Diabetes Diet (Paperback, 2006) by the American Diabetes Association, Greg Guthrie, and Robert Buynak. 196 pages.

101 Foot Care Tips for People with Diabetes (Paperback, 2006)
 by Jessie H. Ahroni, Neil M. Scheffler, and the American Diabetes Association. 128 pages.

Fix-it and Enjoy-it Diabetic Cookbook: All-purpose Recipes to Include Everyone! (Paperback, 2007) by Phyllis Pellman Good and the American Diabetes Association. 284 pages.

The Complete Quick & Hearty Diabetic Cookbook (Paperback, 2007) by the American Diabetes Association. More than 250 recipes.

Fiesta of Flavors: Hispanic recipes for people with diabetes.

About Diabetes | Food & Diabetes | Medications & Diabetes | Current Issue | Archive | En Español

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