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

Want to know when a new issue comes out? Sign up for eNews

February/March 2011

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Type 2 diabetes often runs in families. This means that there is a genetic influence on who could develop diabetes. It is common to hear of grandparents, then parents, and finally children having diabetes. Your children have a greater chance of developing diabetes if you were diagnosed before age 50 with the condition.

But having diabetes run in your family does not mean that all the family members will develop the disease. It is very important that those whose family members have diabetes understand that they can lower their risk for developing diabetes.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk for diabetes. For those who have family members with diabetes, maintaining or achieving a healthy weight can lower their own risk for the disease. Having a healthy diet and balancing calories with exercise are important lifestyle choices if diabetes runs in your family. If you are overweight, even losing 10% of your body weight could help. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing 20 pounds could help lower your risk for diabetes.

Not being very physically active is also a risk factor for developing diabetes. Regular physical activity improves insulin sensitivity. This means that the glucose gets into the cells rather than staying high in the blood.

The American Diabetes Association has a diabetes risk factor test that you can take. Online it is available at http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test.

Diabetes and Food

Many people are relying on food pantries for food these days. What do you do if you have diabetes and are relying on food pantries?

Think about your basic food groups: protein, starches, fruit, vegetables and dairy. Non-fat dry milk may be available from your food pantry and can be used instead of fluid milk. Few other dairy products are non-perishable. Look for starches that are calcium fortified, including crackers, breakfast bars and cereal to make up for not having milk and its calcium.

Vegetables and fruits are both available canned. Choose fruits canned in their own juice and vegetables with lower sodium, if possible.

Protein foods are more difficult to find from your food pantry. Peanut butter is fairly high in calories, so use sparingly. Dry beans and peas are good choices. Canned tuna in water and canned chicken may also be available.

Many main dishes can be created used the chunky soups with rice or noodles.
For recipe and meal planning ideas, visit Making the Most of Your Food Donations at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/foodbaskets/default.cfm.

Medication Update

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public notification concerning Fruta Planta, a supplement promoted to help with weight loss. One death and several cases of heart problems were reported. The FDA laboratory found the supplement contained sibutramine. Sibutramine (Merida) was taken off the market in October, 2010 because of health concerns.

The FDA recommends consumers who have used this supplement to consult with their doctor, to throw away any remains of the supplements, and to report any adverse events to the FDA.

The FDA has also taken action against manufacturers and marketers of acai berry supplements. These supplements have been marketed to promote fast weight loss. The FDA claims these are misleading claims. Moreover, “free” samples have been followed with repeated billing to the customer.

For more information on these and other FDA actions, visit http://nccam.nih.gov/news/alerts/.

Recipes To Try

Philly Steak Quesadilla
2 servings-3 slices each
Preparation 20 minutes

  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 tablespoons shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 4 slices deli-sliced roast beef
  • 2 low-fat 10 inch flour tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  1. Cook peppers and onion on medium heat in a non-stick skillet until onions tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet.
  2. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Add 1 tortilla. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons cheese. Top with 4 slices beef. Add vegetables. Top with tortilla.
  3. Cook on medium heat about 3 minutes. Use spatula to flip the quesadilla. Cook additional 3 minutes. Slide from skillet onto cutting board. Cut into 6 slices.

Nutrition facts per serving:

Calories 213
Protein 13 grams
Carbohydrate 30 grams
Fiber 10 gram
Fat 4 grams
Calories from fat 18%
Cholesterol 18 mg
Sodium 642 mg

Scalloped Apples
4 servings

Preparation & cooking time 25 minutes.

  • 5 cups sliced, peeled tart apples (about 4 medium)
  • 1/2 cup Splenda®
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat margarine
  1. Place apple slices in 1-quart, microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Sprinkle mixture over apples and toss to coat.
  4. Dot with margarine.
  5. Cover and microwave on high for 15 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring every 5 minutes.

Nutrition facts per serving

Calories 126
Protein 0 grams
Carbohydrate 29 grams
Fiber 4 gram
Fat 1 grams
Calories from fat 14%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 62 mg

Menu Suggestions



Waffle, low-fat whole grain


Margarine, whipped

1 tablespoon

Maple syrup, lite

4 tablespoons

Turkey sausage

1 patty

Skim milk

8 ounces


510 Calories, 58 Carbohydrates, 4 Carbohydrate Choices



Low-fat yogurt 6 ounces
Graham crackers 1 2.5-inch squares


209 Calories, 40 Carbohydrates, 2.5 Carbohydrate Choice



Philly Steak Quesadilla†

1 serving

Baked tortilla chips

1 ounce (9 chips)


3 tablespoons

Tossed green salad

1 cup

Fat-free Catalina dressing ½ tablespoon
Sliced pear 1

Iced tea

8 ounces


484 Calories, 87 Carbohydrates, 6 Carbohydrate Choices



Pork chop, pan fried, no fat added

3 ounces

Mashed potatoes

½ cup

Gravy, fat-free

2 tablespoons

Green beans

1 cup

Scalloped apples†

1 serving

Skim milk

8 ounces


562 Calories, 69 Carbohydrates, 4.5 Carbohydrate Choices


Total: 1765 Calories, 253 Carbohydrates, 17 Carbohydrate Choices


† recipes from Diabetes Lifelines or Recipes for Diabetes at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/intro.cfm

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

Want to know when a new issue comes out? Sign up for eNews