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

August/September 2011

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Sleep apnea is a condition where a sleeping person has several short periods of not breathing or very shallow breathing.  These pauses in breathing can last several seconds or minutes. Breathing will then start again.

When breathing begins again, many people will wake up, at least slightly. They may also make noise. The pauses in breathing and the waking up can make the person feel very tired during the day.

The International Diabetes Institute has gathered enough research that they believe people with diabetes may be more prone to having sleep apnea. This may be explained, in part, by obesity. They also feel that health professionals and patients should be made aware of the links between these two conditions. 

They feel all persons with type 2 diabetes should be assessed for symptoms of disordered sleeping. Those symptoms include snoring, observations by someone else of disordered breathing while asleep, and daytime sleepiness.

Weight reduction is usually helpful in overweight person who have disordered sleeping. Continuous positive airways pressure may (CPAP) also be helpful. With this therapy, a mask is worn at night and continuous positive pressure is applied to keep the airways open during sleep. Sometimes plastic mouthpieces can be fitted to increase the size of the airway. Surgery to remove enlarged tonsils and adenoids may also help.

Talk to your doctor if you have type 2 diabetes and any of the symptoms of sleep apnea. If you are overweight, try to lose at least a few pounds.  Keep track of fitful sleeping, or if anyone has observed you during your sleep when you appeared to stop breathing.

Diabetes and Food

Are artificially sweetened soft drinks safe? All artificial sweeteners used in the United States undergo testing and review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA has guidelines about safe intake of diet sodas containing aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose.  This level is called the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). The ADI for diet sodas (12-ounce cans or glasses) are as follows:

  • 18-19 cans/day of diet sodas with aspartame
  • 30-32 cans/day of diet lemon-lime sodas with acesulfame K
  • 6 cans of diet colas containing sucralose

Finding out how much artificial sweetener is in other food you may eat is difficult. Those foods may include snacks, baked goods, desserts, and breakfast foods.

Research has continued looking at the safety of these sweeteners in terms of chronic conditions.  These include type 2 diabetes risk, kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain.  Although the research is not conclusive, moderation in all foods, including those with artificial sweeteners, is often a good idea. Remember that the American Diabetes Association does not restrict sugar intake for those with diabetes, as long as it is counted within the daily meal plan.

Medication Update

Insulin pens may be disposable or reusable. The three makers of insulin in the United States (Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi-Aventis) make pens specific for their own brand of insulin. Some insulin types are not available for pen use at all.

Some people use the insulin pens all the time, while other use them only when traveling, or when they will be out in public when their next dose is due. Insulin pens are usually more expensive than the bottles of insulin and separate syringes.

The pens have separate needles that are added before an injection and removed after an injection, unless the whole pen is disposed of after an injection.  Insulins can not be mixed, so if you take two insulin types, two pens would need to be used.

If you think an insulin pen may be useful to you, talk to your doctor.

Recipes To Try

Broccoli and Clam Pasta
4 servings

  • 2 cans (6.5 ounces each) chopped clams
  • 1 bottle (8 ounces) clam juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups broccoli flowerets
  • 1.5 pounds angel hair pasta
  • 4 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  1. Drain clams and add to bottled clam juice in a medium skillet. Add water and garlic. Bring to a boil. 
  2. Add broccoli. Reduce heat and simmer 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add pasta. Cook 3 to 4 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add clams; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve with 1 tablespoon Parmesan, each serving.

Nutrition facts per serving:

Calories 290
Protein 18 grams
Carbohydrate 47 grams
Fiber 5 grams
Fat 1.8 grams
Calories from fat 6%
Cholesterol 20 mg
Sodium 840 mg

Preparation time 20 minutes

Banana Pineapple Pie
16 servings

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat margarine
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 package (8-ounce) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ cups skim milk
  • 1 package (four-serving size) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 can (20-ounce) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 4 ounces lite whipped topping
  1. Mix graham cracker crumbs and reduced-fat margarine with fork or pastry cutter until margarine is cut into crumbs. Press mixture into bottom of baking dish.
  2. Slice bananas and spread evenly over crumb mixture.
  3. Beat softened cream cheese until very smooth and gradually add milk, beating until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat 1 minute or until mixture begins to thicken. Spoon evenly over bananas.
  4. Spread drained crushed pineapple over the pudding layer. Spread whipped topping over pineapple layer, making sure to spread to edges of baking dish.
  5. Refrigerate at least one hour, but refrigerating three or more hours is best. Cut into 16 slices and serve chilled.

Nutrition facts per serving

Calories 143
Protein 4 grams
Carbohydrate 23 grams
Fiber 1 grams
Fat 4 grams
Calories from fat 25%
Cholesterol 3 mg
Sodium 315 mg

Preparation & cooking and chilling time 3 hours 30 minutes.

Menu Suggestions



1 cooked egg or egg substitute

1 egg

English muffin


Margarine, whipped

1 tablespoon

Apple juice

1  cup

Skim milk

8 ounces


469 Calories, 67 Carbohydrates, 4.5 Carbohydrate Choices



Whole wheat low-fat crackers 5
Low-fat Monterey Jack cheese 1 ounce

Skim milk

8 ounces

 224 Calories, 23 Carbohydrates, 1.5 Carbohydrate Choice


Lean ham sandwich on whole wheat

bread with lettuce, tomato slice


1 sandwich, 2 ounces ham

Baked chips

15 chips

Carrot sticks

10 sticks

Skim milk 8 ounces
Applesauce, unsweetened 1 cup


550 Calories, 94 Carbohydrates, 6 Carbohydrate Choices



Broccoli and Clam Pasta †

1 serving

Hard roll


Margarine, whipped

2 teaspoons

Garden salad

1 cup

Fat-free salad dressing 1 tablespoon
Banana Pineapple Pie† 1 serving


666 Calories, 105 Carbohydrates, 7 Carbohydrate Choices



Total: 1909 Calories, 289 Carbohydrates, 19 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