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

June-July, 2012

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

It's official, summer has arrived! While hot days are hard for the average person, people with diabetes should take special precautions because they are more susceptible to overheating. This is due to impaired temperature regulation. High temperatures may also affect your blood glucose, medication and testing strips.

When the temperature is 80░F or above and the humidity is greater than 40%, the following tips will reduce the risk of developing heat-related complications:

Stay hydrated. Dehydration can occur on hot days, whether you have diabetes or not. If you have diabetes, dehydration may also occur if blood glucose levels are not controlled, as high values cause increased urination.
To prevent dehydration, it is important to drink plenty of fluids during the day. Water and non-sugar sweetened beverages are great choices. Limit the amount of caffeinated beverages you drink, because these are not as hydrating

Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Symptoms include: dizziness or fainting; sweating excessively; muscle cramps; cold or clammy skin; headaches; fast heartbeat and/or nausea.

Check your blood glucose levels more often. High heat can cause blood glucose levels to vary and the heat can also increase the absorption of fast-acting insulin. This can cause low blood glucose. It is important to check your values at least four times per day, more often if you are feeling ill.

Store your insulin, medication, blood glucose meter and strips in a cool, dry place. Do not store your diabetic supplies in extreme temperatures and never store your insulin in the freezer, in direct sunlight, or in your car. Look at your insulin vials; do not use if there are visible changes.

Be cool about physical activity. Exercise in air- conditioned areas or be active early in the day or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

Medication Update

Many commonly prescribed medications can affect the body's ability to keep normal blood glucose levels. This can cause either hypo- or hyperglycemia. While all patients are at risk, patients with diabetes are more likely to be affected by these drugs. This section will focus on drugs that lower glucose levels.

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood glucose values are 70mg/dl or below. Signs and symptoms include: hunger, headache, shaking or trembling, sweating, rapid heartbeat, irritability, tiredness or weakness, and unclear thinking.

There are many medications that can lower blood glucose. Drugs that are not used to manage diabetes but are associated with hypoglycemia in diabetic patients include:

Ace Inhibitors
These drugs are used to treat high blood pressure, congestive heart failure (CHF), and diabetic neuropathy. Some examples of these drugs include: Lisinopril, Enalapril, and Benazepril.

This class of drugs is also used to treat high blood pressure, CHF, and angina. It is also used after heart attacks. ▀-blockers may mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia, so it is important to check your glucose levels regularly. Levobunolol, Metipranolol, Acebutolol, and Metoprolol are types of ▀-blockers.

These drugs are widely used as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Gatifloxacin has been associated with greater glucose-lowering effects than other drugs in this class. In fact, diabetes is listed as a contraindication of use. Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin are also quinolones.

Other medications
Pentamidine, used to treat opportunistic infections; salicylates, used to treat pain, fever, inflammation and to prevent heart attacks; and many other drug classes are associated with hypoglycemia.

You can decrease the risk of hypoglycemia by telling your doctor about all your medications, reading all drug information, taking your medication as prescribed, and by checking your blood glucose levels often.

Recipes To Try

Asparagus Frittata
3 servings

  • 1-½ cup egg substitute
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  1. Slice asparagus into 1-inch diagonal pieces. Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet and sautÚ asparagus and scallions about 5 minutes.
  2. Blend egg substitute, cheese and mint. Pour over asparagus and scallions in skillet and cook on medium heat, gently pulling sides back from skillet to cook egg substitute throughout. Cover skillet with lid once egg mixture is half-cooked. Use a spatula to divide into thirds, and turn once.

Nutrition facts per serving:

Calories 254
Protein 24 grams
Carbohydrate 6 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Fat 16 grams
Calories from fat 55%
Cholesterol 9 mg
Sodium 415 mg

Caribbean Seafood & Black Bean Salad
6 ½-cup servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium or large shrimp, cut in chunks
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans,rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 cups green pepper, chopped
  • Lettuce leaves (optional)
  • Drops of tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup drained jarred tropical fruit in light syrup
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons frozen limeade concentration
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over-medium high heat. Add the shrimp and garlic.Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque in the center. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the beans, lime juice, green pepper, tabasco, fruit, cilantro, limeade concentration, hot sauce and salt to the bowl. Stir. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Serve on a bed of lettuce, if desired.

Nutrition facts per serving

Calories 245
Protein 19 grams
Carbohydrate 24 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Fat 5 grams
Calories from fat 18%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 698 mg

Menu Suggestions



Low Fat Vanilla Yogurt

1 cup

Granola Cereal

½ cup


1 cup


554 Calories, 80 Carbohydrates, 5.5 Carbohydrate Choices



Whole Wheat Crackers

7 Crackers

Cheddar Cheese

1 ounce


238 Calories, 20 Carbohydrates, 1.5 Carbohydrate Choices



Asparagus Frittata†

1 serving

Whipped Margarine

2 teaspoons

Garden Salad

1 cup

Fat-Free Salad Dressing

1 tablespoon

Pineapple Bars†

2 bars

Whole Wheat Bread, Toasted

2 slices


704 calories, 74 Carbohydrates, 5 Carbohydrate Choices



Pita Bread

½ pita

Caribbean Seafood Black Bean Salad†

1 serving

Brown Rice, Cooked

½ cup

Skim milk 8 ounces


527 Calories, 75 Carbohydrates, 5 Carbohydrate Choices




Total:  2023 Calories, 75 Carbohydrates, 5 Carbohydrate Choices


† recipes from Diabetes Lifelines or Recipes for Diabetes or Fiesta of Flavors at 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