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Karen Chapman Novakofski

Professor of Nutrition

Marilyn Csernus

Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness


April/May 2015

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Do you know what your fasting blood sugar level is? It's an important number to be aware of as type 2 diabetes doesn't just happen overnight. Problems with blood sugar generally start well before a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes is a condition that happens when blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that is necessary for the body to effectively use food for energy. When prediabetes is present the body is more resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance causes sugar (glucose) to build up in the blood stream rather than enter the cells to be used for energy. Over time this can lead to prediabetes and without lifestyle changes, type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. If your fasting plasma glucose is between 100-125 mg/dl you have what is known as impaired fasting glucose. Impaired glucose tolerance is diagnosed if your blood glucose is between 140-199 mg/dl two hours after drinking an oral glucose tolerance solution. Prediabetes can also be diagnosed with an A1C blood test which reflects an average glucose reading over the last three months. An A1C between 5.7 - 6.4% is a diagnosis for prediabetes. A1C, fasting glucose and glucose tolerance are all blood test that can be used to diagnose prediabetes.

The latest statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report 86 million American adults, or more than 1 in 3 have prediabetes. An even more alarming fact is that 9 out of 10 people who have prediabetes don't know they have it. The good news is that a diagnosis of prediabetes can serve as a warning sign. Lifestyle changes can often delay or even prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes. Anyone who identifies with any of the following categories should be screened for prediabetes:

  1. Are 45 years of age or older.
  2. Are overweight.
  3. Have high blood pressure.
  4. Have a family history of type 2 diabetes.
  5. Had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
  6. Are physically active fewer than three times per week.

Having prediabetes increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity 15-30% of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years. Progression to type 2 diabetes is not inevitable. Research has proven that lifestyle changes can cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half. A modest and sustained weight loss and increased moderate intensity physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


Diabetes and Food

A registered dietitian can help you adopt a healthier lifestyle by making better food choices, cutting portion sizes and incorporating regular physical activity. All of these changes will help in reaching your weight loss goal and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, you should follow your meal plan. If you don't have a meal plan, you should talk to your health care provider and dietitian.

Making healthier food choices can start with:

  • Choosing to bake, broil or grill your foods rather than frying.
  • Choosing skinless poultry and fish more often and limiting red meat to lean cuts and smaller portions less frequently.
  • Trying some meatless meals with more emphasis on plant based foods.
  • Including vegetable and fruits at each meal.
  • Cutting back on foods with added sugars and fats which are likely low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Drinking more water and calorie-free beverages and avoiding sweetened beverages.
  • Making at least half of your grains whole-grains. Look for a whole grain as the first ingredient for bread, pasta and cereals.

To learn your risk take the prediabetes risk quiz from the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention

To find a registered dietitian in your area visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at http://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert


Recipes to Try

Italian Baked Cod

Italian Baked Cod Ingredients

¾ cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon sliced black olives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz. cod fillets
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Sauté onions and garlic in oil. Add tomatoes, olives, basil. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Place in non-stick baking dish. Top with cod fillets. Bake covered about 10 minutes until fish flakes easily.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (4 servings per recipe)
21 grams
9 grams
2 grams
Calories from fat
1 gram
47 mg
724 mg



Pecan Crusted Broccoli

Pecan Crusted Broccoli Ingredients

¼ cup pecan chips
½ teaspoon marjoram
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound frozen chopped broccoli, cooked
1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs

  1. Sauté pecans in olive oil in small skillet for 2-3 minutes. Add bread crumbs and marjoram, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when toasted. Add celery, onion.
  2. Toss cooked broccoli with topping mixture.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (6 servings per recipe)
3 grams
4 grams
2 grams
Calories from fat
6 grams
0 mg
26 mg

This and other recipes available at


Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Vegetable Omelet red and green peppers and onion 2 eggs
Whole wheat toast 2 slices
Soft tub margarine 2 teaspoons
Fresh cantaloupe 1 cup cubed
Skim milk 1 cup
637 Calories; 62 grams Carbohydrates; 4 Carbohydrate Choices
Stuffed green peppers 1 serving
Tossed green salad 1 cup
Vinaigrette 2 tablespoons
Fresh raspberries 1 cup
Skim milk 1 cup
512 Calories; 53 grams Carbohydrates; 3.5 Carbohydrate Choices
Italian baked cod 1 serving
Pecan crusted broccoli 1 cup
Spinach salad 1 cup
Vinaigrette 2 tablespoons
Non-fat Greek yogurt 6 ounces
Skim milk 1 cup
708 Calories; 70 grams Carbohydrates; 4.5 Carbohydrate Choices
Total: 1857 Calories, 185 grams Carbohydrates, 12 Carbohydrate Choices

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