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Can A Diabetic Eat A Doughnut

by Lyndon Langley
Can A Diabetic Eat A Doughnut

Can A Diabetic Eat A Doughnut

I am not a huge fan of sweets — I’m more of a savory-sweet kind of girl. But as much as my mom nagged me about eating healthy while growing up, she never once told me to eat my vegetables and avoid the brownies. And now here I was, staring at an entire box of donuts and wondering if it would kill me (and my diabetes) to take one bite.

Diabetes affects more than 26 million Americans and is on the rise according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The disease occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not respond properly to the hormone’s effects. Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5–10 percent of all diagnosed cases; type 2 accounts for 90–95 percent of those diagnosed, according to the ADA. In fact, nearly every person with diabetes has some form of the disease. It doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, age or ethnicity. And although there are many causes, including heredity, obesity and lifestyle choices, most people who have diabetes also experience higher levels of stress. “People with high chronic stress may be predisposed to developing pre-diabetes,” said Dr. Kimberly L. Kimberlain, registered dietician, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and nutritionist from New York University Medical Center.

In order for diabetics to manage their disease effectively, they must closely monitor their blood glucose levels throughout the day. This involves testing blood samples after each meal and before bedtime. Although this method works well, it can become overwhelming for some diabetic patients because of the frequency required per day. For example, if you’re a man, you might test yourself four times a day, which means a total of 16 tests daily. If you’re a woman, you could test yourself six times a day, totaling 24 tests daily. However, a new device called the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System by Abbott Laboratories allows users to check themselves without pricking their fingers. Instead, they place a small sensor under their tongues for approximately five minutes and then get results via software.

“This technology provides fast and accurate readings,” said Kimberlain. “Users will find it very convenient.”

The FreeStyle Libre uses a tiny disposable sensor that sticks directly to your tongue for 10 seconds. It contains a glucose oxidase enzyme that reacts to glucose in your saliva. So if you have diabetes, your body should naturally process sugars into glucose, but it usually takes too long. That’s where the FreeStyle comes in. Within 30 seconds of placing the sensor underneath your tongue, it’ll give you a reading that’s comparable to traditional methods. You’ll receive notifications to alert you when it’s time to test your blood and see what your numbers were. Afterward, you’ll receive an email notification with the results.

As we’ve learned, diabetes is becoming increasingly common, especially among younger people. According to research published in January 2012 in JAMA Internal Medicine, children ages 12 to 19 years old are twice as likely to develop diabetes compared to adults between 20 and 79 years old. There are several reasons why this is happening, such as genetics and environment. One reason could be due to the consumption of added sugars found in sodas, sports drinks and other sugary beverages. These foods often contain hidden carbohydrates that aren’t listed on labels. “Hidden sugars are difficult to recognize because manufacturers use them in creative ways,” said Kimberlain. She recommends checking food labels carefully to look for ingredients containing high fructose corn syrup, dextrose and maltodextrin.

So how exactly do these types of sugars affect our bodies? Sugar exists in three forms: simple sugars, complex sugars and fiber. Simple sugars are known as monosaccharides, which include glucose and fructose. Complex sugars are made up of two or more different sugars joined together, such as lactose, sucrose and maltodextrin. Maltodextrins are used in baking and processed products because they are digested slowly by the human digestive system. Fiber refers to plant materials that cannot be absorbed by the body and pass through the intestinal wall intact. Sugars are classified as either digestible or indigestible. Digestible sugars are broken down during digestion and turned into glucose, whereas indigestible sugars remain unchanged.

Although sugar isn’t necessarily bad for us, consuming a lot of it over time can contribute to health problems, especially for diabetics. “Sugar plays a significant role in causing complications related to diabetes, so cutting back on sugar intake is important,” said Kimberlain.

There are numerous ways to cut back on sugar intake, including limiting portion sizes, choosing low-sugar sweeteners, substituting foods, using smaller utensils and avoiding soda altogether. Beverages like fruit juice, coffee and alcohol shouldn’t count toward your daily sugar limit because they contain antioxidants and phytochemicals. Also, watch out for hidden sugars, such as in syrups, sauces and salad dressings.

If you want to go ahead and indulge a little bit, try making healthier versions of favorite desserts. Just make sure you read labels and choose lower-calorie substitutes that still provide sweetness. Some good options include applesauce instead of ice cream, yogurt instead of cheese cake frosting and whole grain muffins instead of white ones.

Eating a doughnut won’t kill you, but keeping a close eye on your blood sugar levels will help ensure that you stay healthy.

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