Holiday Eating with Diabetes

"Thanksgiving Dinner" by atl10trader is licensed under CC by 2.0
“Thanksgiving Dinner” by atl10trader is licensed under CC by 2.0

Personally, the fall and winter months are my favorite times of the year. The days get shorter, the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to change color in anticipation to the new season and festive events. The main reasons that I am a fan of the fall and winter months are because they are jam packed with holidays, family get-togethers and plenty of delicious food! But as a diabetic, holidays can be a challenging time because of all the temptation presented not only by the variety of different eats but also by imbibing in drink as well. We all know diabetes doesn’t prevent us from enjoying in the holiday festivities and eating delicious food but as a diabetic, we just need to properly plan for such events and have a greater amount of self-control.

To enjoy holiday meals with friends and family, follow some of these tips to prevent over eating while indulging in the flavors of the season!

  • Eat breakfast and/or snacks earlier in the day; the idea of saving carbs for a big meal may cause blood sugar to be more difficult to manage
  • Take a walk or another exercise session the day to lower your blood glucose
  • Limit the servings of starchy foods (potatoes, yams, rolls, stuffing); rather select one of the items or smaller portions of multiple items
  • Select vegetables served raw, grilled or steamed rather than in creams
  • Choose zero-calorie drinks such as water, tea or mineral water instead of sodas and other sugary beverages
  • Limit the amount of alcohol and take it with food; one alcoholic drink is:
    • 12 fl oz of beer
    • 5 fl oz of wine
    • 5 fl oz of 80 proof spirit
  • Enjoy holiday sweets but enjoy them in small portions, eat them slowly and savor the flavor and texture
  • After a big meal, take a walk to enjoy the cool weather with family and friends while also burning calories and removing yourself from the temptation of holiday treat

Even though diabetes is a condition that must be dealt with everyday including the most tempting of times during the holidays, it does not prevent the simple enjoyment of holiday meals and get-togethers. By following these simple steps and focusing on proper food choices and self-control, holiday meals and parties can be a time of great joy with friends, families and delicious foods! Cheers to the upcoming holidays and enjoy them in moderation!

Additional Holiday Eating Tips

Holiday Eating Infographic

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Diabetes in India – An Upcoming Epidemic

There has been a dramatic rise in the amount of people type 2 diabetes throughout the world due to longer life expectancy, obesity, and sedentary lifestyles. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes can be seen especially in developing countries such as India. In fact India hosts an estimated 35 million people with diabetes – the largest in the world – accounting for 8% of the total adult population.

From a scientific perspective, the question that needs to be asked is why diabetes is so prevalent in India. The answer is multifaceted with genetic factors, environmental influence like obesity typically associated with an increase in living standard and changes in socio-economic status causing the migration from rural India to more urban areas.

In fact there are patterns displaying the geographical distribution of diabetes in India; rough estimates show that the distribution of diabetes in rural areas is a quarter of urban populations for India and related subcontinent countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Studies performed by the Indian Council of Medical Research revealed that areas of Northern India had a lower distribution of diabetes in the population.

Although diabetes is less prevalent in the rural population, diabetes treatment including screening, medication and education is also less available. The disproportionate allocation of medical resources, lack of education and illiteracy between urban and rural areas may be a cause of improper diabetes screening and preventive care services. This then results in patients not following diabetes management/protocol.

There are a number of other challenges that plague diabetes care in India such as lack of HbA1c test which determines the amount of glucose concentration in the blood. The unavailability of this test prevents proper insulin treatment for diabetes. Additionally, there is no consistency regarding Indian guidelines for diabetes treatment resulting in a wide variation of treatments across the country.

In India, diabetes continues to grow to epidemic proportions affecting family and society. Many factors are a cause of the increase in diabetes such as the migration from rural to urban areas, the economic boom and the related lifestyle changes but despite the prevalence of diabetes, there remains an insufficient amount of studies to investigate the details of the disease within the country, with geographical, socioeconomic and ethnic background playing a large role. The disease has become highly visible across all areas of society within India creating an urgent demand for research and intervention at regional and national levels In order to reduce the long term affects the disease will have in the future.