Ask Lisa

I was recently asked a question about meal planning and diabetes. This is important, because food affects blood sugar and it’s essential that diabetics manage their blood sugar. If they don’t, they put themselves at potential risk of complications such as heart problems, kidney issues, nerve damage, vision problems, amputations and more. Close to 26 million Americans have diabetes. Another approximate 79 million have prediabetes. While not diabetic, these individuals have started hiking the road toward diabetes and many of them take the path straight to it. Those who have diabetes have it for life. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be controlled. When discussing diabetes, I tell my patients to imagine a see-saw. There’s a person on each end but neither one has sat down. So the see-saw is in a nice horizontal line. That’s how you want your blood sugar to be. When we do things like carry too much weight on our frames, don’t take our medication properly, eat too much carbohydrate, don’t exercise, etc., one of the people on that see-saw sits down and we tilt. That’s our blood sugar. The goal is to avoid the tilting. Carbohydrates affect our blood sugar very quickly. Carbs are foods like pasta, rice, bread, crackers, potatoes, corn, peas, beans, winter squash, fruit, jam, jelly, sugar, honey, pie, cake and more. Milk and yogurt have carbohydrate and protein. Our bodies break down carbs into sugar (glucose) and send it to our blood where it hangs around. Our pancreas makes insulin, which I liken to taxi cabs that go into the blood and pick up the sugar and take it...