Diabetes and Nutrition — A Q&A With Our Expert

cheese and peanut butter on crackers

Today’s diabetic diet is simply a healthy diet. To help you live your best with this condition, S. Sethu Reddy, MD, of the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, answers common questions about diabetes:

Q: Are overweight people more likely to get diabetes?
A: Yes — but only if diabetes runs in the family.

Q: Should I avoid veggies that have carbohydrates?
A: No, starchy veggies like peas and corn contain very few carbs. Try to fill half your plate with veggies. It will help you lose weight and control your blood sugar.

Q: Is it OK to fill up on high-protein, low-sugar foods like cheese and peanut butter?
A: These foods are laden with fat and can hinder your weight loss. Peanut butter is a better choice than cheese because it contains a healthier form of fat.

Q: I feel so limited in what I can eat. How can I handle my hunger?
A: Try eating more fiber. Foods like oatmeal, whole-grain breads, brown rice and whole-wheat pasta will help you feel full longer.

Q: How do I stay motivated to eat right?
A: A registered dietitian can help you identify foods you like that are OK to eat. He or she can help you “negotiate” which foods to give up or cut back on. Small adjustments can make a big difference!

Q: Is it safe to diet?
A: Yes, but avoid rigid eating plans that take away personal choice. And steer clear of fads that don’t provide a balanced diet.

Q: Should I focus on carbs and not worry so much about fat?
A: The easiest way to cut your calories is to cut the fat. But go ahead and indulge a little — fat helps you feel full longer.

Q: Will using olive oil cut calories because it’s a healthier type of fat?
A: No, because olive oil has just as many calories as other sources of fat.

Q: Do I have to watch sodium too?
A: Yes. Your risk for heart disease is higher with diabetes. High blood pressure — associated with high salt intake — can lead to many diabetes complications.

Q: What about alcohol?
A: If you’re taking a glucose-lowering agent or insulin, drink with caution. Alcohol can make it harder to sense low blood sugar.

Q: Is there a big difference between “reduced fat,” “low fat” and “fat-free”?
A: Yes. Reduced fat means a product has at least 25 percent less fat than the original — that doesn’t mean it’s low in fat. Going from best to worst, your options are fat-free, low fat, light or lite, and reduced fat.

Q: How does serving size come into play?
A: Don’t be fooled by companies that halve a normal serving size just to label their product “low-carb” or “low-cal.” That means you’ll need to eat two servings of the product to consume a single serving, nutritionally speaking.

A healthy diet doesn’t have to be a hard one if you follow these tips.

  • Marry

    I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2014. I started the ADA diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn’t right and began to do a lot of research. On April 13th I found this book on
    w­j­e­5­9­2­.­com/Cure-Diabetes-Naturally.html . I read the book from end to end that night because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next morning my blood sugar was down to 100, the next day was in the 90’s and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70’s and the 80’s. My doctor took me off the metformin after just one week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 30 pounds in a month. I now work out twice a day and still have tons of energy. I have lost 6+ inches around my waist and I am off my high blood pressure medication too. I have about 20 more pounds to go till my body finds its ideal weight. The great news is, this is a lifestyle I can live with, it makes sense and it works. God Bless the writer. I wish the ADA would stop enabling consumers and tell them the truth. You can get off the drugs, you can help yourself, but you have to have a correct lifestyle and diet. No more processed foods.

    • Ez Acosta

      It pays to advocate for our own health. The standards of health in conventional medicine is atrocious. Im glad you found the path out of sickness. So much of this countries ills goes back to nutrition and clean living and food. The truth is out there.

  • Kimberly Ryan

    In 2007, I was diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia, placed on narcotic therapy, extremely active, petite, until three years ago. Cannot take Lyrica or gabapentin due to severe allergies and Cymbalta doesn’t help. I was taken off these medications because of all the studies contraindicated their effectiveness. Now I’m not on anything. I’ve gained almost 50 pounds, due to decreased activity, in severe pain, have increased neuropathy and muscle weakness, all of which are not being addressed. To add fuel to the fire, I had a brain aneurysm in 4/2000 which left me with traumatic brain injury, as well as, physical side effects. I’ve kept these to a minimum by staying physically fit and active. Because my health has deteriorated and by not being as physical, these side effects are becoming more apparent again. There is no one treating fibromyalgia in my area and I also live in NYS with the strict regulations of narcotics. I don’t fit the “normal” treatment for this diagnosis, nor do I have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, yet I cannot get help. It’s unfortunate that someone who goes from being highly active all their life, athletic, loves the outdoors, lives alone, owns their own house, used to be an RN, becomes someone who struggles to get through the day. It’s not right.