Nutrition News: Monumental Insights About Diabetes

Under the watchful eye of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson, I joined several thousand colleagues in Washington, DC last month for our annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). Our theme: “Monumental opportunities…Diabetes Educators in Action.” Here are some highlights:

“Inside the Beltway, outside the Beltway” is said to be a popular weight loss phrase in Washington, according to “President Bush” (or someone who looked a lot like him);

We live in an “obesigenic” society—our excess weight a result of our bodies doing exactly what they are programmed to do when food is plentiful and physical activity is limited;

Virtually unheard of a generation ago, 25% of the children now diagnosed with diabetes are type 2 rather than type 1. The reason? Our increasing epidemic of obesity in children that leads to metabolic syndrome—a precursor to type 2 diabetes.

We know that increased physical activity improves blood glucose control, weight, blood pressure and energy. We know we “should” eat healthy foods, watch portion sizes, cook more and only eat when we are hungry. Why don’t we?

Research that won the 2002 Nobel prize found that the decisions we make in life are primarily based on emotions (how we feel) rather than intellect (what we know).

Pull out a sheet of paper and graph how your weight has changed over time. Plug in what was happening in your life during times of weight gain or weight loss. This will help you understand the emotional situations that trigger your health habits.

Diabetes and alcohol do NOT mix with pregnancy or if you have any of these complications: Hepatitis C or other liver disease, pancreatitis, high blood triglycerides, or severe neuropathy.

Calories still count. The most effective long-term diet to control diabetes and reduce its complications is carbohydrate-controlled, low in saturated fat and high in fiber.