Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Diabetes, Fourth Edition: Nutrition You Can Live With

Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Diabetes, Fourth Edition: Nutrition You Can Live With

by Elaine Magee

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Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't enjoy life, eat well, and be healthy!

In this fourth edition of her best-selling title, Elaine Magee clearly presents the latest medical findings on what causes diabetes, available treatments, and the dietary implications of this disease.

She includes everything you need to know to live with diabetes, from using an individualized carbohydrate budget and using the glycemic index and glycemic load, to revolutionary fiber tips, facts about alternative sweeteners, and smart snacking tips.

She's also included these great new additions:

  • Surprising myths and truths about obesity and weight loss for people with diabetes
  • Foods that help prevent high blood sugar when paired with foods that usually cause high blood sugar
  • An expanded section on smart breakfast choices (with carb-counting information)
  • Quick Carb-Counting Guide and the Diabetes Plate Guide—both of which you can carry with you
  • New sections on Beans With Super Powers and Intact Whole Grains (each with five new recipes)

    Tell Me What to Eat if I Have Diabetes includes dozens of healthful, practical recipes made from familiar, easy-to-find ingredients, plus up-to-date supermarket and and restaurant advice.
  • Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9781601633064
    Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
    Publication date: 02/25/2014
    Series: Tell Me What to Eat Series
    Edition description: Fourth Edition
    Pages: 192
    Sales rank: 142,752
    Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

    About the Author

    Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is fondly known through her national column and on as "The Recipe Doctor." She is the author of 25 books on nutrition and healthy cooking, including the revolutionary Food Synergy, as well as other best-selling titles in the 'Tell Me What to Eat' series, covering type-2 diabetes, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and other important health issues. She frequently appears on television and radio shows across the country and resides in Northern California with her husband and two teenage daughters.

    Read an Excerpt


    The Who, What, Where, Why, and How of Type 2 Diabetes

    Diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions. It is the third or seventh leading cause of death in the United States, depending on whether you include the people with diabetes who die from related cardiovascular disease. Roughly 26 million Americans already have diabetes and many more will get it in the coming years as baby boomers age and the rise in adult and child obesity continues. Experts say that about eight to nine million Americans are totally unaware they even have diabetes. Often, they don't find out until fairly severe damage has been done to their bodies. What kind of damage? Uncontrolled diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and leg amputations. But a wise diabetes educator once told me that "controlled" diabetes is the leading cause of ... nothing! That's the truth and the good news.

    Once you have diabetes, your risk for heart disease can be four times greater. So telling you what to eat for type 2 diabetes also has to include telling you what to eat to reduce your risk of heart disease. In fact, the types of food and meal choices that work best for diabetics (lower sugar, lower sodium, high fiber, lean meats and plant protein, fruits, and vegetables, with sources of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids) are great for someone without diabetes who is just trying to eat right and prevent disease. The only difference is that someone with diabetes needs to carefully control and monitor his or her blood sugar and, therefore, sometimes needs to keep count of carbohydrate, fiber, and fat grams throughout his or her day.

    What is insulin, and what does it normally do in the body?

    Insulin is a hormone normally produced as needed by the pancreas, and one of its major jobs is helping get glucose (energy) into various body cells. When blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas makes more insulin and releases it into the bloodstream. The insulin then causes body cells to remove the excess glucose that is circulating in the blood. In the liver and skeletal muscle cells, the insulin encourages the production of glycogen (the storage form of glucose). In the liver and fat cells, insulin encourages fat production (stored energy). At the same time, insulin discourages the breakdown of body fat for energy (lipolysis), causing the body to rely more heavily on the recently ingested carbohydrates for current energy needs.

    What is type 2 diabetes?

    Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough or properly use insulin. As discussed, insulin is a hormone that triggers body cells to convert sugar, starches, and other foods into energy. Type 2 diabetes is a result of insulin resistance and can occur when the body produces plenty of insulin, but the insulin cannot do its job. For some reason, the cells in the body have become resistant to insulin. In most cases, being overweight or obese for a period of time brings on the insulin resistance, but there are people who are obese for many years who never develop diabetes. So scientists suspect that some people have a genetic predisposition, that their particular genes make them more likely to develop type 2 diabetes under certain conditions, such as aging, weight gain, or an inactive lifestyle. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2.

    What are the warning signs of type 2 diabetes?

    Some people with type 2 don't have obvious signs, but they could have any of the following symptoms:

    • Frequent infections.

    • Blurred vision.

    • Cuts that are slow to heal.

    • Tingling and/or numbness in hands or feet.

    • Unusual thirst.

    • Frequent urination.

    • Extreme hunger.

    • Unusual weight loss.

    • Extreme fatigue.

    • Irritability.

    Why do some people get type 2 diabetes?

    Insulin resistance is the common cause, but not all people with type 2 diabetes are created equal. Most people with type 2 diabetes start with the potential to develop the disease, such as a genetic predisposition based on family history or ethnicity, which eventually becomes manifested through environmental factors such as aging, weight gain, or a sedentary lifestyle, all leading to insulin resistance.

    Can changing my lifestyle improve my type 2 diabetes?

    In the past five to 10 years, important studies have been published documenting how good exercise is for people with diabetes or at risk for developing it. The National Institute for Health did a study to find out whether the onset of diabetes in a high-risk group could actually be prevented. They compared a lifestyle modification program that included healthy changes including nutrition, exercise and a minimal amount of weight loss (Hello! This is the Elaine Magee way of living!) with a treatment program that relied on medication. Guess what happened? The lifestyle program ended up trumping the treatment program! The lifestyle program was twice as good, twice as powerful, with an almost 60 percent reduction in the onset of diabetes, compared with those using medications, which reduced it by 30 percent.

    All in favor of working out today and enjoying a nice high-fiber dinner with smart fats featured, say aye!

    Is type 2 diabetes an outcome of nurture or nature?

    Behavior, rather than genetics, may provide the key to reducing a woman's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Results from the Nurses' Health Study suggest that the majority — an estimated nine out of 10 cases — of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by weight loss, regular physical activity, healthy diet, abstinence from smoking, and moderate consumption of alcohol (half to one drink per day for women). The risk reduction was similar for women with and without a family history of the disease. Because diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such modifications may help prevent heart disease. Researchers following nearly 85,000 nurses for 16 years concluded that an estimated 91 percent of the 3,300 new cases of type 2 diabetes diagnosed during the study could have been prevented by lifestyle modifications.

    Excess body fat was the single most important risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes. The heavier a woman was, the greater her risk of developing the disease, even if she was at the high end of a normal BMI (body mass index, a measure of body fat). An estimated 97 million Americans are overweight or obese, making them all at an increased risk for diabetes.

    Lack of physical activity was also a significant risk factor, independent of body weight. Conversely, women who exercised seven or more hours weekly cut their risk by 50 percent, compared with sedentary women. About 75 percent of the U.S. population is considered to be minimally engaged in physical activity or daily exercise.

    The women at lowest risk ate a diet high in cereal fiber and polyunsaturated fats, and low in saturated and trans fat. They abstained from smoking and drank moderately (Nurses' Health Study 9 [2002]).

    What are the end points of uncontrolled diabetes?

    Uncontrolled diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in workingage adults in the United States, accounting for 24,000 new cases of blindness every year. The National Eye Institute estimates that 90 percent of lost vision is preventable. Uncontrolled diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease in the United States. Approximately 28,000 patients with diabetes develop end-stage renal disease every year. With all the current therapies now available, future cases of end-stage renal disease are probably preventable. Uncontrolled diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower extremity amputations in the United States. Keep in mind that about 95 percent are thought to be preventable, another incentive to manage your diabetes well!

    How will this book help?

    I know it takes some time to really accept that you now have diabetes. This may take a few months or a few years, depending on the person. A good friend of mine was in what you could call "diabetic denial" for about two years — not exercising, not really paying attention to her blood glucose or what she ate. She was one of the first people to whom I gave a copy of the first edition of this book. Every time I would see her, I would ask if she had read it. She would always have an excuse.

    Finally one day she said, "I guess I better start acting like a diabetic." Almost overnight she started monitoring her blood glucose; counting carbohydrates, fat, and fiber; and working some exercise into her busy work week. She feels much better now. Guess what? She had finally read the book.

    If you are reading this book right now, chances are you have accepted that diabetes is now a part of your life. You want to make it work for you. You want to manage your blood glucose, reduce your risk of heart disease, and just plain feel better. Because you want to make changes, this book can help.

    How do I get my type 2 diabetes under control?

    Many diabetes specialists believe there are four keys to diabetes management success:

    1. Monitoring blood glucose levels.

    You need to monitor your blood glucose, because that's how you know right away if you are keeping it near normal. And you need to keep your blood glucose near normal if you want to protect your body from developing diabetic complications further down the line. If your healthcare team knows how your blood sugar is being affected from day to day, they can help fine-tune your medications, your eating plan, and your exercise routine.

    Measuring your blood glucose will tell you rather quickly whether your treatments (diet, exercise, and pharmacological) are working for you. Make sure someone on your healthcare team clearly demonstrates how to measure your glucose and how to record it so it can be referred to easily at follow-up visits.

    This is very important in the management of diabetes. Next to the discovery of insulin, the ability to monitor blood sugar was the biggest breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes.

    The American Diabetes Association recommends a goal of 90 to 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) for preprandial (pre-meal) blood glucose levels in adults with diabetes. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends that adults aim for a preprandial blood glucose goal of less than and equal to 110 mg/dL.

    Generally, blood glucose levels are taken two hours after a meal, which is thought to be when the blood glucose concentrations are at their peak. The American Diabetes Association recommends less than 180 mg/dL for peak postprandial (post-meal) glucose levels. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends adults aim for a postprandial goal of less than or equal to 140 mg/dL.

    Hemoglobin A1c levels are directly related to blood glucose concentrations over the previous two to three months. The A1c test is often given twice each year in stable patients and four or more times a year in patients for which glycemic control is more challenging. The A1c test goal is less than or equal to seven percent. The following table shows the mean blood glucose levels that correlate with various Hemoglobin A1c test results:

    Hemoglobin Alc Mean Blood Glucose

    6 percent 135 mg/dL
    7 percent 170 mg/dL
    8 percent 205 mg/dL
    9 percent 240 mg/dL
    10 percent 275 mg/dL

    2. Exercising regularly.

    Exercise can actually help control blood glucose levels. Exercise depresses insulin production and also prompts skeletal muscle cells to take in more glucose from the bloodstream. With more glucose in your muscle cells, you can produce more energy so that your muscles can continue to work.

    Besides helping to control blood glucose levels, exercise improves the cardiovascular system, thus reducing the risk of heart disease, and also encourages weight loss, which can have big benefits for people with diabetes.

    3. Planning your meals wisely.

    This is the key that this book will give you the most help with. It will help you follow a plan that keeps your personal blood glucose levels normal, protects against heart disease and weight gain, and doesn't make you feel deprived. This book, though, is not about telling you the one and only way to eat; no one diet is best for all people with diabetes. Every person has different risk factors (obesity, hypertension, high triglycerides, kidney dialysis, and so on.) that need to be considered. I will tell you generally which foods or meals are more likely to cause higher blood sugar. But when it comes right down to it, every person is affected by the same food or meal a little differently. Chalk it up to unexplained individual differences.

    Generally, many people with diabetes seem to tolerate a more moderate-carbohydrate (around 45 percent of calories from carbohydrate), moderate-fat (around 35 percent of calories from fat) way of eating. Of course, this eating plan requires using mostly canola oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and nuts and seeds, which are high in more desirable poly and monounsaturated fats. Having a couple servings of fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, each week wouldn't hurt either.

    4. Work with your doctor and dietitian on medications and prescriptions specific to your medical condition.

    It's important to work with your healthcare team particularly if insulin is part of your treatment plan.

    Is there such a thing as too much insulin when it comes to managing or treating type 2 diabetes? Some researchers believe that giving more insulin can lead to increased body fat, as they discussed in a March 2008 press release at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Because high doses of insulin may lower glucose levels, it will also increase the fatty molecules and may cause organ damage, according to new research. Dr. Roger Unger, professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, now believes, after investigating diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance for more than 50 years, that intensive insulin therapy may not be best for obese patients with insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes, because it increases the fatty acids that cause diabetes. The most rational therapy, he suggests, eliminates excess calories, thereby reducing the amount of insulin in the blood and the synthesis of the fatty acids stimulated by the high insulin levels.

    According to Unger, one treatment option to be considered before giving insulin is bariatric surgery. For many with type 2 diabetes, the excess body fat is causing insulin resistance and killing the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The aim, then, is to correct the insulin resistance by reducing body fat. So it's quite possible that for overweight patients with poorly controlled, insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes, weight loss and major lifestyle changes may actually be more effective than intensive insulin therapy.

    But this remains a hot issue among diabetes researchers, so stay tuned, because Chinese researchers have reported that when intensive insulin therapy was given to people just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it seemed to improve B-cell (the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin) function compared to using oral hypoglycemic agents.

    Where can I go for more information?

    To find a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) in your area (many provide individual consultations and some offer classes for diabetics), go to

    For a list of registered dietitians with expertise in diabetes (RD, CDE) in your area, contact the American Dietetic Association's National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics at 800-366-1655 or visit its Website at

    The American Diabetes Association maintains a hotline at 800-DIABETES (800342-2383), and information on types of diabetes is available by mail, fax, and staff members. The association's Website is

    Hopefully, your local diabetes center or clinic has a referral sheet available, filled with local numbers for everything from diabetes support groups and counselors to dietitians, diabetes educators, fitness clubs, and personal trainers. If they don't, find somewhere that does. Many hospitals have diabetes support groups, and that is a great starting place.


    Excerpted from "Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Diabetes"
    by .
    Copyright © 2014 Elaine Magee.
    Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
    All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
    Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

    Table of Contents

    Introduction 7

    Publisher's Note 9

    Chapter 1 The Who, What, Where, Why, and How of Type 2 Diabetes 11

    Chapter 2 Top 3 Profiles of Type 2 Diabetes 19

    Chapter 3 Everything You Ever Wanted to Ask Your Dietitian 37

    Chapter 4 The 10 Food Steps to Freedom 61

    Chapter 5 The Recipes You Can't Live Without 107

    Chapter 6 Navigating the Supermarket 137

    Chapter 7 Restaurant Rules to Eat By 149

    Chapter 8 Smart Snacking and Balanced Breakfasts 163

    Index 179

    About the Author 187

    Customer Reviews