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From Mountain Home, Idaho, USA:

Two weeks ago, my husband had his second stroke, and they detected diabetes. This is a new world for me, and I need to find information on what he can have to eat. He is rehabilitation now and will not be able to return home for two to six weeks so I would like to get caught up on what I need to learn.


The nutritional needs of people with diabetes are the same as those for everyone else. All humans need adequate calories, protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Diabetes doesn't change that. The keys to eating well are variety and moderation. Variety means eating from all classes of foods and having different choices from each group. You could use a Food Guide Pyramid, such as the one that appears on just about every cereal box in the land, as your starting point. Within each of those groups, try to include a variety of choices. For example, fruits are important but try to branch out from apples, bananas and orange juice to include citrus, and berries and other kinds you enjoy. Moderation means not overdoing it on any one thing. A serving of protein at a couple of meals each day is healthful, but covering half the plate with a big steak isn't a great idea. Chances are that many of the parts of a healthful eating plan are already included in your family meals.

In addition to these general health concerns, the person with diabetes needs to understand how foods effect the blood sugar. Knowing this is the basis for keeping food in balance with the body's insulin supply. Ask your husband's doctor for a referral to a diabetes education program or diabetes dietitian. It will be very helpful to learn a system such as carbohydrate counting so you can better see how to distribute food among your husband;s meals and snacks to keep the blood sugar in control.

You can tell how this is working by testing blood sugar before and after eating. The American Diabetes Association suggests that most people try to keep their blood sugars below 120 mg/dl [6.7 mmol/L] before meals and below 180 mg/dl [10 mmol/L] after eating. Be sure to ask your husband's team if these targets make sense for him.

It works best for most people to learn how to use the foods they normally eat as part of their plan to control diabetes. Printed diet sheets may look simpler to start with, but they get boring quite soon. There is no food that can't be enjoyed by people with diabetes. The trick is to learn how foods affect blood sugar.


Original posting 12 Nov 2001
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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