If you are a newly diagnosed diabetic, it is always a good idea to meet with a registered dietitian. Learning how and what to eat is an essential part of managing your diabetes. The dietitian will give you an individualized meal plan so you consume the right kinds and amounts of food.

1. The amount of carbohydrate you need depends on your age, weight, activity and medications you take.

Carbohydrates affect your blood sugar levels the most because they turn into sugar, but they are the main source of fuel for our bodies and provide essential vitamins and minerals.

2. People with diabetes can consume sugar, even desserts.

Your blood sugar level after eating is largely determined by the total amount of carbohydrates you have consumed, not the source. The source of carbohydrate affects how fast it turns into glucose. However, it is important to remember that while foods with sugar can be part of a diabetic meal plan, most sweets and desserts are high in carbohydrates, calories, fat and have little or no nutritional value. While these foods can be consumed, the American Diabetes Association suggests they should be considered treats and eaten in limited amounts.

3. Once you are diagnosed with diabetes, you have it for the rest of your life.

You cannot cure diabetes but, you can treat it, take charge of it and control it with the help of your health care team. You can keep your diabetes under control by following a meal plan, checking your blood glucose levels, being active, getting regular check-ups and taking any necessary medications.

4. Diabetes doesn’t mean medication.

Sometimes people can come off diabetes medications if they follow proper dietary guidelines and exercise regularly. These people will always be diabetics, so regular medical appointments are still important.

5. Exercise is one very important part of a diabetes care plan and can lower your sugar levels for up to 24 hours afterward.

When you exercise, your muscles work harder and use up their glucose stores for fuel. When those sources run low, glucose from the blood is used to lower your blood glucose levels. Exercise also makes muscles and other tissues more sensitive to insulin, so less insulin is needed to move glucose out of the blood and into the cells. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Always check your blood glucose readings before you exercise and carry a snack (15gms of carbohydrate) in case your blood glucose goes too low. Your blood glucose should always be between 120 and 250 before you exercise. The best time to exercise is 1 to 3 hours after a meal.

For More Information

The Care New England Wellness Center offers programs and dietitian consultations for people living with diabetes. For more information, please visit The Diabetes Management Program at the Care New England Wellness Center or call 401-732-3066.