Are You Using All the Tools You Can to Manage Diabetes?

By: Keith Ayoob, EdD, RDN, FADN

With diabetes now affecting 1 in 11 Americans, it is one of the most common chronic health conditions today.

The two most common forms of diabetes are known as “type 1” and “type 2”.  Type 1 usually happens in childhood, it is permanent, and unpreventable.  Type 2 diabetes however, is acquired and can be prevented.  No matter the type of diabetes , both  need to be carefully managed with diet and physical activity.

Diabetes Management = “Project Management”

Diabetes isn’t a death sentence. It is more of an ongoing “project”.  Like any project, diabetes requires proper management. 

You would never clean your house without having the right supplies on hand, or drive a car without first getting lessons and studying the driver’s manual.  It is no different with diabetes. Having the right skills and tools is critical to successful management.

Diabetes: It’s a Balancing Act

When you are diagnosed with any form of diabetes, the most important first step is to see a certified diabetes educator (CDE) or a registered dietitian-nutritionist.  Your doctor or nurse practitioner can refer you. 

A great additional tool is the Calorie Control Council’s Healthy Weight Tool Kit.  Among the skills you’ll need to have under your belt to keep your blood glucose levels under control are:

  • Distributing your calories and carbohydrates throughout the day.  This helps keep blood glucose levels from spiking.  It can also keep you from getting too hungry, which can lead to overeating.
  • Using physical activity to manage your weight and blood glucose level.  If you’re able to be mobile, you will need to be physically active.  Along with diet, you will learn why being active can be one of the most important tools you have for managing your diabetes.  Activity itself helps bring down blood glucose levels and it actually helps your body become more “insulin sensitive” and less “insulin resistant”.  Being insulin sensitive means your body responds more to the insulin you have. 
  •  Adjusting your calories and carbohydrates up to accommodate your higher activity level.  Check with your CDE first, but sometimes eating a few more calories can be OK when you’ve been more active.
  • Learning to remove “empty” calories that contribute to dietary and blood glucose imbalances.

Where Might Low-Calorie Sweeteners (LCS) Fit In Diabetes “Project Management”?

Managing diabetes takes some work!  Diabetes takes no days off for weekends or holidays, unfortunately.   It is a chronic condition, so you need to be in it for the long haul.  That said, this is exactly where LCS can be your allies, they can make the job of managing diabetes more enjoyable and seem less like hard work.  Essentially, LCS help make it easier to stick to your plans and reach your management goals. 

Please note, however, using LCS is not mandatory.  You may not even use them daily.  Still, knowing they are available and safe to use, and knowing when and how to use them wisely can make life with diabetes easier, more productive, and less limiting.

Most people, even those without diabetes, eat more added sugar than recommended, so careful “spending” of sugar calories is important.  LCS help us direct that calorie “spending” more wisely, making them a useful tool for anyone who wants to reduce added sugars in their diet.  

Keith Ayoob, EdD, RDN, FADN, is an Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As a pediatric nutritionist and registered dietitian, Dr. Ayoob is also a past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Ayoob is a consultant with the Calorie Control Council Advisory Board and the Global Stevia Institute (GSI), GSI is supported by PureCircle Ltd, a global leader in purified stevia leaf extract production.

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.