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Restaurants, Eating Out, and Diabetes

1. Restaurants are not treats.

Remember that when you eat out, you are not taking a break from your diet. Most Americans eat out two times a week, and sometimes more. Since you are likely to eat out with some frequency, don’t use eating out as a time to take a break from your diet.

Don’t be afraid to modify a meal selection to make it suit your dietary needs.

2. Eat on time.

Even if you are eating out, try to schedule your meals at roughly the same time as you normally eat. You want to keep your schedule fairly steady so that you can maintain a regular blood glucose level.


3. Watch your Portions.

Most restaurants serve meals that are much larger than the average portion size. So, instead, try splitting your meal with your dining partner. Or simply divide your plate into two halves and eat one half and take the other half home. Don’t order food that is “all you can eat,” “jumbo,” or “grande.” Stick to the “junior” or “small” sizes. You might even try ordering a healthy appetizer for your dinner.


4. Order on the Side.

Get all of your sauces, dressings, and gravies served to you on the side. This way you can control how much you want to eat. Instead of pouring the dressing on your salad, try dipping your fork in the dressing, and then spearing the lettuce. Add your sauces a little at a time. Refrain from dipping your meal into the sauce, though: that will defeat the purpose of ordering the sauce on the side.


5. Have it your way.

If you aren’t sure about the ingredients or preparation of an item on the menu, ask. Your server will tell you the information you need to know to make an informed and healthy choice. Instead of having the fries, ask for a second vegetable side. Ask for your chicken to be grilled instead of fried. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate you.


6. Fast Food Facts.

You can still eat fast food if you are a diabetic. It is easiest to know what you are going to order before you go to the counter or before you get to the drive through window. This stops you from making unhealthy impulse purchases. Know that fast food meals can be up to and even above 1,000 calories. This means that if you choose to eat fast food, try to eat more vegetables at your other meals to help balance your diet.


Remember that simply choosing the chicken is not always the healthy answer. If the food is deep-fried, it is probably not healthy. Avoid breaded and fried foods, and instead choose for skinless, grilled options.


7. Healthy Choices.

Every diabetic has different dietary needs. Some people need to have a low-calorie diet, and others are more concerned about limiting glucose intake. Make your decisions based on your dietary needs. If you need to limit your sodium intake, ask that your meal be prepared without adding salt. If you are watching your calorie count, order your grilled chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise: use mustard or barbecue sauce to add some kick, and fresh vegetables to add flavour too.


8. Know your Substitutes.

All restaurants offer sugar-substitutes on the table. You can also always order a diet pop, which will have a lower sugar content. You can also often get fat-free salad dressings and other healthy choices. Making intelligent choices at the restaurant begins with proper ordering, continues with intelligent substitutions, and ends with healthy portion control. Learning a little more about food will help your dining experience be as positive and healthy as possible. If you want to learn more about food, ask your dietitian to help explain the food options, or check out each restaurant’s nutritional information (often available online) to help you understand what you will be eating.


Vivian Brennan is an expert on diabetes. She is currently living with and managing her diabetes. Vivian’s expertise in diet and exercise as managing tools for diabetes are available for everyone to share at You can even check out her collection of recipes and articles to help you create tasty meals that can support you in helping your cholesterol or blood sugar at



We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!


What Causes Type 1 Diabetes?


Most people often know how to treat type 1 diabetes, but do you know what causes type 1 diabetes? Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body makes little or no insulin. It used to be called insulin dependent or juvenile diabetes. No one really knows what causes type 1 diabetes. But you should know that there is nothing you could have done to prevent type 1 diabetes, even if went to see the doctor sooner. Also, your body's defense system may attack your insulin making cells by mistake, but we don't know why. People usually find out they have it before the age of 30, most often in childhood or during their teens.


In type 1 diabetes, our body has little to no insulin because our immune system destroyed our insulin producing cells. Through research, some scientists have concluded that factors such as unhealthy diets and genetics can cause type 1 diabetes. It is also believed that type 1 diabetes is caused by an "environmental trigger," like a virus or an allergen, which stimulates the immune system of the baby, kid or young adult to attack the beta cells in the pancreas. These beta cells are the insulin producers, and when they are attacked they stop producing insulin, causing type 1 diabetes to develop.


Normally, your pancreas generates insulin continuously, increasing its production in response to the boost in blood sugar that take place after you eat. This extra insulin releases your cells so that more sugar can enter, giving your body energy as well as keeping a normal level of sugar in your blood.


It's important to also be aware of the different myths that over the years have arisen about the causes of diabetes. Eating sweets or the wrong kind of food does not cause diabetes. However, it may cause obesity and this is associated with people developing Type 2 diabetes. Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may be a trigger for the body turning on itself as in the case of Type 1 diabetes. It does, however, make the symptoms worse for those who already have diabetes.


Knowing what can cause or influence diabetes is as important as knowing how to treat diabetes. As a diabetic, it is always important to learn about every aspect of diabetes so you can understand what is occurring inside your body and what you can do to feel better and stay in control of diabetes.


Siporah Anicama is a successful webmaster and publisher of of Type 1 Diabetes. She focuses on diabetes diets, juvenile diabetes and more to keep you informed.


Breastfeeding with Diabetes

If you are a diabetic and have a baby, there are certain things to keep in mind while you are breastfeeding. Firstly, studies have proven that breastfeeding a baby can help to prevent type 1 diabetes development. Babies who breastfeed until at least six months will be at a lower risk for type 1 diabetes. Doctors generally recommend that mothers breastfeed their children until nine to twelve months.


Since type 1 diabetes means your body is not producing the correct amount of insulin, this lack of insulin becomes diabetes. Remember, insulin is vital in making glucose, which is the energy our body uses. Glucose is absorbed directly into your bloodstream after eating; however with out insulin it can't enter your cells.


Doctors are unsure if the positive effects of nursing come from special nutrients in the colostrum (the special milk from mothers) or if it because babies who are breastfed often grow at a more regular pace than those who are fed from cow’s milk. Babies weaned on cow’s milk often experience growth spurts rather than the steady growth associated with mother’s milk. If you are a diabetic, consider breastfeeding to help lower your child’s chances of diabetes due to genetic predisposition.


Breastfeeding is not nly positive for the babies, but also for the mothers. Breastfeeding can help maternal weight loss, and it is particularly important for diabetic women to maintain a healthy weight. Some breastfeeding mothers find it easier for them to manage their diabetes because their glucose levels stay more constant and they have a remission of some symptoms while breastfeeding.


Just like during pregnancy, breastfeeding requires much blood sugar level monitoring from the mother. You will probably find that your need for insulin is lower than before your pregnancy. Insulin will not enter your baby’s body because it is too large to be carried on the breast milk. However, if you have type 2 diabetes and are taking diabetes medication, talk with your doctor to make sure that you are on a type of medication that will be healthiest for both you and for your baby.


Breastfeeding means that you have to be extra careful of your nutrition, so be sure to see your doctor or dietitian to create a meal plan that will work for you. It is important to eat regular snacks when you are breastfeeding because you want to keep your blood glucose levels constant. You will need to increase your caloric intake by about 500 calories a day to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. You can do this simply by drinking a glass of milk each time you breastfeed, which will keep you both hydrated and full of vitamins.


In order to maintain a balanced diet, experts suggest that mothers eat 20% of calories from protein, 40-60% from carbohydrates, and 30-40% from fruits and vegetables. Keeping up with all of these food groups will ensure that your body has the nutrients to provide for the baby.


As a breastfeeding mother, low blood sugar is an increased risk. However, by eating a healthy diet full of legumes, whole grains, other healthy foods, you will be able to keep low blood sugar at bay. Drinking lots of fluids is also an important part of having a healthy blood sugar level. Most importantly, monitor your blood glucose levels and record the results frequently. Having a newborn baby around will mean that you are very busy, but it is also the time when it is most important to take care of yourself so that you will be able to care for your baby.


When the baby is born, often it is a good idea to immediately allow the baby to breastfeed, which will prevent low blood sugar. Some hospitals will try to take babies away for observation. You can ask politely, and firmly insist that you baby stays with you for the first feeding and for some initial bonding time. If you are hospitalized after the baby is born, ask to bring your baby with you so that you will still be able to breastfeed. Diabetic mothers are not often hospitalized, but since breastfeeding is even more important for diabetic mothers, it is important to keep this in mind.


Some diabetic mothers may find that their milk comes in late, between two days to two weeks. In the meantime, use a breastpump and speak to your doctor to establish the best solution for you and your baby. Even babies who are too weak to breastfeed can be fed breastmilk that has been pumped.


Breastfeeding is a bonding experience for mothers and babies. Diabetics can breastfeed and gain even more benefits than the emotional closeness, such as lowered diabetes risk for the baby, and improved diabetes control for the mother.


Vivian Brennan is an expert on diabetes. She has lived with and managed her diabetes. Vivian is a diabetic, but first and foremost, a mother.

You can learn more about parenting and diabetes (for diabetic parents or diabetic children) at

Supplies and Tools for Managing Diabetes

Managing the supplies and items needed to control diabetes on a daily basis can be frustrating and stressful. There are several new products out on the market to make your life simpler and less stressful when it comes to managing your diabetes and your diabetes supplies. Many of these items are not that expensive but are really time, health and energy saving in the long run.



Comfortable and supportive socks are important especially if you have high glucose levels. These elevated glucose levels can cause problems in the nerves of the feet and lead to issues with proper blood circulation. Using the correct socks will prevent damage by blisters or other abrasions to the feet and can help with increasing circulation and prevent swelling.


Blood Glucose Monitors

One of the most important tools for the management of diabetes a good, reliable blood glucose monitor is an essential for testing your sugar levels. Many monitor now offer painless testing that requires only a small fraction of the amount of blood that older monitors require. This is a real benefit to those individuals that have to test frequently. In addition to monitors make sure you have the correct test strips for your monitor. Always try to have several weeks supply in advance in case of an emergency or difficulty in locating strips.


Blood pressure monitors

It is estimated that between twenty and sixty percent of all people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. If you are in this group it is important to consider having a blood pressure monitor handy to keep track of any changes in blood pressure due to diet, stress, medication changes or changes in routine. Electronic blood pressure monitors are now available and they are as reliable and much easier to use than the traditional stethoscope blood pressure monitor.



* Assess your overall health and plan or schedule an appointment with your health care professional if you believe there are any concerns.

* Do something fun for yourself to celebrate your sticking to your plans, loosing a bit of weight or exercising more that month.

* Check the dates on all medications and update your emergency kit.

* Make sure that you have enough insulin, testing strips or other equipment to have at least two months supply at all times.


Glucose gel and tablets

Glucose gels and tablets should be carried at all times, especially if the individual has type 1 diabetes. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur and it is critical to be able to have immediate access to either glucose tablets or gel. Glucose gel is faster acting than tablets as it is more readily absorbed by the body during hypoglycemia. Software There are many inclusive and comprehensive diabetes software programs available on the market. These software programs allow the patient to monitor and track all data, as well as helping with food and menu planning. In addition to just tracking the data it can be shared via internet with your doctor or diabetes support team to keep up-to-date records at the click of a button.


Insulin cases

Insulin is very susceptible to changes in temperature, and can be difficult to travel with if the appropriate travel case is not available. Rather than having to restrict how far you can go, consider purchasing an insulin case or travel case to prevent excessive heating or cooling of your insulin supply. Diabetes is a fact of life for many people. Having the correct and most up-to-date supplies can make managing diabetes easier, safer and more convenient.


Karen Newton is a registered nurse and acclaimed author with over 25 years of health care experience. Her newest book, Diabetic Diet Secrets, is an easy to follow guide to losing weight and getting control of your diabetes. Karen offers a free Diabetic Tips Course at

Check-ups and Diabetes Control

Keeping close tabs on diabetes is a key to preventing in other conditions or medical issues that can arise in individuals with diabetes. In order to correctly monitor your glucose, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and medical status it is important to complete self and doctor check-ups on a routine basis. Both the Canadian and American Diabetes Associations recommend the following schedule of tests



* Check blood glucose levels as required

* Count carbohydrates and carefully monitor food intake including all meals, snacks, beverages or other foods consumed. Make sure you are eating balanced meals and avoid loading up on carbohydrates during just one meal.

* Check your feet and legs for any skin conditions or signs of circulation issues.

* Eliminate stress as much as possible. Find hobby or activity that you enjoy and is relaxing and pleasant to do as often as possible.

* Take a good multivitamin as well as any other medications as prescribed by your doctor. Do not add any medications or supplements without first talking to your diabetes support team or medical professional.



* Plan meals weekly to avoid impulse eating and snacking. Try writing down menus and meal plans and buy groceries according to the menu. Avoid buying items that are tempting to go off program with.

* Exercise at least every other day for a minimum of 30 minutes. This can be a brisk walk, swim or cycle or other vigorous physical activity. Try to exercise as much as possible every day, including taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking a bit further out in the lot when shopping.

* Keep a journal to record all daily blood glucose levels, medications taken, or other health concerns.



* Schedule an A1C glycosylated hemoglobin, test with your healthcare professional. Review the results and make any needed changes in medication, diet or exercise as recommended by your physician.



* Schedule an eye appointment and make any necessary changes in prescriptions on glasses or contacts. Notify your physician if any changes occur in your level of vision.

* Visit your podiatrist and have your feet checked.

* Get a flu shot to prevent any possible complications with illness.

* Get a microalbuminuria or urine protein test. This will determine the condition of your kidneys and provide early detection of any issues with your kidneys.

* Go to the dentist to have a cleaning and check up. Dental problems can affect your blood glucose levels.


Following a schedule throughout the year will help you stay on top of your diabetes, and provide early detection for any problems or conditions that may be developing. Try finding an online or in person support group to help you with resources and activities that are specialized to diabetics and their lifestyle.


Karen Newton is a registered nurse and acclaimed author with over 25 years of health care experience. Her newest book, "Diabetic Diet Secrets," is an easy-to-follow guide to losing weight and getting control of your diabetes. Karen offers a free Diabetic Tips course at


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