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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Monitor carbohydrate intake to help control adult diabetes

Advertiser Staff

Diabetes affects about 17 million people in the United States, a little more than six percent of the population, according to the American Diabetes Association. An estimated 11.1 million have been diagnosed, but another 5.9 million people (a third) are unaware they have the disease.

Type I, or juvenile diabetes, is diagnosed early in life. The body produces no insulin, and patients are insulin-dependent.

Type II, the most common type, is often diagnosed in adulthood. While the body is able to produce insulin, it does not produce enough, so the diet must be restricted.

Gestational diabetes, which occurs during some pregnancies, may or may not create insulin dependence.

Tips for diabetics:

• Vary the diet, proteins and carbohydrates, as well as types of foods. Don't eat the same things all the time.

• Eat carbohydrates in moderation. Choose carbs with high fiber content — brown rice instead of white, whole grains instead of white bread.

• Although this can vary from person to person, look to create a diet where half to two-thirds of calories come from carbs, less than a third from fat and the remainder from protein.

• Use less solid, or saturated, fat and more monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, or polyunsaturated fats, such as in nuts.

• Resist fried food.

• Choose combination snacks, such as proteins with carbs, instead of 100 percent carb foods.

• In working to eliminate carb overloads, remember that many foods contain natural sugars that count as carbs: Milk has lactose; fruits contain fructose.

• Know that veggies contain carbs, but raw vegetables don't seem to raise blood sugar as fast as cooked vegetables.

• Remember: Exercise is a healthful key to living with diabetes.