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Simple Tips for Controlling Diabetes

November 3, 2018

For people with diabetes, one of the primary goals is maintaining or achieving a healthy weight. Johanna Burkhard, author of Diabetes Comfort Food, says this means controlling calorie intake and limiting total fat to no more than 30% of calories and saturated fat to no more than 10% of calories. For a person eating 2,000 calories a day, for example, the total fat consumed should be about 65 grams, including no more than 22 grams of saturated fat.

Controlling sodium is also important. Sodium in the diet comes primarily from salt, whether it be used in cooking, added at the table or hidden in manufactured and prepared foods. Consider that one teaspoon (5 mL) of salt contains about 2,400 mg of sodium. The American Diabetes Association limits sodium to 2,400–6,000 mg per day, while the Canadian Diabetes Association suggests 2,000–4,000 mg. In both cases, the lower end of the range is recommended. 

There is a common misconception that those with diabetes should avoid carbohydrates, especially sugar. This is not true, but you should control the total amount of carbohydrate eaten and spread it evenly throughout the day’s meals and snacks. Glycemic index — the degree to which a particular type of carbohydrate raises blood sugar — is also important.

Foods such as legumes, vegetables and whole-grain foods have the lowest glycemic indexes and should be consumed often. To learn more about glycemic index, consult your diabetes educator or visit or


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