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Harlem Word: Dr. Carlton McGregor talks about how changes in how you live your life may prevent prostate cancer


CalStriver wrote

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I already have diabetes. I always eat vegetables with my meals but even until now, I' not used to not having any dessert with my meals (I'm on medication though). I also eat a lot of rice (half-Asian). My question is, is a little dessert from time to time still okay? Is eating 2 cups of rice per meal, bad for people with diabetes?


Kathleen.Keller wrote

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Hello! I am a nutritionist with experience helping patients who have diabetes. To answer your question, you do not have to give up all desserts when you have diabetes, however, it's important that you eat them as 1) small portions, and 2) in moderation. Small portions should be no larger than a deck of cards and in moderation means about once per week or less. It's also important that you monitor your blood sugar levels and make sure they are kept in good control. Desserts that are high in sugar will raise your blood sugar, so if you take insulin, you might need to take some with your dessert in order to bring your blood sugar down. You also asked about whether 2 cups of rice at a meal is okay. Your body does not make that much of a distinction between regular white rice and sugar. Both will raise your blood sugar, although rice is a complex carbohydrate, so it will not raise it as quickly. However, you are much better off eating 1 cup of brown rice at dinner or with a meal, instead of 2 cups of white rice. Brown rice is a good source of "whole grains" and it is absorbed more slowly than white rice. It will also make you feel fuller because it takes longer to digest. It is a good idea to replace most of your white breads, cereals and pasta with "whole grain" versions. These need to actually say "whole" on the package (e.g. "whole wheat bread" instead of "wheat bread). These are much better for everyone, but are especially important for people who have diabetes because they keep your appetite under control and better regulate your blood sugar.

Remember, if you have diabetes, you can eat most foods, but you have to remember to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, maintain a healthy weight, exercise 30 minutes per day, and have whole grains instead of refined grains and sugars when you can. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables daily and keeping your salt intake down are also important to maintain your weight and keep your blood pressure in check.

Good luck!