November is National Diabetes Awareness Month
JOHANNA HICKS | Hopkins County Extension Agent/ Family and Consumer Sciences

Nov. 12, 2006 - Diabetes is a fact of life for millions. In Hopkins County alone, over 1,500 individuals have been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The good news is that people with diabetes can live long, healthy lives if they take good care of themselves - particularly by controlling blood glucose levels. There are four main areas to direct your focus: making wise food choices, attaining at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, taking diabetes medications (if prescribed), and monitoring glucose regularly.

Food and nutrition play an important part in managing diabetes, but in order to use these key tools, you must know the right kinds and amounts of food to eat each day. When we eat, our bodies break down the foods we consume to make sugar, or glucose. Foods are classified according to the major nutrients they provide - carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. People with diabetes should especially be concerned with carbohydrates, since their bodies don't metabolize starches as well. Almost 100 percent of carbohydrates convert into sugar. Approximately 55 - 60 percent of proteins, and very little fats (10 percent or less) convert to sugar.

A good starting point for a meal plan is to limit carbohydrates to about 45 grams per meal. How do you know how many carbohydrates are in foods? Read nutrition food labels if they are available. Pay close attention to serving size. If nutrition labels are not available, there are numerous publications to help you count carbs. Extension has excellent diabetes resources, including a handout listing carbohydrates in a wide variety of foods. 

Remember the "ABC's" for improving health, whether or not you have diabetes:

- Aim for fitness by reaching a healthy weight and being physically active each day.

- Build a healthy diet by eating a variety of grains (especially whole grains) and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

- Choose sensible meals that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat. Limit intake of refined sugars and salts, and drink in moderation, if at all.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so take charge of your diabetes! Contact my office - 903-885-3443 - if you need more information on diabetes. Another "Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes" series will be scheduled after the first of the year. Watch for details in future columns!


UPCOMING EVENTS

- Monday, Nov. 13: Stars of Texas 4-H Club, 6:30 p.m., Professional Ag Workers' Building; Cumby 4-H Club, 7 p.m. Cumby School Cafeteria

- Tuesday, Nov. 14: Pesticide Training, Civic Center

- Wednesday, Nov. 15: FCS Committee and volunteers meet at Ag Worker's Building, 8:30 a.m.


CLOSING THOUGHT

Let peace and prosperity be restored to this land. May God bless this people.

- Andrew Johnson, 1875

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