I learned of harissa paste a few years ago while browsing one of my favorite recipe websites, Smitten Kitchen, by Deb Perlman. She describes harissa as a Northwest African chile pepper paste with red peppers, spices, and herbs such as garlic, coriander, caraway. This condiment is used everywhere from Tunisia and Libya to Algeria and Morocco, which means you’re bound to find many versions and uses for the pastes.  I love spicy condiments and was honestly getting a little tired… Continue reading »

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), you can calculate the amount of carbs you need by first figuring out what percentage of your diet should be made up of carbohydrates. (The NIDDK notes that experts generally recommend this number be somewhere between 45 and 65 percent of your total calories, but people with diabetes are almost always recommended to stay lower than this range.) Multiply that percentage by your calorie target. For example, if you’re aiming to get 50 percent of your calories from carbs and you eat 2,000 calories a day, you’re aiming for about 1,000 calories of carbs. Because the NIDDK says 1 gram (g) of carbohydrates provides 4 calories, you can divide the calories of carbs number by 4 to get your daily target for grams of carbs, which comes out to 250 g in this example. For a more personalized daily carbohydrate goal, it’s best to work with a certified diabetes educator or a registered dietitian to determine a goal that is best for you.
In contrast, white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes, donuts, bagels, and many breakfast cereals have what’s called a high glycemic index and glycemic load. That means they cause sustained spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, which in turn may lead to increased diabetes risk. (22) In China, for example, where white rice is a staple, the Shanghai Women’s Health Study found that women whose diets had the highest glycemic index had a 21 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to women whose diets had the lowest glycemic index. (23) Similar findings were reported in the Black Women’s Health Study. (24)
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, pay special attention.  Research on newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics coming to the Pritikin Longevity Center illustrate how profoundly beneficial early intervention can be.  Scientists from UCLA followed 243 people in the early stages of diabetes (not yet on medications).  Within three weeks of coming to Pritikin, their fasting blood sugar (glucose) plummeted on average from 160 to 124.  Research has also found that the Pritikin Program reduces fasting insulin by 25 to 40%.
Getting to—and staying at—a healthy weight: Being overweight (BMI greater than 25 kg/m2) increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so if you’re overweight, you should take steps to lose weight. By losing 5% to 10% of your body weight, you can reduce your risk. You can do this by eating smaller portions and being more physically active, which, conveniently enough, are two other ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.

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Not necessarily. If you can lose weight, change your diet, increase your activity level, or change your medications you may be able to reduce or stop insulin therapy. Under certain circumstances, you may only need insulin temporarily – such as during pregnancy, acute illness, after surgery or when treated with drugs that increase their body’s resistance to the action of insulin (such as prednisone or steroids). Often the insulin therapy can be stopped after the event or stress is over.
Chong points to previous research in Circulation that describes the underlying mechanisms of sleep apnea. In people with sleep apnea, activation of the sympathetic nervous system — including increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and constriction of blood vessels — all led to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, which can be compounded in people who have type 2 diabetes (and thus already have a higher risk of heart disease).

Eat every two to three hours. Spreading your energy needs throughout the day allows for healthier choices to be made and your blood sugar to stabilize. Work towards achieving a healthy meal pattern of breakfast (the first meal), followed by a small snack, then lunch (mid-day meal), another snack, dinner (last-meal of the day) and sometimes a small end of the day snack.
It’s like packing your clothes into a suitcase. At first, the clothes go without any trouble. After a certain point, though, it is just impossible to jam in those last 2 T-shirts. You can’t close the suitcase. The luggage is now ‘resistant’ to the clothes. It’s waaayyy harder to put those last 2 T-shirts than the first 2. It’s the same overflow phenomenon. The cell is filled to bursting with glucose, so trying to force more in is difficult and requires much higher doses of insulin.
A good way to make sure you get all the nutrients you need during meals is to use the plate method. This is a visual food guide that helps you choose the best types and right amounts of food to eat. It encourages larger portions of non-starchy vegetables (half the plate) and moderate portions of protein (one quarter of the plate) and starch (one quarter of the plate). You can find more information about the plate method at the American Diabetes Association website: www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/create-your-plate/.

For this method, you will need to learn what foods have carbohydrate in them, what information to look for on a food label, and how to approximate a serving of carbohydrate when a food label is not available. Once you become familiar with these, you will be able to easily track your carbs to make sure you're not consuming too much. You may want to keep a log throughout the day.


Activity – so important to keep busy – mentally as well as physically. Find an activity that you really WANT to do. I like to garden and now that I am tracking my activity, I find it gives me an excuse to go out and putter. Since I enjoy it and accomplish something good, it satisfies me. I have discovered that with some practice I can read while walking on the treadmill. If the book engrosses my mind, I will walk much longer than if I am just watching the timer.

Your care team may recommend that you use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A CGM is a wearable device that can measure blood sugar every few minutes around the clock. It's measured by a thread-like sensor inserted under the skin and secured in place. The more frequent CGM blood sugar readings can help you and the care team do an even better job of troubleshooting and adjusting your insulin doses and diabetes management plan to improve blood sugar control.
According to American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations, it may be appropriate for people with type 2 diabetes whose A1Cs are close to target to manage diabetes with lifestyle changes alone for three to six months—provided their doctor deems them "highly motivated." If that doesn't work, metformin is typically the first in a long list of type 2 blood glucose–lowering medications to add to the diet and exercise plan. 

One serving in a category is called a "choice." A food choice has about the same amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories — and the same effect on your blood glucose — as a serving of every other food in that same category. So, for example, you could choose to eat half of a large ear of corn or 1/3 cup of cooked pasta for one starch choice.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to a number of complications such as kidney, nerve, and eye damage, as well as cardiovascular disease. It also means cells are not receiving the glucose they need for healthy functioning. A calculation called a HOMA Score (Homeostatic Model Assessment) can tell doctors the relative proportion of these factors for an individual with type 2 diabetes. Good glycemic control (that is, keeping sugar/carbohydrate intake low so blood sugar isn't high) can prevent long-term complications of type 2 diabetes. A diet for people with type 2 diabetes also is referred to as a diabetic diet for type 2 diabetes and medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for people with diabetes.
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