One in 10 U.S. adults has diabetes, a condition that does not allow the body to transform food into energy. Although records of the disease go back 2,000 years and diabetes can often be prevented, it continues to grow. This is why the American Diabetes Association is asking consumers to take action this month and be informed about the disease and prevention. Simple steps like learning about nutrition can help prevent or improve the condition, say ADA experts. Understanding nutrition labels and looking for new products is one important step.
“Today more than ever, food manufacturers are researching and creating new products that are in line with meeting the needs of their consumers,” says Ramin Ghaffari, vice president research & development for Wells, the largest family-owned and operated ice cream manufacturer in the country. “One trend that consumers are demanding is product offerings that provide low-sugar, low-carb alternatives to their favorite brands.”
Consuming sugar and carbohydrates increases the levels of insulin – the hormone responsible for converting food into energy – and fluctuating insulin levels make people snack more. Choosing the right products can provide consistent energy throughout the day and prevent overeating.
“Read product labels and pick treats that combine the desired taste with a good nutritional profile,” Ghaffari says. “Many brands can help you indulge in a smart way: Blue Bunny Ice Cream, for example, won the Diabetic Living Seal of Approval for its Premium Light Vanilla and No Sugar Added Reduced Fat Chocolate ice cream varieties. These products provide an option not only for those managing a restricted diet but also for anyone who is looking for options that are a healthier alternative to full fat ice cream.”
Learning to choose snacks like light ice cream, low-fat cheese and dark chocolate are simple but important steps. Below are a few additional ADA tips that can help you start making changes during American Diabetes Month:
- Watch saturated fats: These fats are usually solid at room temperature and are found in animal fats, dairy, coconut and palm oils, and hydrogenated vegetable fats such as vegetable shortening. In most cases, lowering saturated fat contents will reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- Eat often: Eating four to five small meals during the day decreases blood glucose and cholesterol levels. These benefits stem from the continuous absorption of food. Also, eating several small meals a day may decrease your hunger and reduce the number of calories you eat.
- Note folic acid: Folic acid, or folate, is a B vitamin found in green, leafy vegetables. It plays an important role in several chemical processes in the body and helps prevent heart disease.
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