Sugar Matters
May 7, 2010
“Maybe I jus likrish”. Food portions reviewed

Story time: during one of our visits last month, we had the privilege of seeing a woman who walked into clinic with a blood sugar 0f 398 mg/dL. Yes, you read it right, 398. Her blood pressure was also high, but that is a story for another day. She answered all of our questions:{{more}}

Me: Do you feel okay?
Her: Yes, I do.
Me: Did you take your medications this morning?
Her: Yes, I did.
Me: All of them, including the pressure pills and sugar pills?
Her: Well, I took some of them but not all.
Me: What did you eat before you came to clinic?
(She smiled and looked away)
Me: Yes? What did you eat?
Her: Well, I had some bread and tea.
Me: How much bread and what kind of tea?
Her: About 4 penny bread and a big cup of cocoa tea.(Then she paused, thinking). I think maybe I jus likrish?!

Needless to say, I agreed. That was TOO MUCH BREAD at breakfast!!! So for all of you out there still eating big portions and wondering how much you should be eating, this week is for you. The simplest way to get this right is by using what is called the “plate method.” This method uses three main foods: non-starchy vegetables (so leave corn out of this category), starches and lean proteins:

1. Vegetables. Fill half your plate with approximately 1 cup or more non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic, green beans, carrots, cauliflower and tomatoes. An easy way to meet this requirement is to eat a small salad along with your side vegetable.

2. Carbohydrates. One quarter of the plate. When done properly, your plate should provide approximately 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are all types of starches: grains, legumes (beans/peas), fruits, starchy vegetables, and dairy. Try to stay with those whole grains and dark wheat breads and avoid simple starches like white rice and bread. Yes, penny bread is a simple starch…

3. Lean Protein. One quarter of the plate. The protein section should provide about 3 ounces of meat, poultry, fish, nuts/seeds, or meat replacements (like tofu). The serving should around the same size as a deck of cards. Other high protein foods which are the equivalent to 3 ounces cooked lean meat include:

1 to 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, _ cup nuts, and 2 ounces cheese.

You can draw lines on the plate to help you out visually because this can get tough, especially on those days when you are hungry and want to fill the plate with yam and sweet potato. This plate method only works if the food is separate, however. So things like roti and mixed pasta like lasagna are tougher. For those I suggest the 1/3-2/3 method: fill your plate/bowl as usual then PUT BACK about one third of the food, even if it means cutting a roti. We found this all over the island-people are eating too much! And when you have diabetes, that is really a big deal, so please do your best not to over eat, and in particular with carbohydrates/starches.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227