Sugar Matters
December 18, 2012

Holiday season: our best and worst times

Christmas is right around the corner; can you believe it? Where did 2012 go?{{more}}

As always, we look forward to this busy, fun time of year, filled with family time and celebration for, hopefully, all of us. A large part of that surrounds food.

A few months ago one of our hospital magazine writers asked me if there was any advice I could offer to our readers during celebration/holiday times, what would it be? I said to her: “be kind to your guests and do not force them to eat extra food.” This probably sounds like sacrilege to all of you who spend time cooking to prepare a magnificent meal, and encouraging second portions is part of our culture! By all means, offer seconds to your guests. BUT pause when you know that your guest has diabetes, because what you are doing, instead of being a good host/hostess, is making it easier for your guest to ignore his/her diet. Now I am not saying you should swoop down on them and say, “You, NO MORE FOOD FOR YOU!!! DROP THAT FORK!!!” Of course that is not necessary (and embarrasses everyone!). What I am suggesting is that you think before offering more helpings of starches to your family and friends who are trying hard to keep their diabetes in control, and please do NOT try forcing them to have seconds by any means. Yes, you would feel great seeing everyone inhale your black cake and say how wonderful it is, but it does not help your guests in terms of blood sugars or weight control.

The other side of this is being a guest, of course. All individuals with diabetes find holiday seasons the most difficult of the year. There is food everywhere, much of it rich and sweet; people keep expecting you to eat when you visit, and drink, of course. Routinely, every year between November and New Year’s marks the time when most of my patients gain weight and see their blood sugars get higher. It is indeed a tough time to be disciplined, but please try! Don’t throw your hands up and say “well, this is holiday season, I can get back on track in January.” Every extra five pounds you gain is an extra five pounds to lose, remember that. Use whatever tricks you can to avoid overeating when you go out, and when cooking in your own kitchens: eat a small healthy snack before going out; have healthy snacking foods around, so you grab that instead of another piece of bread pudding; be sure to keep up your exercise routine as much as possible.

I know, every year I do this to you, bring out the cautions about holiday eating and spoil it for everyone, right? WRONG! This should not spoil it for you, if you are being careful. I am not saying you need to eat salad alone through the holidays. All I am asking is for you to be vigilant about keeping yourself healthy (so moderation is key), and as a host, being sure to make decisions easy for your guests who are trying so hard to be good.

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas season, and ring in the New Year with a smile. Stay safe and healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD

Medical Director Endocrine Care Group

Tel: 843-798-4227