Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

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June/July 2007

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Have you been frequently experiencing heartburn, nausea, or unintentional weight loss? If so, you may suffer from a condition called gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is also known as delayed gastric emptying, and is most often caused by diabetes.

Symptoms of gastroparesis can include:

  • feeling full early in your meal
  • vomiting undigested food
  • abdominal bloating or cramping
  • gastroesophageal reflux

It’s important to talk to your doctor about these symptoms. Gastroparesis can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels.  The slow movement of food from your stomach into your intestine can cause rises in blood glucose levels. 

Nerve damage can occur if your blood glucose levels are high for a long period of time. Damage to the vagus nerve, which controls digestion, can impair stomach and intestinal muscles and cause the movement of food through the digestive tract to slow down or even stop. 

Gastroparesis can be treated with medications, but there are also changes you can make in your eating habits to help control your symptoms.  It may be helpful to eat small frequent meals during the day, rather than 3 larger meals. You may also want to avoid high-fat foods, which can slow digestion, and high-fiber foods that are difficult to digest.

Gastroparesis is usually a chronic condition. However, with the help of your doctor and dietitian you can learn to live as comfortable as possible and keep your blood glucose level under control.

Diabetes and Food

Summertime is here. Time for outdoor picnics, barbeques, weddings, and parties!  Food is always important at these gatherings.  The choices we make can greatly influence our blood sugar, weight, and overall health.  Make the most of these special summertime occasions by socializing and playing games with family and friends.  Of course, eating with family and friends is all part of the atmosphere, but don’t focus on the food table as the main event. 

When grilling: choose lean cuts of fresh meat instead of processed products like hotdogs and brats which are higher in sodium and fat.  A skinless chicken breast or a 4-5 oz. steak marinated in a little olive oil, lemon, vinegar, and spices are healthier options.  You can also skewer your meat with fresh garden vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, and squash.

Grilled chicken breast: 143 calories, 18% calories from fat, 27g protein, 0g carbohydrate, 74mg cholesterol, 64mg sodium

5 oz. beef steak: 304 calories, 47% calories from fat, 37g protein, 0g carbohydrate, 98mg cholesterol, 98mg sodium

Hotdog: 182 calories, 84% calories from fat, 6g protein, 1g carbohydrate, 29mg cholesterol, 638mg sodium

2 oz. bratwurst: 190 calories, 80% calories from fat, 8g protein, 1g carbohydrate, 34mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium

Exercise as a Part of Living

Summer is a great time to be outdoors and physically active.  Activity does not have to be intense to count as physical activity, and certainly some activity is better than none.  Walking, light cycling, and playing with a child all count as physical activity.  At least 30 minutes of physical activity daily is recommended to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. 

Exercise can also help those with diabetes lose weight and decrease insulin resistance, thereby improving blood glucose control.  When the muscles are contracted (i.e. during exercise) glucose is allowed to enter the cells independent of insulin because glucose transporter activity is increased.  Remember to always talk to a doctor before initiating any intense exercise plan.

Recipes To Try

Cinnamon Lime Chicken
4 servings

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (3 ounces each)
1/2 medium white onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt                                                 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon                                  
2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                       
Juice from 3 limes

 Heat oven to 400° F

  1. Combine salt and cinnamon.  Rub mixture into chicken breasts.
  2. Place chicken on baking sheet and cook in the oven approximately 15-20 minutes until tender. Remove chicken from oven and let cool.
  3. While chicken is cooling, mince onion and garlic. Sauté in frying pan.
  4. Cut cooled chicken into thin strips. Place chicken in pan with onion and garlic.  Add lime juice. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until hot.  Serve alone or in corn tortillas.

Per serving (without tortillas):
Calories:198                                
Fat: 6.6 grams
Protein: 28 grams
Calories from fat: 32%
Carbohydrate: 8 grams                          
Cholesterol: 74 grams
Fiber: 2 gram
Sodium: 648 mg

Easy Apple Dessert
8  1/2-cup servings

4 cups peeled, sliced apples                             
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water                                                   
1/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup flour                                                    
1 cup Cool Whip Free® 
1/3 cup Splenda
Non-fat cooking spray

  1.  Heat oven to 350°.  Spray 1-1/2 quart baking dish with non-fat cooking spray.

  2. Add apples and water to baking dish. 

  3. Mix flour, Splenda, cinnamon.  Work margarine into mixture until well blended.

  4. Fold flour mixture into apples and water, coating apples. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

  5. Top with 2 tablespoons fat free cool whip.

Per serving:
Calories:145                                
Fat: 6 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Calories from fat: 37%
Carbohydrate: 22 grams                        
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Sodium: 73 mg

Medication Update

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety alert for Avandia (rosiglitazone) based on recently reported findings in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study combined results from many smaller studies and found the risk of heart attack to be greater in those people who were taking Avandia. 

The FDA warned that people taking the medication who had a history of heart disease or who were at risk for heart disease should talk to their doctors about other treatment options.

Earlier this year the company that makes Avandia warned consumers that taking the drug may increase the likelihood of bone fractures.

However, the FDA has not asked the company to take the drug off the market.  Instead, it is looking into other studies about Avandia.  For more information from the FDA, visit their website www.fda.gov

News & Resources

Diabetes Care Series (paperbacks) by International Diabetes Center answers questions, dispels myths, and teaches about diabetes, diet and possible complications. Series of books includes:

Carbohydrate Counting (2005), Gestational Diabetes (2005), Heart Health and Diabetes (2005), Blood Glucose Patterns (2003), Emotional Health and Diabetes (2007), Pregnancy Planning and Care (2007), Sick Days, Travel, and Other Disruptions (2006),
Type 2 Diabetes: The First Step (2006), Type 1 Diabetes: The First Step (2006).

Visit www.parknicollet.com/healthinnovations

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes, An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed (audio book) by Gretchen Becker.  Published on tape 2006.  Available through amazon.com or local bookstores.

About Diabetes | Food & Diabetes | Medications & Diabetes | Current Issue | Archive | En Español

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