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The Right Number Of Calories

Consume the right number of calories to help you reach and maintain an optimum body weight. The number of calories you need depends on your size, age, and activity level.

Eating too many calories causes weight gain, which will worsen diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease risks. Your body makes and/or uses insulin best when you are at your optimum weight.

On the other hand, eating too few calories causes a different problem for special classes of persons :

  • Children and teens with diabetes must eat enough calories to grow properly.
  • Pregnant and nursing women must eat enough calories to provide for proper development of their babies.

Exercise is very important, too. It is helpful in weight loss, and it is also good for your heart and blood vessels.

You can increase your activity level by walking, biking, or just taking the stairs instead of an elevator. If you wish to begin an exercise training program, check with your health-care providers first.

A balance diet is important

It is important to eat a variety of foods each day. Your body works best if you eat a balanced diet that includes the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

  • Carbohydrate is the major source of energy.
  • Protein builds muscle and tissue and provides some energy.
  • Fat is the storage form of energy.

Most foods contain a mixture of these :

  • Carbohydrate, which has 4.1 calories per gram of weight, is found in starches, bread, fruit, vegetables, and milk.
  • Protein has 5.7 calories per gram of weight. Protein is found in meat and milk, and small amounts of it are found in starches, bread, and vegetables.
  • Fat is higher in calories, with 9.3 calories per gram of weight. Fat is found in meat, dairy products, oils, and nuts.
Some principles of good nutrition
  • Eat less fat. The average adult eats too much fat. Too much fat may cause heart and blood-vessel disease.
  • Eat fish, poultry, and other lean meats.
  • Watch your portion sizes with all meals; it's easy to eat too much.
  • Eat fewer high-fat foods, such as cold cuts, bacon, gravy, salad dressing, margarine, and solid shortening.
  • Drink skim or low-fat milk and eat less ice cream, butter, and cheese.
  • Eat more carbohydrates (starches and breads), especially those high in fiber. Carbohydrate foods are a good source of energy, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber in foods may help to lower blood-glucose and blood-fat levels. Persons should increase the amount of carbohydrate and fiber they eat. This can be done by eating more dried beans, peas, and lentils; more whole-grain breads, cereals, and crackers; and more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat less sugar. All people, not just those with diabetes, should eat less sugar. Sugar has lots of calories and no vitamins or minerals. Foods high in sugar include desserts (for example, frosted cake and pie), sugary breakfast foods, table sugar, honey, and syrup. One 12-ounce can of a regular soft drink has nine teaspoons of sugar!
  • Use less salt. Most of us eat too much salt. The sodium in salt can cause the body to retain water and in some people it may raise blood pressure. Try to use less salt in cooking and at the table.
  • Use alcohol in moderation. It is best to avoid alcohol altogether, but if you like to have an alcoholic drink now and then, ask your dietician how to work it into your meal plan. If you take insulin, it is important to eat food with your drink.

11/27/02


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