Diabetes: It's Personal

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Dietary supplements are worth questioning

by Jen Ropp MS RD CDE Diabetes Educator/Dietitian Rockwood Clinic


Posted on July 1, 2010 at 1:45 PM


It is common for patients to come see me with a bag chalk full of dietary supplements. People with diabetes are targeted with products that claim to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and cause weight loss. It is important to question how valid these claims are. Many individual components are not thought to be as effective as when they are in the whole food form. Keep in mind, the supplement industry is not regulated by any government agency. It is up to the individual companies to practice good business practices and regulate their own products for content and efficacy. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It is also recommended to discuss any dietary supplement with your medical provider before starting it. Some supplements can interfere with certain medications and have side effects if not taken with caution. It is also important to check the amounts provided in supplements as you should not consume more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of these items unless a deficiency has been identified. Like anything, research a supplement well before you spend your hard earned money!   
The best way to make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals on a daily basis is to eat foods that are nutrient-dense. Nutrient-dense foods have a lot of nutrients relative to the number of calories they contain. Some examples of these foods are:
Chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach
Bell peppers
Brussels sprouts
Mushrooms (crimini and shiitake)
Baked potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, strawberries
Low-fat yogurt
Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower)
Dried beans (garbanzo, kidney, navy, pinto)
Lentils, peas
Almonds, cashews, peanuts
Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
Salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna
Lean beef, lamb, venison
Chicken, turkey
Getting a variety of these foods in your diet will help ensure that you are not lacking in any essential nutrient. Experiment with ingredients you are not necessarily familiar with. I love a good kale salad!
Kale Salad Recipe
2 bunches kale, washed, dried and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium apple, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 whole, ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
Wash, de-stem and chop kale; place in large bowl. Add lemon juice and avocado, and with your hands mix together until the avocado is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.
Per Serving: 190 Calories; 15g Fat (66.6% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 127mg Sodium.