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WISE NOTES FOR CONSUMERS

Cooking Well with Diabetes

By Tanya Davis | Published Thursday, August 19, 2010

For people with diabetes, maintaining healthy blood glucose levels is a matter of life and death. One way for people to better control their glucose levels is to eat healthful meals and snacks at regular times each day.

To help local residents learn how to plan and prepare meals that can be enjoyed by people with and without diabetes, Texas AgriLife Extension is planning a four-part series of cooking classes called Cooking Well with Diabetes. The classes will be 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, Sept. 8 through Sept. 29. Cost for the four-week series is $20 per person or $30 per couple. Space is limited, so pre-registration is a must. The Extension office is at 206 S. State Street in Decatur.

The series will include cooking demonstrations and discussions of research findings on diabetes. For instance, recent research has shown that people with diabetes can enjoy a wide range of foods including sugars, in moderation. Years ago, the term “sugar diabetes” was in common usage because it was thought that eating too much sugar caused diabetes. Research has shown that moderate consumption of sugars and fats can still be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes, as long as they keep their blood glucose at healthy levels.

Carbohydrates are found in grains, pasta, cereals, dairy products and vegetables, particularly starchy vegetables such as beans, corn, peas, potatoes and winter squash. Protein foods such as meat, fish and poultry do not contain carbohydrates, unless other ingredients such as breading are added to those dishes. Many carbohydrate foods also contain fiber, which can help reduce blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Carbohydrate foods that contain high levels of dietary fiber include whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Because the body quickly absorbs the glucose from sugary and high-starch foods, eating large amounts of them can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Instead of abstaining from sugars and starches altogether, they should consume a balance of different kinds of carbohydrates, such as more whole grains, non-starchy vegetables and whole fruits, and less starchy and sugary foods.

To reserve your spot for the Cooking Well with Diabetes series, call the Wise County Extension office at (940) 627-3341.

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