According to the CDC, there are 30 million children and adults in the United States that have diabetes and another 86 million are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when the body does not utilize insulin properly and this can cause glucose levels to rise in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is less common but requires an individual to administer insulin because the body does not make sufficient amounts. Regardless of the type, individuals with diabetes need to manage their blood glucose (sugar).
If you haven’t had a physical exam with blood work done recently, I would encourage you to take that first step. If you are at risk for diabetes and need treatment, there are many options available today to help manage diabetes and reduce the risk of complications.
Since being overweight is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, your healthcare providers are likely to discuss body weight with you. While the prescription to lose weight may not be as easy as a prescription for a medication, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can treat and reverse type 2 diabetes. In fact, many people manage their diabetes or high blood pressure by eating a healthy diet and including physical activity in their daily routine. As a Registered Dietitian, my goal is to make sure consumers know they have options and the use of artificial sweeteners can be helpful when trying to reduce overall calorie intake. I believe that artificial sweeteners are not only safe, but can also help satisfy cravings making it easier to lose weight and reduce your risk of kidney disease.
While you should be concerned about preventing or managing kidney disease, you should not be concerned with rumors suggesting that consuming diet soda causes kidney damage. If diabetes is left untreated, the disease can cause serious complications like kidney and heart disease and even lead to death. Individuals with diabetes need to maintain healthy blood glucose (sugar) levels which often means modifying the timing and amounts of the carbohydrates a person consumes. Low-calorie sweeteners, including those in diet beverages, have been proven to be safe and effective and can satisfy the sweet taste without calories or carbohydrates. In fact, studies have shown individuals that successfully lost weight and maintain the weight loss use no calorie sweetened beverages to help them with their goals.
Lifestyle tips and recipes offer guidance on anything from baked goods and beverages to habits to help you stay on track. If you prefer podcasts, Living Well with Diabetes, Diabetes Every Day, and A Hopeful Store are a few podcasts that you may enjoy.
Amber Pankonin MS, RD, CSP, LMNT is a registered dietitian and licensed medical nutrition therapist based in Lincoln, NE. She works as a nutrition communications consultant, freelance writer, food photographer, and adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Amber shares her love for food and nutrition at Stirlist.com, an award-winning website, focusing on healthy, easy recipes for the busy cook. Amber serves on several boards including the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group, and also cofounded a group to motivate female entrepreneurs in her town. You can follow her on Twitter @RDamber, Instagram, Pinterest, or connect with her on Facebook.