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Simple diet best for diabetics?

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July 2, 2003

Albany-- Diabetics have to keep close tabs on what and when they eat. There is not much room for mistakes--a little too much of the wrong thing can cause serious health problems. A new study at Emory shows cutting complex meal plans in favor of a few simple rules is best and diabetics agree.

Broiled chicken, turnip greens, potatoes--Ann Albritten's plate is full with food that's saving her life, "My glucose is under control, I'm fasting at 106 and I'm up to 145 after meals which is what I've been trying to do for 12 years."

What Ann was trying to do for 12 years as a diabetic, she was able to accomplish in about five months. What changed? Her eating habits, "Through diet and exercise. But mostly the diet here." The diet for Palmyra Hospital's Cafeteria Club is simple--low fat, low sugar choices.

Diabetes Educator Tania Earley says, "This is what we use to use, the Exchange System. Everyone gets confused with this, you have different food groups you choose from and you swap different food choices from the groups." Earley says the old Exchange System is complicated and keeping food choices simple is best, "When you ask someone to change their lifestyle the less changes the better."

Ann tried the more complex Exchange System and it didn't work. Since she's been eating with the Cafeteria Club, she knows what a healthy portion size look like, and she knows which foods to eat, "It was serious but I knew if I didn't want to die from it I would have to get control of it, and I didn't want to die so I had to get control." It's a meal that's helping to save her life.

Since she's been eating with the Cafeteria Club, Ann Albritten has been able to eliminate one of her daily insulin shots. You have to get permission from your doctor and an assessment from a dietician before you can participate in the Cafeteria Club at Palmyra Hospital. After that, a meal plan is developed.

Posted at 5:51 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com