Nutrition Corner: Take time to understand how sweets affect diabetes

October 29th, 2015 11:22 am

I often get asked the question, “Do I need to give up desserts because I was just diagnosed with diabetes?” This is a hard question to answer because I do not know the amount of knowledge that the person asking the question has about food or diabetes.

So, I usually tell that person it’s important to test your blood glucose level often and work towards your doctor’s recommended A1C level. Then, I tell them it’s important to eat a well-balanced meal. Include non-starchy vegetables, fruit, protein, and low fat dairy. If you occasionally chose to eat a cookie or dessert, check the carbohydrate for the portion size. Remember, it’s important to decrease the carbohydrates in the meal to balance the additional carbs from the cookie or dessert.

Desserts come in all sizes and types. Cookies can be commercially prepared or homemade. Cakes can be iced or can be made with fruit such as pumpkin or apples. Ice cream can be full fat or low fat. People who have diabetes and test their blood glucose often know which foods raise their blood glucose faster. Some cookies have more sugar than others. Iced cakes have more sugar than those that are not iced.

It’s important to first count all carbohydrates by reading the food and recipe label. Most folks with diabetes know how many grams of carbohydrates they should be eating in a day. If you don’t, call your doctor and ask for a referral to a registered dietitian or diabetes educator.

Choose healthful sweet choices that include whole grains, fruits and protein. For some people, over time, the desired level of sweetness may decrease and the desire for more healthful desserts may increase.

Here is a dessert recipe that contains whole grains. Enjoy it with a glass of skim milk or walnuts for added protein. Remember to count the carbohydrates from both the dessert as well as the milk.

Banana oatmeal cookies

2 1/2 cups flour (white whole wheat or 2 cups of white flour and 2 ½ cup whole wheat)

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup canola oil

1 egg, beaten

1 cup mashed banana

1 3/4 cups quick cooking oatmeal

1 cup raisins (optional)

Mix flour(s), sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix in canola oil until finely crumbled. Stir in egg, banana, oatmeal and raisins all at once into flour mixture. Beat well. Drop dough from a teaspoon onto a non-fat cooking sprayed baking pan. Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until browned. Makes 48 cookies.

Per cookie, 80 calories, 3 gram fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 14 gram carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram protein.

Nutrition Corner Mary R. Ehret Corner Mary R. Ehret

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at