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Managing your diabetes this festive season

Anika Richards

Tuesday, December 24, 2013    

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FIFTY-SIX-YEAR-OLD Norma Harvey-Cotterrell was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in 1992. Since then, she has been doing a good job of monitoring her condition.

Every year, around the Christmas season — especially since there is an abundance of dishes with all the sugars and tantalising tastes — it gets a little more difficult for her to watch what she eats and to keep her blood sugar levels in check.

Diabetes has two types, 1 and 2, and is a chronic condition in which an individual has high blood glucose or blood sugar, either because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin or fail to produce enough.

Harvey-Cotterrell says this year the temptation is real, and she will indulge, but just a little.

"I am going to try not to eat too much sweets and try my best not to indulge too much while monitoring the quantity of what I consume," she told the Jamaica Observer.

Like Harvey-Cotterrell, people living with diabetes will undoubtedly face some amount of temptation this festive season. Many will want to whet their appetite as they may have been craving ham or turkey all year, complete with fruitcake and alcohol.

Nutritionist at the Clarendon Health Department Debbie Ottey Golding told the Observer that, although persons are tempted to indulge, they should remember that moderation is key.

"It is important for people living with diabetes to be mindful of the timing of their meals as this is imperative in diabetes management," said Ottey Golding.

She advised people living with the illness to enjoy the Christmas season and the food that comes with it, while being mindful of their carbohydrate and sugar intake.

Ottey Golding said they may monitor their intake by eating smaller portions. She also said using smaller plates will help to curtail the portions consumed, managing the temptation to overeat.

The nutritionist said that people living with diabetes should also reduce their fat and sodium intake. Instead of having fried food for the festive season, choose foods that are baked, boiled or stewed, removing the skin and fat where possible. People living with the condition should also be mindful of their alcohol consumption.

So if you must indulge this holiday season, do it in moderation and with your condition in mind.

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