Diabetes in Adults

Diabetes in Adults: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to diabetes.

Q: I know several people who have type 2 diabetes, and I’m concerned about my own risk. Should I get tested for the condition?

A: If you are over 45 years old, have a family history of diabetes, are significantly overweight, or are sedentary, you should get tested for diabetes during your regular physical. If your doctor suspects diabetes, you may need to have an oral glucose tolerance test.

Q: My nutritionist told me that one key to losing weight and controlling my blood sugar is portion size. How big should food servings be?

A: When you have diabetes, it’s important to keep track of not only what you eat, but how much. Serving sizes for the different foods in the food pyramid are listed below:One serving of fruit equals:

  • 1 medium piece of fresh fruit
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) of pure fruit juice
  • 1/2 cup of berries
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit

One serving of grain equals:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 a bagel, pita, or English muffin
  • 1 6-inch tortilla
  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta, oatmeal, or other grains
  • 1 cup cold cereal

One serving of vegetables equals:

  • 1/2 cup cooked or chopped, raw, nonleafy vegetables (green beans, broccoli, carrots, peppers, etc.)
  • 1 cup chopped, raw, leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 1 cup vegetable juice

One serving of protein equals:

  • 3 ounces lean meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
  • 1 cup tofu
  • 2 veggie burgers
  • 1 cup cooked dried beans or peas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of tuna
  • 2 slices of sandwich meat
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter

One serving of dairy equals:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk, yogurt, or frozen yogurt
  • 1/2 ounce of cheese (about the size of your thumb)

When eating packaged foods, make sure you read the food label to see how many servings the package contains.

Q: What types of exercise are best for people with diabetes?

A: Any type of exercise that is aerobic, that is, activities that work your heart and lungs, are good. These include walking, biking, swimming, aerobics, rowing, in-line skating-anything that gets the large muscles of your body working, gets your heart pumping and makes blood flow through your body. If you have been sedentary for a long time, talk to your doctor before starting to exercise, and perhaps start out with short, easy walks at first until you build yourself up.

Q: Are foods or beverages made with artificial sweeteners OK for people with diabetes?

A: Most foods and beverages made with artificial sweeteners are low in calories and are fine for people with diabetes. However, read labels to find out the fat and calorie content of the item and make sure it fits into your overall eating plan. Artificial sweeteners include:

  • Saccharin (Sugar Twin, Sweet’n Low)
  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
  • Acesulfame potassium (Sweet One)

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