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Managing diabetes during the holidays

For those who have diabetes or have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, it can be tough to stick with a controlled-eating plan when there are so many delicious food choices during the holidays. It is the time of year when extra food is available at work, at holiday parties and at home as people enjoy special meals together and receive gifts of food from family and friends. As we see those around us enjoying extra treats and goodies, it’s crucial to know that diabetes does not take a holiday vacation.

So how does someone with diabetes or pre-diabetes enjoy the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?

First of all, realize that one can participate in the holidays, yet stay on their diabetes program. By following an established routine as much as possible and adding some of the pleasures of the season in moderate amounts, one can experience the joys of the season and keep their diabetes under control.

Below are some coping tips for this challenging, but enjoyable time of the year:

Continue exercising:

If you are walking 20 or 30 minutes a day five days a week, keep up your routine to burn calories from any extra food you are eating and maximize your body’s ability to lower your blood sugar. If you are busy during this time and cannot exercise your normal amount, add additional walking to your day by parking further away from the mall, walking around inside the mall or taking stairs whenever you can.

Carry snacks:

If you are running holiday errands, your normal eating schedule might be disrupted. You need to carry a snack with you when you are away from home to avoid getting low blood sugar. If you are someone who has low blood sugar and you start to experience symptoms, taking your glucose tablets is a quick way to reverse the effects and normalize your blood sugar.

Beware of the buffet:

If you attend parties where food is served buffet-style, the smart approach is to walk around the table first and see what is available rather than loading up on everything. Try to limit yourself to one plate of food and if you need more have extra vegetables or salad.

Enjoy that pie, but beware:

We now know that it is all right for people with diabetes to eat sugar, which is just a form of carbohydrate, as long as you eat small portions. A small piece of pie can be just as satisfying for taste and enjoyment as a large slice. And you can offset the effects of eating a dessert by eating less bread or other carbohydrates with the meal.

People with all stages of diabetes can partake of whatever the season offers as long as they remember that good diet and exercise are more important to them on a day-to-day basis than it is for the average person and act accordingly.

AMCR Institute is a clinical research center engaged in trials in the fields of endocrinology and metabolism, focusing on type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lipids, and men’s and women’s health issues. For information call 877.567.2627 or visit

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