Diabetes Awareness Month: Enjoy the Thanksgiving feast in a healthy way

(Johnny/Flickr Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)
(Johnny/Flickr Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

¬†INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Anyone watching what they eat, might be dreading the temptation of a Thanksgiving feast this week. Especially those with dietary restrictions, like those diagnosed with diabetes.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so doctors say prepare and prioritize when making your Thanksgiving dinner choices.

Don’t grab too big of a plate. Eight inches is appropriate. Fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables, but watch out for hidden calories like the creamy soup in green bean casserole. Fill the other half of your plate evenly with protein, like turkey or ham, and grains or starchy foods.

As many as one-third of adult Americans have pre-diabetes and don’t realize it. Doctors say you may feel just fine, but only a test can determine if you need insulin or other therapy.

“People who have very high sugars, can wind up with access thirst, because they’re peeing a lot, because the high glucose simply makes them pee a lot. That can come with weight loss. Overall though people are relatively asymptomatic, even with what would be clearly diagnostic levels of high sugar,” IU Health endocrinologist Kieren Mather said.

Dr. Mather said it’s important not to characterize those with diabetes. Type 1 is often diagnosed during childhood and is a predisposed insulin-dependent disease. Type 2 diabetes is categorized as insulin-resistant and often occurs during adulthood with or without weight gain. Many are diagnosed with diabetes without taking part in necessarily unhealthy eating.

“There are lots of people who gain weight and never do get diabetes and conversely there are people who get type 2 diabetes who never did gain weight. Their system was prone to the imbalance and didn’t require that they gain weight as part of that. It should not be a stigma, that it is something that people deserve or did to themselves in some way. It’s a disease and diseases happen,” Dr. Mather said.

Dr. Mather said dessert is not something people should be having everyday, but Thanksgiving might be one special occasions to let yourself have a small piece of pie.