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How People with Diabetes Can Still Eat Desserts

How People with Diabetes Can Still Eat Desserts

When one is diagnosed with diabetes, the first thought that many have is they must say goodbye to desserts and other sweet treats forever.  However, just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in awhile.

It is true that you must severely limit your sweet treats and, in most cases, it’s best to reserve sweets and other desserts for special occasions so you don’t miss out. However, with a little planning you can still have your favorite dessert every now and then while still managing your disease.

The Truth About Sugar

One of the biggest myths about diabetes is that it is caused by eating too much sugar.  However, sugar has absolutely nothing to do with developing type 1 diabetes and the issue is even more complicated for those that develop type 2 diabetes.

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One of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes is being overweight, but a diet that is high in calories that contribute to excessive weight gain can come from a variety of foods.  However, research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association recommends that people limit their intake of these sweet beverages.

Any type of carbohydrate can raise blood sugar levels.  However, these carbohydrates can come from multiple sources and the total amount of carbohydrates you eat affects blood sugar levels much more than simply the type.  So what does this mean for you?  Most experts today agree that diabetics can substitute small amounts of sure for other sources of carbohydrates while still keeping your blood sugar levels in check.

This doesn’t mean that you can eat sugar all the time or whenever you want.  You must carefully plan when you are going to have that sweet treat and be sure you eliminate other sources of carbohydrates on the day that you choose to have your dessert.

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How to Incorporate Desserts into a Diabetes Friendly Meal Plan

When you decide that you want to include a small dessert into your meal plan, you must carefully plan your meals for the day.  Remember, you must eliminate one or more of your carbohydrates for the day in order to be able to enjoy that sweet treat.

Some common foods that you eat that contain carbohydrates are:

  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Rice
  • Fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Juice
  • Milk
  • Cereal
  • Yogurt

On average, a person should have 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at meals.  In order to include your favorite dessert, you must eliminate some of your sources of carbohydrates.  Remember, serving sizes are important and if you have a hard time eliminating your favorite carbohydrate for the day try cutting back on how much of it you eat instead.

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Sweet Recipes Diabetics Will Love

In addition to your favorite desserts, there are many types of sweet treats you can make that are more diabetic friendly.  For example, you can create your own sherbet using buttermilk, blackberries and lime.  By mixing these ingredients together and placing it in the freezer, you can easily make a diabetic friendly dessert that is both great tasting and good for you.

If you enjoy something a little sweet at breakfast time, why not mix it up a bit with a broiled grapefruit.  Simply cut a grapefruit in half and lightly sprinkle it with brown sugar and cinnamon and broil it in your oven for five minutes.  This treat is healthy and loaded with antioxidants and won’t drive your blood sugar through the roof when you eat it.

Just because you have been diagnosed with diabetes it doesn’t mean that you have to give up sweets for the rest of your life.  You can still enjoy your favorite dessert on occasion.  However, you must plan ahead and tailor your meal plan for the day in preparation for enjoying that divine dessert.  With proper planning, you can be sure your blood sugar levels stay in a normal, healthy range while still enjoying the sweet taste of your favorite dessert.

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Featured photo credit: Table of Sweets via picjumbo.com

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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