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Baylor College of Medicine News

Careful planning can help those with diabetes enjoy holiday fetes

Many of us may feel guilty if we treat ourselves a little too much during the holidays, but for those with diabetes, overindulgence can lead to a greater health concern. Dr. Alan Garber, professor of medicine in the section of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism at Baylor College of Medicine, offers diabetes management tips for the holidays.

"Holiday foods tend to be rich in carbohydrates and fats and both of these tend to increase insulin requirements," Garber said. "You should also beware of the amount of sugar in holiday treats."

Garber offers the following tips:

  • If you have a sweet tooth, look for sugar-free items at the grocery store.
  • Control your portions when eating foods that are high in fat.
  • High-fat meals independently produce insulin resistance and raise insulin requirements, so be sure sugar-free items are not high in fat.
  • At holiday parties, eat less by sampling foods or eating ahead of time to avoid temptation.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks, they stimulate your appetite and can have high sugar contents.
  • Balance any indiscretion with exercise immediately after the meal, which burns calories and reduces insulin resistance.

Garber suggests not becoming too preoccupied with your diabetes diagnosis during the holidays, but reminds that it's always important to be cautious of what you're eating.

"You need to remember that excess consumption is never good for you, diabetes or not," he said.