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Managing Diabetes: Other Dietary Changes

  Sugar substitutes

Sugar substitutes are available in your supermarket. These substitutes, also called artificial sweeteners, can be used to sweeten your food without affecting your blood glucose levels. As a bonus, they contain few calories or none. Most sweeteners can be used in baking and cooking. Check with your dietitian to find out which sugar substitute is best for you.

Shake the salt habit
Your diabetes care team may recommend a low salt or no-added salt diet to help keep blood pressure under control. Check the amount of sodium in foods, and choose products low in salt.

The American Heart Association suggests that healthy adults should reduce their sodium intake to no more than 2300 milligrams per day (about 1 teaspoon). You get plenty of salt in your daily food without adding more. Use plenty of herbs and spices to flavor your foods. If you adore salt but need to cut back, there are many salt substitutes on the market. Ask your dietitian which one is best for you.

Alcohol can be used in moderation by people with diabetes who have good glucose control, and no specific reason to avoid it. Keep in mind that alcohol contains calories and has no nutritional value. Also, alcohol can affect alertness and mental acuity. This can reduce some people's ability to follow self-care procedures.

Alcohol can also raise or lower your blood sugar depending on when you consume it. If you do drink alcohol, it's best to take it with food. Check with your doctor about how much alcohol you can safely consume.

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