Excessive Snacking


I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. During the day at work I eat very little, but in the evenings and weekends, I can't seem to stay out of the kitchen. Do you have any suggestions to control my snacking in the evenings and weekends?


Rather than eating your day's worth of food when you get home from work, I suggest that you eat regularly the entire day.

  1. Smaller meals. Eat every 2-3 hours. This way you are constantly supplying your body with energy when it needs it, and you also avoid overeating. When you overeat you consume so much energy that you leave your body the only choice to store it, as sugar or fat.
  2. Snacks. Bag portions into Ziploc snack bags (or any smaller plastic bag will do). Bring two-three of these with you to work. Snack on this between breakfast and lunch, or between lunch and dinner. Or eat whenever you are hungry!
  3. Water. Guzzle up. Yes it keeps you hydrated and yes it can curb your appetite, but if you keep yourself hydrated, you'll find that your brain sends fewer signals to munch on food you aren't hungry for or beverages you aren't thirsty for.
Because you are diabetic be mindful of your sugar and carbohydrate intake. On the weekends, if you practice these three things you'll notice that because you eat frequently you don't deprive your body of food. No matter how frequently you eat, listen to the cues your brain is telling you. To put it simple, eat when hungry, stop when full. You can do this!

Best of luck,


Sugar Substitutes

Here is the next question to answer for FoodPicker.org


What is the best sugar substitute to use for baking and daily use for diabetics?


When it comes to baking, those lovely powder-white granules we call sugar add much more than just an irresistibly sweet taste. I learned what sugar contributes to baked goods in one of my classes in my Dietetics program, and I was quite amazed. I think you will be too.

Volume- 1.) Sugar increases the volume of cakes/cookies by whipping air into fat during the
creaming stage.
2.) Sugar raises temperature so the gluten (protein) in the flour has more time to
stretch. This increases the volume of the baked product.

Moistness- 1.) Sugar has a tendency to retain water, so this slows down staling and increases
the shelf life of baked items.
Tenderness-1.) Sugar battles against starch for water (in the batter or dough) so it can
hydrate flour proteins. Products become soft because sugar attracts moisture.
Color--1.) Carmelization is that beautiful brown color you have in your cakes, cookies, muffins,
etc. Sugar browns the crust of baked foods.

All of these functions of sugar mentioned here are not found in sugar substitutes. So unfortunately you will be losing the tenderness, color, moistness, and volume of your baked product. Saccharin, widely known as Sweet-n-Low
®, could possibly give a bitter aftertaste. Aspartame, which is in Equal ™ loses its sweet taste when exposed to heat for a long period of time. Sucralose, which is in Splenda®, can have strong aftertastes.

These sugar substitutes are fine for other uses, but if you are specifically looking for a baked product that comes out very close to the quality of a product made with real sugar, then you may have some difficulty. If the outcome or taste of the baked good does not bother you, then experiment with different sugar substitutes. Of course, it will still not taste like real sugar.

As for daily use, it depends on what sugar substitute taste you are willing to accept. Because one substitute won't taste the same as the other in your morning coffee, it is important for you to choose which one you prefer. Being a diabetic does not mean that you have to have a sugar-free diet, but you do need to be responsible and monitor your intake. If you find that you would much rather have real sugar, in a limited amount of course, because you are diabetic, try agave nectar, honey, molasses etc. Which are natural sweeteners.

Carbohydrates essentially break down to glucose in your body, which is sugar. And this has an effect on your blood sugar level as well. So it's not just sugar that you want to monitor. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you like the taste. To eat something you do not like is not a great feeling and you may not be able to stick to it very long.

Best of luck,


Diabetes Patient That Has Hypertension

A great opportunity has come my way. I have the privilege of working as a Nutrition Editor for the website http://foodpicker.org This site is dedicated to educating you to make nutritious food choices, but it will also prove to be beneficial if you seek information on diabetes. Be sure to visit if you require the wisdom of a reliable source, particularly to make Nutrition/Diabetes decisions. I adore the fact that it is user friendly. On the left hand side you there is a list of food categories. By clicking on one of them, you are led to specific types of foods within that food category and then you can click on each one to learn more nutritional information. My favorite part is the addition of Nutrition Facts on the right hand side of the page. It pops up after you have selected your ingredient. Go to "Diabetes Q&A" if you have questions relevant to the disease. You can also ask questions by e-mailing diabetes@foodpicker.org.

Here is a recent question that was asked:

"I have type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Some one suggested I try “Original No Salt” which is Sodium-free instead of salt. Is it a safe alternative for my use?"


If you just read the last post then you know there is a connection between high blood pressure and salt consumption. This product, "Original No Salt" is essentially a salt substitute. Or, a salt alternative. This means it does not contain the mineral sodium chloride. However, can you guess what replaces it?

Potassium. Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which controls, blood pressure. Salt in high amounts increases blood pressure. Potassium is a much needed mineral because it helps balance the fluids in your body and it allows your nerves to create impulses. Think of nerve impulses as nerves who must "talk" to each other and work move a body part. When you type, thousands of your nerves "talk" to each other and are controlled by your brain to move your fingers while you are typing. Fruits and vegetables have the highest amount of potassium, but milk, whole grains, dried beans, and meat are also great sources.

Typically, Americans do not consume enough potassium but this does not imply that you never have too much potassium. Potassium intake can be toxic if the kidney's have difficulty functioning properly. If the kidneys do not function properly, potassium builds up in the blood, and this can potentially cause fatal damage. If you have kidney complications or you are on current medications, it is extremely wise to talk to your physician before using a salt-substitute to replace regular salt.

Alternatively, if your doctor permits then you can use a salt-substitute in moderation. Be sure to read the label on the salt-substitute. Labels that read "low-sodium" or "lite sodium" or "lite" still have salt in them, but a much smaller amount as compared to regular table salt. In this case, the product "Original No Salt" reads "sodium free". This means that the entire sodium content, the salt, has been swapped with potassium. Keep in mind that this is fine to have in moderation but if you completely rely on a salt-substitute for a salty flavor then you are consuming copious amounts of potassium and you are essentially putting yourself at risk.

Salt free is probably your best choice. The table salt that we consume has an essential mineral, iodine. To put this simply, iodine helps your thyroid gland to work. However, iodine depletion is unlikely because a typical North American diet has enough sodium. What I mean is that salt fortified with iodine contain the very important mineral iodine here in America. So you don't have to worry about completely depriving your body of iodine because you choose to go salt-free.

Because you have hypertension, why not simply decrease the amount of salt you consume to a minimum? If you can, cooking meals at home allows you to choose how much salt goes into your food. Lemon juice adds a fantastic tang to your food, you won't miss the salt. Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint, or dill add a fresh hit of pungent flavor minus the salt. Salt-free seasonings and spices are your best friend here. Mrs. Dash spices are dedicated to producing only salt-free herbs. If you incorporate all of these pungent spices, fresh herbs, salt-free seasoning then most likely you will not need the salt because your food is already jam packed with flavor. This is much better than using a salt-substitute that "tastes" like salt, where as here, you can use these spices, herbs, and citrus to flavor your food, and if needed add a bit of salt. It's the best of both worlds.

There are fantastic recipes out there to sneak in more fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to find recipes that are nutritious but taste so good, that you don't even think of the word "healthy". As a diabetic you are keeping your sugar levels in check by eating different fruits and vegetables. If you're not a fan of these types of food, maybe it's the recipes or how you are cooking it that isn't working for you. Go out there and search for the types of foods you love to eat, that respect your body because it is lower in salt and full of vitamins and minerals which will keep you in good health.

Best wishes,


To salt.....or not to salt?

Salt is mother nature's ultimate flavor enhancer. A dash of salt in gooey mocha brownies extracts the buttery bitterness of cocoa, a sprinkle over your morning hash intensifies the quiet flavors of bland potatoes, or maybe your attempt to replicate Mom's classic chunky meatloaf needs to be trickled with a bit of salt before you can dive in. What's my point? Well, if a cluster of the world's most prestigious and acclaimed chefs were deserted on unknown forsaken islands with one final opportunity to grab their most essential ingredients--salt will be their first choice.

Salt is a multi-faceted ingredient. It has an endless list of functions and I'm not quite sure how I could list everything it does because it is hard to convey in words. It heats, it stimulates your taste buds and salivation, but what it always does is bring out the flavor in anything you eat, although there are occasions where you may not want to use salt. Still, this is an ingredient that will make your food "pop". In case you do not know, there is not just one kind of salt. Apart from your table salt there is maldon salt, kosher salt, sea salt, smoked salt, truffle salt, vanilla salt, Japanese salt, Hawaiian salt, and etc.

So what is all this buzz about excluding salt from your everyday foods?

Too much salt contributes to hypertension. What is hypertension? High blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood against the walls of your arteries, but let me briefly go into detail so you can understand why I care about this.

Blood pressure, when written on paper is expressed by two numbers. I won't haunt you by reminding you of your dreadful days when you failed fractions as a primary student, but blood pressure numbers do look like fractions. You won't need to be doing any math here. An example of someone's blood pressure may read something like 118/75. Literally, it reads "one hundred eighteen systolic over seventy-five diastolic."

Okay, so now you must be wondering...what does systolic mean, and what does diastolic mean? The top number is called systolic because it represents the pressure in your arteries when you heart is actively pumping blood. The bottom number is called diastolic because it represents the pressure you have in your arteries when your heart is relaxed. In other words, when you're sitting down slurping your cup of java and reading the newspaper--consider this relaxed.

Now, a normal blood pressure is BELOW 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury, this is how it is measured, don't pay too much attention to this). To put this in more simple words, your top number (systolic) should be below 120 and your bottom number (diastolic) should be below 80.

If someone has hypertension, this means their numbers are constantly at 140/90 mm Hg or higher.

So now that you had that brief educational stint on blood pressure...why should you control your blood pressure?
Mainly to prevent heart disease, kidney disease, poor blood circulation in your legs, strokes, diminishing brain function, or even vision problems. I just want you to take away the fact that high blood pressure can lead to these diseases, it is NOT the sole factor in causing these diseases. There are people that have dedicated their lives to performing heavy amounts of research daily, and a lot of it shows that salt and blood pressure have one rocky marriage.

Truth be told, there is no exact explanation why salt increases your blood pressure. It isn't quite clear. I'm sure an intelligent physician could go into severe detail but it's probably best if it is explained in English, not medical jargon.

The studies that have been conducted are sufficient enough to conclude that salt DOES increase blood pressure. Apparently your genes have a role. Depending on genes, there are salt-sensitive people and non-sensitive salt people. Salt-sensitive people hold on to more salt in their body and this causes them to hold back a lot of fluid. Since these salt-sensitive people hold onto more fluid, their blood volume has to increase which ultimately means the pressure of the blood needs to increase too.

I know salt is fantastic when it comes to flavoring your food, but I never said you cannot have salt. Bland food is a sin. Just be aware of how much you add to your food. You're smart enough to keep track of that.

Commercially packaged products like canned foods, packaged bologna, and frozen dinners are where the most salt is. So, for canned foods, start rinsing with cold water to get rid of those salty canning juices. You can eliminate up to 40% of the amount of salt. Buy low-sodium frozen dinners, Lean Cuisine has a variety of tasty low-sodium options. Buy low-sodium whenever you can, so YOU can control how much salt goes into your food. Taste your food before you sprinkle salt on it. Don't become salt happy by raining your food with it unless you absolutely need a touch more to keep eating. When I started doing this, I couldn't tell the difference.

I hope you understand how salt can potentially increase blood pressure, and that you use this knowledge to add to a healthy life full of verve!

Do you feel smart?