Diabetes & Holiday Foods: Cedars-Sinai Physician Offers Tips To Maintain Healthy Holiday Balance

December 15, 1998

LOS ANGELES (December 3, 1998) - Holiday celebrations offer temptation for party-goers to abandon healthy nutrition habits, but calorie-laden festivities pose a special challenge to the 16 million Americans who have diabetes. "The key to successfully navigating the holiday season," says Philip Barnett, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Comprehensive Diabetes Outpatient Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, "is to remember that even though you can take a holiday, your diabetes never does."

Diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States, is a metabolic disorder that affects the way the body uses and stores glucose, a form of sugar. During the holidays, people with diabetes should avoid an overabundance of sugary desserts and rich foods and follow a regular exercise routine, says Dr. Barnett, who leads the medical center's nationally-acclaimed diabetes outpatient program.

"People with diabetes can enjoy the wonderful foods of the holiday season--only in moderation. Regular exercise and sensible daily planning should be especially important during the next few weeks," Dr. Barnett says.

Dr. Barnett offers the following tips to help people with diabetes enjoy a healthful holiday season:

• Follow a regular exercise routine to help regulate metabolism. Don't have an hour to spare? Try 10- or 15- minute brisk walks at intervals throughout the day. Remember, after a holiday meal, to wait 60 to 90 minutes before taking your walk.

• Enjoy those special holiday foods in moderation. Pass on the everyday foods like crackers and dip. Instead, take small portions of special holiday items. A small portion is less likely to upset blood sugar levels.

• At parties and other social events, gravitate toward the veggies and fresh fruit.

• Remember to monitor your blood glucose level, and be sure you don't skip meals.

• Take extra care to be certain that your meals are nutritious, varied and balanced. If you do have a treat, make sure you substitute it for an equivalent item in your regular menu.

• Be positive. Remember that you control your diabetes; it doesn't control you.

According to Dr. Barnett, 1,700 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every day, but only two-thirds of all people with diabetes know they have the disease. Symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision from time to time, unexplained weight loss and fatigue. For more information, please call 310-855-3870.
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AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS:
Philip Barnett, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Comprehensive Diabetes Outpatient Program, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

For media information and to arrange an interview, please call 1-800-396-1002.
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Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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