A Type 2 diabetes diagnosis is not something to take lightly. But if you’ve received this news, Patricia Kulbeth, clinical dietitian for Memorial Hospital Outpatient Nutrition Services in Colorado Springs, is here to help.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). It’s caused by high blood glucose levels that are the result of either a lack of insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin efficiently. It most often affects middle-aged or older adults and can be linked to obesity, hypertension and high levels of fat in the blood. Treatment typically comes through lifestyle changes, oral medications, and insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that allows the body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates for energy.
Kulbeth teaches a class on diabetes prevention. The class, which is open to the public, is geared toward those who have been diagnosed as prediabetic or insulin resistant, have metabolic syndrome, or are at risk of developing diabetes, along with their caregivers, family, and friends.
In addition, she said, “the classes are helpful to nurses or other medical personnel who may not have worked much with diabetic patients in the past, but who are now.”
Kulbeth focuses on carbohydrates because they play such a crucial role in controlling the disease. Carbs are found in the naturally occurring sugars in milk, milk products (except for hard cheeses, which contain few) and fruits. They also are found in starches, from grain products such as cereals and breads to vegetables such as corn, peas and potatoes. Carbs also are found in added sugars such as table sugar and syrups.
“Use measuring cups to measure your food until you can accurately eyeball the food on your plate,” she said. “For instance, a half cup of potatoes is a serving of carbohydrates. Your measuring cups need to become your very good friends. A good friend is always there, always tells you the way it is and helps you to stay on track.”
Kulbeth stresses the importance of a diabetes meal plan, and she recommends starting with plain foods.
“It is so much easier at first to make plainer foods when you are learning how to count carbohydrates — plainer meaning not combinations of foods,” she said. “You can add all of the spices and herbs you want.”
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Once diabetics get to the point when they’re ready for combinations, Kulbeth advises heading to the ADA’s website, diabetes.org. Click on the “Food & Fitness” tab and then “Create Your Plate” in the left column.
“It’s a fantastic online resource for diabetics,” she said.
Elsewhere on the site, users can enter recipes to be evaluated for nutrients, and shopping lists can be created.
Kulbeth will offer the same class on seven dates, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The class costs $20, and the location will rotate between UCHealth Memorial Hospital North, 4050 Briargate Parkway, and UCHealth Memorial Administrative Center, 2420 E. Pikes Peak Ave. For more information, call 444-2273, option #3, or go to uchealth.org/healthlink, click on “Classes & events” and select “Diabetes” from the “All Categories” dropdown menu.