Many of us have too much on our plate these days, literally. And portion size can be an important consideration for someone with diabetes. In fact, Canadian researchers have found that special diet plates were an effective tool in helping type-2 diabetics control their weight.
In this week's Dealing with Diabetes report, a local man tells us how well his new diet plate is working out.
Las Vegas businessman, Charlie Cherry is using a diet plate to keep close tabs on portion size. As a type-2 diabetic, what he eats and how much can have a dramatic effect on his health.
"My blood sugar gets completely out of control. My blood sugar will get into the 2 and 300's -- just like that, if I don't control it," he said.
Diet-plates now come in different styles and have measured or sectioned areas for the various food types. Carbohydrates include vegetables, fruit, grains, and dairy. There are also sections for protein and fat.
Cherry has been using the plate for several weeks now and says that so far, it's effective but not always practical. "You can't always use it. If you're eating out or we had a bunch of guests at the house and I didn't feel like having my "special" plate. So we had the same plate that everybody else had."
Darlene Allen thinks the plates are a great idea. As a diabetes educator for Valley Hospital, she helps diabetics find ways to better understand how much is too much, especially when it comes to carbohydrates.
"It's the carbohydrate that's going to digest down into blood sugar. And so what you put in your mouth directly relates to what your blood sugar is going to be after you've eaten that meal," said Allen. "So having that plate gives you portions of the right amount of carbohydrate and also the right amount of calories to help lose some weight."
Cherry admits that no matter how you slice it, using the diet plate still takes self-discipline. "I have scales and measuring cups and measuring spoons. If you don't use them, it doesn't do you any good. This is just another tool," he said.
In a small study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, the use of portion-control plates resulted in weight-loss among type-2 diabetics -- which in turn meant a reduction in their need for medication.
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