Posts Tagged ‘diabetes’

Sit Less, Move More – Exercise Guidelines for Diabetes and Prediabetes

November 14, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services

Many people with diabetes do not exercise despite all of its proven benefits. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, physical activity is more than just a way to lose weight – it can also make it easier to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels closer to normal.

When you have diabetes, your body’s insulin action is less effective in storing glucose and regulating your blood sugars, but exercise sensitizes insulin. During exercise, stored glucose becomes a source of energy for your muscles and as the stores gets depleted, your blood sugar goes down and can stay down for 24-48 hours.

What types and amounts of physical activity are recommended for diabetes?

  • Aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, elliptical, dancing, rowing, tennis and stair climbing. Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity weekly, spread over at least three days per week, with no more than two consecutive days without activity.
  • Resistance training includes exercises with weight machines, free weights, elastic resistance bands, body weight and group strength training classes. Perform these at least two times a week on non-consecutive days.
  • Balance and flexibility training includes yoga and tai chi. Aim for two or three times a week.
  • Light-intensity activities daily (read below under “updates”).

To better fit your schedule, you can break up 30 minutes into 10- or 15-minute segments several times a day. Research has shown the health benefits are similar. Recent studies have also shown that a 15-minute walk after meals can help lower your blood sugar.

What are the updates in the latest exercise guidelines?

People with diabetes are advised to incorporate “light” activities throughout the day, particularly when sedentary for prolonged periods of time (working on the computer, sitting in a meeting or watching TV). Take a light activity break for three minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting. Examples include:

  • Overhead arm stretches
  • Leg extensions
  • Torso twists
  • Walking in place

Exercise Tips:

  • Have a very specific plan. Define what, when, where and for how long you’re going to commit to working out. This will improve your chances of adherence and success.
  • What kind of exercises will you do? Make a list of activities and be creative. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick with it!
  • When are you going to fit in a workout? Make a schedule of the specific days and times you will exercise. Prioritize them on your calendar as “appointments.”
  • Are you going to exercise at a gym, in a group class, at a park or track or at home using a workout DVD or technology app? Decide what might work best for you.
  • Do you prefer to exercise solo, with a buddy, in a class or with a personal trainer? Participating in supervised training may provide more health benefits for people with diabetes than non-supervised programs. Plus, the accountability to others can be very motivating.
  • How long will you exercise? Be realistic and set achievable goals. If you are brand new to working out, start with 10 minutes and build up to 30 minutes or more.
  • Keep a log of your exercise to stay on track. You can use fitness technology resources like a pedometer, fitness band or exercise watch to track steps, calories and heart rate. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you do-every step counts!

When you have diabetes, prioritize exercise as part of your lifestyle to better control your blood sugars. Beyond managing your diabetes, exercise can help you feel better about yourself and improve your overall health.

For more information about preventing and managing diabetes and prediabetes, visit the Cooper Aerobics website.

Happy National Nutrition Month!

“If your lifestyle does not control your diet…eventually your diet will control your lifestyle.” – Kathy Duran Thal, RDN

Cooper Clinic kicked off National Nutrition Month® with a free expo open to the public at Cooper Fitness Center. Despite the icy weather, more than 500 people attended and picked up free samples, recipes and more from 20-plus vendors. National Nutrition Month provides a good opportunity to look at your diet. Cooper Clinic and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics put together our top reasons to visit a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

  1. You have diabetes, cardiovascular problems or high blood pressure. A registered dietitian nutritionist serves as an integral part of your health care team by helping you safely change your eating plan without compromising taste or nutrition.
  2. You need to gain or lose weight. A registered dietitian nutritionist can suggest additional calorie sources for healthy weight gain or a restricted-calorie eating plan.
  3. You want to eat smart for your family. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you sort through misinformation; learn how to read food labels; discover that healthy cooking is inexpensive; eat out without ruining your eating plan and more. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services offers a Healthy Habits for Kids program.
  4. You have digestive problems. A registered dietitian nutritionist will work with your physician to help fine-tune your diet so you are not aggravating your condition. Kathy Miller, Co-Director of Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, specializes in GI nutrition and celiac disease.
  5. You’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help make sure you’re getting enough of the nutrients you and your baby need.
  6. You’re caring for an aging parent. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help with food or drug interaction, proper hydration, special diets for hypertension and changing taste buds as you age.
  7. You want to improve your performance in sports. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you set goals to achieve results—whether you’re running a marathon, skiing or jogging with your dog. Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Meridan Zerner is a board certified sports dietitian.
  8. Your teenager has issues with food and eating healthfully or you have a picky eater. A registered dietitian nutritionist can assist with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and overweight issues.

View photos from the Cooper Nutrition Expo, see the recipes that were demonstrated and request an appointment online to meet with a Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist today!

5 Steps to Take Control of Your Diabetes

November 22, 2013 1 comment

November is American Diabetes Month aiming to raise awareness in the movement to Stop Diabetes®. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. If you are battling the disease, learn five tips from Michael Clark, MD, a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, to help you take control of your health.

  1. Know your Diabetes: Knowledge is one of the best ways to combat diabetes. Diabetes is able to affect your entire body. Talk in depth and frequently with a diabetes educator and/or your physician to assure you are always up-to-date with the latest information. Aside from talking to your physician, make an effort to read the literature on diabetes. Thankfully, there are some great books available as well as online websites such as which give you important information in a structured, easy-to-understand way. Ultimately, every patient with diabetes should know their bodies and their condition better than anyone else, including their physician.
  2. Know Your Blood Sugar: How does diabetes affect you? Testing your blood sugar will not only let you see how you’re doing on a regular basis, but it should also help you understand your diabetes and inform your decision making. This could include choosing a suitable diet, knowing how activity affects you and how stressful days and illness should be managed. Furthermore, the more detail you record, the better prepared you will be when you meet with your physician.
  3. Pick the Right Diet: A healthy diet will help in a myriad of ways. The right diet will improve blood sugar levels, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce tiredness, improve digestion and can significantly improve clarity of thought.
  4. Get in Activity: Minimal activity each day can help improve our health and help us feel more energetic through the day. Even a 20 minute walk or 15 minutes of push-ups and/or aerobics in your own living room will get the heart pumping. The effect of regular activity is also known to help increase insulin sensitivity, which can be useful for all types of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
  5. Manage Sleep and Stress: Is your head hitting the pillow for at least eight hours per night? Getting at least eight hours of restful sleep will not only help manage your weight, but it will help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

With these helpful, managing tips, you will be able to tackle your diabetes head on.

For more information about Cooper Clinic or to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive physical exam, call 972.560.2667.

Can Eating Fruit Lower Risk of Diabetes?

November 1, 2013 4 comments

Can eating fruit lower your risk of type 2 diabetes? Can drinking fruit juice raise your risk of diabetes? November is National Diabetes Month. If you are trying to clean up your diet and prevent this “lifestyle” disease, recent research offers some exciting advice, especially for you fruit lovers.

A new study led by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that eating more whole fruits significantly lowers risk of diabetes. This study was published in August 2013 in the online version of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The researchers looked at overall fruit consumption, as well as individual fruits including grapes or raisins; peaches, plums or apricots; prunes; bananas; cantaloupe; apples or pears; oranges; grapefruit; strawberries and blueberries. They also examined consumption of apple, orange, grapefruit and “other” fruit juices.

They found that consuming two servings a week of certain fruits, specifically blueberries, grapes, and apples, reduced participants’ risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 23% compared to consuming less than one serving per month. On the flip side, drinking one or more servings of fruit juice each day increased risk of diabetes by as much as 21%. Researchers also discovered that replacing three servings of juice per week with whole fruits would result in a 7% reduction of diabetes.

From a nutritional standpoint, whole fruits are nutrient-dense high fiber carbohydrates. Like other healthy carbohydrate sources in wholegrains, starchy vegetables and milk and yogurt, fruit influences blood sugar levels by raising them. If you already have diabetes or pre-diabetes, it is important to consume the right amount and types of carbohydrates. Speak with a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator to learn more about what you can eat to manage your blood sugars.

Diabetes is not inevitable. It is a lifestyle disease that can largely be prevented through healthy and consistent nutrition and exercise choices. This study shows that you can enjoy a variety of fruits as one means of prevention.

Bottom line, eat whole fruits and skip the juice! Diabetes prevention is in your hands!

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or to schedule a nutrition consultation, click here or call 972.560.2655.

All Fruits can Fit, Even with Diabetes

December 10, 2012 2 comments

Diabetic Friendly FruitHave you ever wondered if fruit is healthy to eat when you have diabetes or prediabetes? It is! Fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, much like vegetables. Since fruit contains carbohydrates and turns to sugar, it’s wise not to eat with utter abandon. The total number of carbohydrates affects your blood sugars, regardless of whether the source is from sugar or starch.

Another common myth is that you should not eat certain types of fruit, either because they taste very sweet or contain too much sugar. The truth is all fruits contain sugar and can fit into your meal plan – the key is how much you eat! One serving contains 15 grams of carbohydrate. The serving size depends on the amount of carbohydrates in the fruit. Some fruits have more carbohydrates than others, but as long as you eat one serving, your blood sugar will be affected the same amount.

Here are some examples of 15 grams of carbohydrates of fruit:

  • 1 ¼ cup whole strawberries or chopped watermelon
  • 1 cup raspberries or chopped cantaloupe or honeydew
  • ¾ cup blueberries, blackberries or fresh pineapple
  • 1 small apple, orange or kiwi
  • 17 small grapes
  • 2 Tbsp. dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, mixed dried fruit)
  • 2 Clementines or small plums
  • ½ cup mixed fresh fruit
  • ½ large banana or grapefruit

Things to remember:

  • Aim for two to four servings of fruit per day.
  • Choose whole produce in favor of juice.
  • Make sure canned fruit is in its own juice.
  • Dried fruit is convenient, but the serving size is a fraction of the fresh version.
  • Frozen fruit is a great option for off season.
  • Go for variety and try to capture all the colors of the rainbow to maximize antioxidant (cancer fighting) benefits.

When you are trying to incorporate more fruit into your diet, try ready-to-go precut fruit for convenience. You can pack one or two pieces of fruit from home each day and have one with lunch and the other for a snack. Fruit is also makes for a great after dinner treat.

If you have diabetes or prediabetes you can eat fruit with confidence because it’s nutrient dense and a great way to get your sweet fix.

Diabetes Do’s and Don’ts

November 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Did you know that every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes? By 2050 an estimated one in three Americans will have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. November is American Diabetes Month. This is a critical time for us to get involved personally and in our communities to the fight against this terrible disease.

You or someone you know may have diabetes or prediabetes. Here are some simple eating tips you should never do and things you should do to manage or prevent diabetes.


  1. Be mindful of what you eat. Life is hectic and sadly, we don’t take time out to really pay attention to our day-to-day eating routine. We follow old habits that may require a few tweaks. Take a moment to stop and watch what you eat and purposefully avoid the many distractions like watching TV, working on the computer or talking on the phone while eating. You might be surprised at how much more you enjoy your food when you’re actually paying attention to it!
  2. Balance your meals with lean proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs. Strive to eat from at least three food groups at every meal. This is a great way to capture a wider variety of healthy foods in your diet. For example, combine about three ounces of grilled tilapia with a small scoop of brown rice (the size of a baseball) and one cup of mixed veggies tossed lightly in olive oil. Serve this up with a green salad drizzled with one to two tablespoonfuls (the size of your thumb) of light dressing. Enjoy a cup of berries for dessert. That’s a great meal!
  3. Plan ahead meals and snacks. At first, it might take a bit longer to go through the grocery store and fill your cart with healthy staples. Once you develop a smart shopping system, your trips will take half the time. Plan out what you and your family will eat for the week, and follow a simple routine that works for you.


  1. Miss meals. Commit to eating throughout the day. Spread out your calories and carbs for the best blood sugar control. It is optimal to eat every three to four hours to include at least three meals and a snack. This will improve your blood sugars and boost your metabolism. Remember to plan ahead, so when life gets hectic, you have already mapped out what you intend to eat.
  2. Make starches the main course. High fiber starches and whole grains are excellent source of carbs, but all in the right proportion. Start by selecting these types of carbs and make them a side dish on your plate. They should literally take up ¼ of your plate. One cup equals the size of a baseball, so aim for a portion that size or smaller. Fill the rest of your plate with volumes of non-starchy veggies and a small serving of protein. Remember your meals should contain at least three food groups—that makes for a perfect plate!
  3. Get frustrated with healthy eating. When you are working on anything new, such as a work or home project, it may be daunting at first. But, you find that it eases up over time as you accomplish smaller steps towards the end goal. The same is true with working on your healthy eating habits—they take time and work. There’s no magic bullet, but once you’ve made some progress, things do get easier! My patients will even say, “I thought this was going to be so hard, but it’s actually easier than I ever imagined.” It is worth the investment!

This November, take a moment to think about how you can help yourself or those you love who may have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes is highly preventable and manageable. As little as a five to ten percent weight loss can significantly improve your blood sugars and reduce your risk of getting diabetes by 58 percent! Take the first steps and stay in charge of your health!

For more information or to see a registered dietitian and diabetes educator at the Cooper Clinic, call 972-560-2655.

CNN, Tom Joyner, and Cooper Clinic

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

For several years, Cooper Clinic has had the honor of being the doctor to radio’s star host Tom Joyner. Annually, Tom has a campaign that encourages listeners to “Take a Loved One to the Doctor.” This year, Tom decided to take his good friend CNN Weekend Anchor TJ Holmes to Cooper Clinic for his first physical exam in 10 years.

Here are two segments about TJ’s experience.